Chris Curreri: Thick Skull, Thin Skin

January 23 - June 27, 2021

Chris Curreri’s works complicate and dissolve seemingly dichotomous states of tenderness and violence; abjection and beauty; seduction and revulsion; self and other. They suggest an unravelling of the hermetic borders that have been constructed between us, others, and things in the world.

This exhibition brings together sculptural and photographic bodies of work that form and frame a sense of porousness and consider the tension between moments where things become fixed and the possibility of continuous, nearly imperceptible shifts—the suggestion that bodies and matter can and do exist within a continuum of potentialities.

Kiss Portfolio, a series of eight intimate black and white photographs, and Sixes and Sevens, a series of fleshly, seemingly raw ceramic works, introduce a textured and suggestive collision of bodies. Frozen in a state of formal confusion—fixed chemically through the photographic process and through the crucible heat of the kiln, respectively—these bodies nevertheless appear as though they are on the cusp of melting into each other, or of dissolving into something else entirely.

A worktable full of red glass forms adjacent to a suite of three large-scale photographs of cave interiors subtly hint at the concurrence of timescales: human and geological. The lushly symbolic terrain of the cave and the seemingly infinite reshaping of glass imply an unstable pause in states of form and matter.

In Proud Flesh, three additional glass vessels are each tightly encased in a cube of concrete, their crimson receptacle mouths penetrating the surface from a dark interior cavity. Lifecast sensitively introduces the image of a plaster cast of a young boy with a large tumour protruding from the side of his neck; his face is tenderly cradled by a pair of white-gloved hands. Both works present a complicated sense of the border between interior and exterior and how that which is held within might be embodied.

Clay, photographs, human bodies, glass, concrete, and the earth have all undergone a transformation, shaped and moulded by force—by forces that are tender, by those that are unrelenting, or those that are elemental—to arrive in a moment of ambiguous suspension. Forms rhyme and resonate as vessels, portals, orifices, or thresholds and enigmatically offer the potential of inside and/or outside, exposure and/or concealment, pleasure, and/or potentially, pain. These works revel in productive confusion and address us as proxies of the vulnerable, powerful body.

  • Chris Curreri

    Chris Curreri is a Canadian artist who works with film, photography, and sculpture. His work is premised on the idea that things in the world are not defined by essential properties, but rather by the actual relationships that we establish with them. Recent exhibitions include: The Way We Are 1.0, Weserburg museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen (2019); Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life, Litost, Prague (2018); Canadian Biennial, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2017); Unruly Matter, Daniel Faria Gallery, Berlin/Toronto (2017); Compassionate Protocols, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York (2017); Central China International Ceramics Biennale, Henan Museum, Zhengzhou (2016); La Biennale de Montréal, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2016); and So Be It, Gardiner Museum, Toronto (2015). He holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson.