All Things (Being Equal)
12.08.18 - 12.29.18
Exhibition on view Saturdays 1-7pm
All Things (Being Equal) is a large-scale installation that incorporates sculptural elements, lighting and ambient sound to create an immersive experience. It is part of a larger series entitled, “The Collectors.”
Inspired by rock collectors, desert dwellers and junk hoarders, this installation looks at the very human desire to acquire, accumulate, and arrange the objects we own. Just as ancient humans came across gold and other objects of beauty and decided to keep them, we all work daily to search, scavenge, acquire, quantify and organize, all to our own mysterious purposes. But as you peel away the metaphors attached to the objects themselves - the importance assigned to precious metals, the meanings attributed to various gemstones, the healing and mystical properties believed to be inherent to crystals and other rare minerals- it becomes clear what we desire to control and quantify is perhaps the earth itself. In light of the changes that are affecting our planet, this desire becomes even more poignant, the action of collecting or hoarding is ever more futile and desperate.
All Things Being Equal consists of a large indoor mound or pyramid of milk crates that are filled with fabricated, unnatural “rocks” and equipped with a special timed lighting and ambient audio system that operates on a cycle.
During this cycle, the gallery lights will dim and special rotating LED lights inside the sculpture will project outwards through the structure onto the walls of the room, revealing elaborate, slowly moving, multi-layered shadowplay. The sound design will serve to subtly highlight the changes in the visual elements of the room.
For the rock-like items collected in the structure, I made foam and plaster castings from the remnants of product packaging materials, thinking about how future archaeologists might try to recreate the lost contents of our carefully constructed, polystyrene-lined boxes. It is not accidental that these precious, mysterious “rocks” are gathered in plastic milk crates. They are the most utilitarian, the sturdiest, cheapest and most plentiful way to organize a bunch of rocks. But now plastic can be classified as a “hyperobject,” ubiquitous and massively distributed in our environment, not unlike things once considered elemental: air, earth, fire, water. Long after the original purpose is lost, these artifacts will remain, ruins of something inchoate.
Sonja Schenk is a multi-disciplinary artist from Los Angeles. She began with video installation work and has since turned to painting and sculpture. Influenced by early mentors Allan Kaprow, Dee Dee Halleck, and Manny Farber, her work relies on a strong grounding in conceptual thought that is then translated to various media. She was recently artist-in-residence at Cerritos College which culminated in a solo exhibiiton in the Cerritos College Art Gallery and also created a site-specific installation for the Joshua Treenial, a biennial in the Southern California desert. She has had solo exhibitions at Show Gallery in Los Angeles, the Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, California and at Prescott College Art Gallery in Arizona, and she created a commissioned outdoor sculpture for Porch Gallery in Ojai, California. She was artist-in-residence at Shasta-Whiskeytown National Park and visiting artist at the Thomas McKeon Center for Creativity in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has shown work at the Yokohama Triennial in Japan, the Musée du Papier-Peint in Switzerland, the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles, the Brand Library Art Center in Glendale, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Berkeley Art Center in Northern California. Her work has been featured in Palm Springs Life, the L.A. Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Eastbay Express (Oakland, CA), La Liberté (Fribourg, Switzerland), and the arts journal AEQAI.