For Art Basel Miami Beach 2016 Various Small Fires will present a solo exhibition by gallery artist Amy Yao. The stand will contain both wall-based works and a floor installation centered around the artist’s continued investigation into the aesthetics of industrial and domestic spaces and objects from the perspective of access, gender, and identity. The body of work in this presentation follows from the body of work debuted in Yao’s recent solo show at VSF, which explores how the pervasiveness of toxicity and contamination in the present-day human environment affects and corrupts the body across economic strata.
In the center of the stand will be Yao’s sculpture Doppelgängers II, the title referring to the duplicity of its form. Composed of both real and fake rice, the work recalls recent news reports of poisonous synthetic plastic grains detected in certain brands of Chinese rice. Real and fake grains of rice are intermingled, indistinguishable, a single anti-monumental mound.
On (or rather, in) the stand’s walls will be a set of new works from Yao’s ongoing site-specific “Intercontinental Drift” series. Constructed as a cut-out of the drywall, exposing the structural cavity into which the artist stuffs artificial flowers, as if to insulate the wall, these works are sealed with Plexiglas panes flush to the surrounding wall surface. Playing on the paradoxical nature of silk flowers (the artist’s mother worked for many years as a fake flower wholesaler), the works provide an aesthetic pretense of beauty while negating the perishable nature of real flowers. Yao’s “Intercontinental Drift” works, available by limited commission, vary in size and color so as to fully engage with the surrounding architecture.
This presentation of Yao’s playful yet starkly presented works is a timely embodiment of our unsettling moment in history, where the contagion of the natural by the synthetic has become invisible in its ubiquity, such that the vestiges of nature have become ironically symbiotic in their reliance on the synthetic.
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- Spirits—and Sales—Are High During Art Basel in Miami Beach’s VIP Preview, Eileen Kinsella, Artnet News, November 30, 2016
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