Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present Erosion, the debut New York solo show of Jamaican artist Deborah Anzinger.
Anzinger confronts a wide range of subjects through an equally wide range of media, employing living plants, hair, mirrors and styrofoam. The materials are central to Anzinger’s practice, and carry dichotic messages: aloe barbadensis possesses an ability to pierce or penetrate flesh (conventionally a phallic trait) as well as a resilience and ability to heal (a feminine attribute in conventional terms); mirrors disrupt the plane of the artwork introducing a moment of awareness that the viewer in their presence contributes to the syntax of the work; styrofoam, usually a hazardous environmental waste, serves as a support for living plants. These dualities are embraced both in material and meaning.
Anzinger’s work aesthetically erodes understandings of land (as it functions in both nature and geopolitics), and bodies (human and non-human bodies, such as plants and the lifeforms they support). This erosion provides new space for considering the possibility of the "anthropocene" as an era in which the ability to exert dominance becomes obsolete. Instead recognized dependence and inseparability may disrupt current notions of hierarchy and how we define "needs", "priorities" and “capital”.
Her work is a probing and playful inquiry through embodiment and disembodiment, wherein a question emerges after the one preceding it is answered. In her practice painting, sculpture, environmental art, feminist and race dialectic meet to raise questions of power, value and being. How do you occupy space? Are the body and mind spaces there to be penetrated socially and physically, and/or are they that which we penetrate space with? How do our perceptions of gender and race influence the answers we come up with?
Through transgressions— between the synthetic and the living, between sculpture and painting, between the artist's hand and the viewer's reflection— the viewer is invited into the systems at play in the work, as an intimate witness and participant in the new negotiations of value created within it, and the space this opens up.