Ryan Carrington and Lynn Dau Explore the Nuances of Domesticity and Labor in the Embark Gallery Exhibition, Home | Maker: Reactions to Definement, June 15 to July 14, 2018.
In its second annual Spotlight exhibition, San Francisco's Embark Gallery presents the sculptural work of Ryan Carrington and Lynn Dau as they investigate notions of traditional gender roles through artistic labor, humor, and surreal presentations. Taking recognizable and arguably mundane objects and creating spectacles, Carrington and Dau tackle the promises and realities of the “American Dream” as it pertains to idealized family life and economic disparity.
Labor is essential to Carrington’s work, which is comprised of wood, brick and other materials obtained straight off the shelves of Home Depot. Carrington probes the distinction between Blue and White collar occupations by mimicking the labor-intensive work of construction, shining a spotlight on the performative nature of masculinity, and using the trope of the “uniform” to make dynamic connections that resonate across different communities.
Taking the familiar scene in Americana of the barbeque or backyard cookout as a starting point, Carrington creates a fantastical world by remaking objects out of unexpected materials and playing with size and form. For example, in Oven Mitt, the useful and protective tool is enlarged and carved out of brick and mortar. Though due to expert craftsmanship and finishing the glove still appears soft, the construction-like materials render it heavy and useless. The surprising juxtaposition lends levity to the piece, but there remains an underlying commentary on the weight of domestic labor.
Dau’s work moves us inside of the home, exposing the fallacy of “perfect family life” through her use of household items made to go awry. Silverware explodes out of pots and pans, with knives and forks even propelling themselves straight into the walls. The banality of housework, the endless and often thankless task of motherhood, and the shattered dream of a fairytale marriage are all conveyed.
n Domestic Apocalypse, the task of doing the dishes becomes a symbol for frustration. The scene is that of a natural disaster, caught at its apex, a detonating expression of underlying emotions and unsaid truths. In Dau’s surreal installations, once one gets past the novelty of the impeccable creation, there is something almost sinister lurking underneath. Her work is both constructive and ruinous. Again we see the complexity of the themes of labor and societal expectations deftly captured in the manipulated objects.
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 16, 2018, 5-8PM.
Embark Gallery is the brick-and-mortar space for the 501(c)-3 nonprofit Embark Arts Inc. We offer exhibition opportunities to current and recently graduated MFA students in the San Francisco Bay Area. We provide a space for an engaged community of artists, curators and scholars, and we aim to expand the audience for up and coming contemporary art.
Embark’s programming represents the diversity of the talented artists studying at eight local art institutions: San Francisco Art Institute, UC Berkeley, California College of the Arts, Mills College, San Francisco State University, UC Davis, San Jose State University, and Stanford.
The juried exhibitions are held at our gallery in San Francisco at the historic Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.