Now I am a lake (Curated by Rose Nestler)
Public Gallery is pleased to present Now I am a lake, a group exhibition curated by New York based artist Rose Nestler.
“Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.”
- Sylvia Plath, excerpt from Mirror (1961)
In this poem, Plath’s mirror takes the form of a shiny and exacting truth-teller, reflecting back the image of her aging face each day, swallowing her youth in its watery mouth. The everyday act of looking into reflective surfaces to check oneself is age-old and matter of course. Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities (1972) documents a city named Valdrada, built so high above a lake that the inhabitants exist simultaneously with their reflection: “nothing exists or happens in the one Valdrada that the other Valdrada does not repeat.” The characters cannot lose themselves – even in their most depraved acts. Technology has enhanced our self-awareness – we stare into our phone, a screen that is at once a Valdrada and an echo chamber. Never before have we been so obsessed with our reflection and the images we leave behind.
For this presentation Nestler unites a diverse range of media, from formal representations of mirroring that traverse the visual language of reflection and symmetry, to more abstract points of view: discombobulated bodies, twins, two flowers admiring one another, reproductions of masterpieces on found objects, a bleach-dyed towel taking the form of a swan, a sexually-transmitted virus encased within a puddle of resin and abstracted mirrors illustrating the color filled abyss of imagination itself.
Narcissus in all of his drowning self admiration is used as a cautionary tale against the dark shadows of vanity. But there is resistance found in seeing oneself if unbound from the chains of morality and politeness; a joyful power in standing out, getting dressed and performing oneself. The works included all carry the literal and metaphorical ins and outs of living amongst a world of reflective surfaces confronting our mortality and exploring its depths.
Featured artists: Alex Anderson, Saelia Aparicio, ASMA, Lydia Blakeley, Julia Bland, Maria A. Guzmán Capron, Azadeh Elmizadeh, Haroun Hayward, Loie Hollowell, Catherine Telford Keogh, Chris Oh, Oren Pinhassi, Veronika Pausova, Matthew Ronay, Alexandria Tarver, Jade Thacker, Gray Wielebinski, Monsieur Zohore.
- Public Gallery