Bad Water / 320 E. Churchwell Ave. May 5, 2023 - June 11, 2023

Morgan Canavan, Ben Estes, Marisa Takal

I spend a lot of time in used book stores, both as a way of uncovering new things to read and also as a practice of looking and holding. This is where I picked up the Bernadette Mayer Reader, from which the title of this show, More Coming Back & More Returning, is borrowed. Despite already having this book in my personal library, I was drawn to the handled and worn used copy. It’s a lengthy collection of Bernadette's poems, and admittedly one I had not parsed through in its entirety. Standing in the store, I opened it to the lone dog ear-ed page, a poem titled The Way to Keep Going in Antarctica.

..Look at very small things with your eyes
& stay warm
Nothing outside can cure you but everything's outside
There is great shame for the world in knowing
You may have gone this far
Perhaps this is why you love the presence of other people so much
Perhaps this is why you wait so impatiently
You have nothing more to teach
Until there is no more panic at the knowledge of your own real existence
& then only special childish laughter to be shown
& no more lies no more
Not to find you no
More coming back & more returning
Southern journey
Small things & not my own debris
Something to fight against
& we are all very fluent about ourselves..

Akin to the prior owner, I too am someone who commits the divisive act of dog ear-ing a book page. People hate to borrow books from me. I full-page right angle fold as a bookmark, and crease the tiniest corner on any page I might want to return to. This often adds up to at least twenty new folds in a single book– a once-slim novel becoming an accordion from the added volume of all of the folded pages. Some view this as causing irreparable damage to the objectness of a novel, forever shifting the readability of a text and condition of the book.

The work in More Coming Back & More Returning is embedded with language but not entirely about readability. The text in the work becomes a material to be collaged, folded, hidden and revealed. In Morgan Canavan’s sculptures, facsimile prints of newspapers are clipped out, intuitively collaged, and then printed on stainless steel. The content of the clippings vary from Financial Times market data, the Renault Emissions investigation, an image of an Anthony Caro sculpture, two separate articles about weather manipulation to images of woman in wedding dresses, but in their repositioning and reprinting constitute a mental and physical shift in the density of the object. The sculptures are made in search of sets of meanings that are unresolved and porous. In Ben Estes’ paintings and ceramics, the literal meanings of words begin to fall away. Using spontaneously written phone lists as a starting place, language becomes an exercise in sound, rhythm and abstraction. Text is used as a material to be stamped on the surface of a painting & impressed in a clay body. Holes in the ceramic “drains” are both a metaphoric net to catch words in, but also a space for them to flow through. In this work, Estes considers how abstraction needs to be pulled from something specific– a face, a landscape, an ideograph– and suggests that words can be used similarly. In Marisa Takal’s drawings and collaged tea-box sculptures, the intersection of interior and exterior spaces– both in a physical sense as well as in our minds– are connected and disconnected to explore how one makes sense of the world. Each box reveals notes, questions and found material. They are meant to be touched and sifted through. Pull tabs unfold handwritten notes and lists that encourage the act of sharing, conversation and participation with the viewer. The tea boxes are objects that embody what we choose to share and communicate and what we decide to hold in A relationship is built between the way in which we can exist in many plans at once in our minds, and the physical space we inhabit at a given time.

Dog ear-ing a page is a physical action. A way to return, to come back. Idiosyncratic to the current reader’s inner world, yet open to future interpretations. Much like the materiality of the work in the show, it is a conscious intervention to an object. It’s an obstruction of the text, but also an opening to a new understanding.

Forever reading, writing, making & thinking in Memory of Bernadette Mayer, May 12, 1945- November 22, 2022

Morgan Canavan (b. 1989) is an artist who has held two-person and solo exhibitions with Sweetwater, Berlin, Atlanta Contemporary, White Flag Projects Library, Saint Louis, Hester, New York, and Blood Gallery, Brooklyn. Canavan's work has been included in group exhibitions with Storage Gallery, New York; Potts, Alhambra; Kimberly Klark, Queens; Honor Fraser, Los Angeles; VI Dancer, Oakland; and Chin's Push, Los Angeles. Canavan studied at the Malmö Art Academy, Yale Norfolk, and holds a BFA from the Cooper Union, New York. Morgan Canavan lives and works in Los Angeles.

Ben Estes is a painter that lives in Kingston, NY, who has most recently shown his work at Situations Gallery (NYC), Paula Cooper Gallery (NYC), and Headstone Gallery (Kingston). He is also the author of the poetry collections ABC Moonlight and Illustrated Games of Patience (both published by The Song Cave), and is the editor of Together & Alone, The Photographs of Karlheinz Weinberger; and the poetry anthology On The Mesa: An Anthology of Bolinas Writing. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his next book, editing selections from the journals of the painter Charles Burchfield.

Marisa Takal (b. 1991, Montclair, New Jersey) received her BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2013. Takal has shown in numerous solo, duo, and group shows at Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Page Gallery, New York; Del Vaz Projects, Santa Monica; M+B, Los Angeles; Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles; Jeffrey Stark, New York; Loyal Gallery, Stockholm; and Alter Space, San Francisco. In 2016, she was named the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Award and the Stanley Hollander Award. Takal lives and works in Los Angeles.