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Jared Buckhiester: Fumbling Heart

March 23 – April 21, 2019

Curated by Doug Ischar

Press Release

Artist Statement

In a wooded clearing, a sweaty pro wrestler’s truncated torso, projects a survival knife from an invisible blowgun. Next to him, a faceless and blue cowpoke floats in a field of wildflowers seen through a chain link fence.  On the blank page of a picture album, faces of parole violators and vagrants are arranged in a yearbook grid. Each one could be a cousin, a sister’s boyfriend, but never partner or lover. The works in Fumbling Heart float in the same soup, one that simmers with repression, and has the odor of desperate longing.

My thinking is compulsively narrative, and I do no favors with all the fiction I read. Among the works in this show are four oil paintings of the same motif: a millworker’s house has crushed a booted figure. It is the house that lifted Dorothy, and here it has landed with finality. The four titles are taken from James Purdy’s 1972 novel I Am Elijah Thrush. I am currently making my way through the works of James Purdy, who portrays male attraction in the 1920s with impossible frankness, creating tension not because of repression, but because of the fraught nature of loving.  Blood is spilled, and loneliness is resolute.    

The fiction I employ could be classified as regional and insistently American.  I place one century next to another, to acknowledge a fraught past that is contained in any representation of this country. I consider my works’ materiality as important as the characters I depict.  Equally significant is my hand that models a form, and the style it can mimic. Two vessels, referencing pre-Columbian ceramics, wear shoulder pads and a jock strap. They are titled Urinal End and Urinal Guard. These containers were originally made in response to a group of pictures I took in 2014 of truck drivers, that I photographed without permission. As these ‘dads on thrones’ drove past at 70mph, I leaned out the passenger side window of a neighboring vehicle, and stole an image. The urinals are fictive gifts, or a false amends, and they act simultaneously as atonement and transgression.

One would be right in saying that my gaze is directed by desire. But my fascination is with the complexity of desire’s origin, and the ways in which it dictates behavior. I’m talking about an arousal template molded from the home interior and one’s own family unit, as well as from societal givens. For me the jewel is how this internal “carrot on a stick” has the potential to complicate a moral compass, and I am most interested in this trouble.  Not as a boy taking pleasure in being naughty, but as man baffled by his own fumbling heart.

Wild You
Friday, March 8 at 6:30 PM

A screening of films by Jared Buckhiester, Sara Magenheimer, Sky Hopinka, Caitlin Ryan, Jessie Mott, Steve Reinke, Danny Carroll, and Ephraim Asili

Curated by Danny Carroll and Doug Ischar

What is considered breaking and entering? Is it break and enter if you have a key? This program is about disruption, collision, reviving, and cooperation, told through a lens of both the real and the imagined. Glass shatters, cops appear and vanish, a city street gets blocked off, the head of a statue decapitated, and two people wrestle it out in an empty meadow.

ared Buckhiester, 2011, 5m
Footage compiled from a small animal auction in Pickens South Carolina, November 2011.

Art and Theft
Sara Magenheimer, 2017, 7m
Magenheimer’s video explores the bounds of narrative and the illusion of received wisdom in the seven minutes and twenty-two seconds it takes to rob a house. Here, images of medieval art, popular cinema, and “live” news reportage speak candidly to the constructedness of all storytelling traditions.

Fainting Spells
Sky Hopinka, 2018, 11m
Told through recollections of youth, learning, lore, and departure, this is an imagined myth for the Xąwįska — or the Indian Pipe Plant — used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted.

The House with No Corners
Caitlin Ryan, 2019, 8m
Known as the Devil’s House, the Town hall, and the Bull Valley Police Department. The House With No Corners observes the uncanny past and present of those who haunt a midwestern landscape.

Eat Your Secrets
Jessie Mott, Steve Reinke, 2017, 4m
The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children’s cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.

Danny Carroll, 2019, 15m
In the midst of the rural everyday, care and maintenance transform into something else. A farmer tends to her sheep, while another trains his dog to herd them. A cow gets milked, and two people have a wrestling match in an empty meadow.

American Hunger
Ephraim Asili, 2013, 19m
Oscillating between a street festival in Philadelphia, the slave forts and capital city of Ghana, and the New Jersey shore, American Hunger explores the relationship between personal experience and collective histories. American fantasies confront African realities. African realities confront America fantasies.


Thank you to the Video Data Bank at the School of the Art institute of Chicago for their contributions to this program.