Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or A Post-Human/Machine Untergang at Below Grand

Artists: Julia Colavita, Anthony Hawley, Julian Kreimer, Heather Leigh McPherson, Katie Tiley, Jonathan Torres

Exhibition title: Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or A Post-Human/Machine Untergang

Curated by: Andrew Woolbright

Venue: Below Grand, New York, US

Date: May 1  – June 5, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Below Grand, New York

The Cyborgian Swamp Thang was dissected. Part I of the exhibition (Dissecting the Cyborgian Swamp Thang, January 15- February 18, 2021) focused on the organistic relationships between nature, landscapes, and networked systems. This exhibition now attends to the post-human presence that is embodied, fluid, and gooey within the organistic materiality of the present moment; while also considering the machine-tool –the car, the city, the infrastructure – that the swamp thang finds itself bobbing up and down within, floating in its shift and drift. The German word “untergang” can simultaneously suggest both decadence and decline. The current l’informe, posed by the pre-Enlightenment usage of the word organ, and our present interstitial boundaries between form and machine, presents both an orgyastic flash and a sobering ennui. Solidity has been phased out, replaced with the exhilarating yet dreadful sublime of dematerialization, abjection, and the limbo wavepool of endless boundary confusion.

Super Duchess now presents Part II of our two part exhibition, Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: or, A Post-Human/Machine Untergang, featuring the works of Julia Colavita, Anthony Hawley, Julian Kreimer, Heather Leigh McPherson, Katie Tiley, and Jonathan Torres.

Julia Colavita (b.1983, Philadelphia) is an American/Italian artist, currently based in Berlin, Germany.  She completed her MFA at the New York Academy of Art in 2010 and has lived between New York and Berlin over the last decade. Primarily working in sculpture and painting, her works often reference the female body and its historical association with the grotesque. Her cyborgian sculptures incorporate tropes of mysticism and of the feminine, including hair, lashes, nails, gems, minerals and crystals. Reconfigured into monstrous conglomerates, these intimate and charming elements provoke the viewer to renegotiate their relationship with the objects, teetering between attraction and a source of threat. Recent solo exhibitions include Assembly Room (NYC, USA) and Olsen Gallery (Sydney, AU). Group exhibitions include Polansky Gallery (Prague, CZ), Duve Berlin (Berlin, DE), Like a Little Disaster, (Polignano a Mare, IT), Sans Titre (Paris, FR).

Anthony Hawley (b.1977 Hartford, CT) is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York, whose hybrid practice spans video, sculpture, installation, performance, drawing, audio, writing, and more. His work is driven by a fascination with the interplay between narrative, power, various technologies old and new, and the many roles language plays in our lives. Hawley’s short films and solo exhibitions have been presented by Vox Populi Gallery in (PA); the CounterCurrent Festival with the Menil Collection and Aurora Picture Show (TX); the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series (NY); Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta, Malta; The Salina Art Center (KS); The Bemis Art Center (NE) and others. With violinist Rebecca Fischer, he forms the multidisciplinary collaboration The Afield, whose most recent project “X Agent Destroy Monster Regimes,” premiered at Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn in October 2020. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry as well as several chapbooks, and his artist book dear donald… is forthcoming from NoRoutine Books in 2021. His writing on art and film appears regularly in Frieze, The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Artforum, BOMB, CARLA, art-agenda, and others. He has received residencies and awards from MacDowell, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, VCCA and Avaloch Farm and Music Institute, and he teaches in the Hunter College MFA studio art program and at the School of Visual Arts.

Julian Kreimer is the Kempner Distinguished Professor of Painting and Art History at SUNY Purchase. Solo and two-person shows have included TSA LA (CA), Lux Art Institute (CA), and Weeknights Gallery (Brooklyn) and his work has been included in group shows at Morgan Lehman, Fluc space (Vienna), Hotel Pupik (Austria), Curator Gallery, Alexandre Gallery, Von Lintel Gallery, and TSA. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, Hyperallergic, Artcritical, and Two Coats of Paint. He is a repeat fellow at Yaddo and MacDowell Colonies and received a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Painting Fellowship. He is a longtime contributor to Art in America and has written for Paper Monument, Tablet, Hyperallergic, and Modern Painters.

Heather Leigh McPherson (b. 1984, Ann Arbor MI) is a visual artist based in Providence, RI. Her work combines painting, drawing, and sculpture into low relief objects. She has shown with the RISD museum, GRIN Providence, Providence College Galleries, the Decordova Museum, Actual Size LA, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, and Kristen Lorello and 315 Gallery in New York, among other venues. McPherson holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s from Rhode Island School of design; she joined the faculty of Providence College in 2009.

In McPherson’s vibrant low-relief works, cast epoxy acts as both a painting support and container for the textiles and drawings embedded within. It selectively renders drawings transparent, emphasizing the shallow depth of a single piece of paper and collapsing front and back into one body. McPherson’s work captures the motion of a liquid in the form of a solid and explores materials’ capacities to act and be acted upon. From referential bits and pieces—madonnas, cartoon ecstasy, reaching hands—these works suggest experiences of wisdom and stupidity that spring from the eyes, the mind, and the body.

Katie Tiley (born in Bainbridge, New York) incorporates found and bartered objects within her painting practice to explore violent and grotesque scenes of love and rejection. She focuses on the innate trauma that emanates from early childhood, as well as the feelings of inadequacy and codependency that present themselves within relationships. Tiley’s work depicts the chaotic vibrancy of these feelings through figural movement and brushwork while exploring poetic analogies through her use of discarded materials. She currently lives and works in New Paltz, New York.

Jonathan Torres (b. 1983, San Juan, Puerto Rico) received his BFA in 2009 from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, San Juan, and his MFA from Brooklyn College in 2012 under the mentorship of Vito Acconci. Nominee of the Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, Torres was selected for the Biennale Mercosul (Brazil 2016), won the Charles G. Shaw Award (NY, 2012) and the Arcos Dorados Award (Argentina, 2011). Torres has been exhibiting in solo and group shows between New York and Puerto Rico for over ten years. His work has been featured in Flash Art, Beautiful/Decay, and Art Observed, among other publications. Torres lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and his work belongs to important collections such as the Museum of Fine Art, Boston and Museo Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico.

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang. Julia Colavita, Anthony Hawley, Julian Kreimer, Heather Leigh McPherson, Kate Tiley, Jonathan Torres

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang. Julia Colavita, Anthony Hawley, Julian Kreimer, Heather Leigh McPherson, Kate Tiley, Jonathan Torres

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang. Julia Colavita, Anthony Hawley, Julian Kreimer, Heather Leigh McPherson, Kate Tiley, Jonathan Torres

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang. Julia Colavita, Anthony Hawley, Julian Kreimer, Heather Leigh McPherson, Kate Tiley, Jonathan Torres

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang. Julia Colavita, Anthony Hawley, Julian Kreimer, Heather Leigh McPherson, Kate Tiley, Jonathan Torres

Jonathan Torres, Some Kind of Creature VII, Encaustic, feather, fake hair, latex, oil, acrylic, 27 x 14 x 23 inches

Jonathan Torres, Some Kind of Creature VII, Encaustic, feather, fake hair, latex, oil, acrylic, 27 x 14 x 23 inches

Heather Leigh McPherson, Who is Minding the Store, Painted chiffon, dyed cast epoxy, drawing, 47 x 32 inches, 2020

Heather Leigh McPherson, Penny, Painted chiffon, dyed cast epoxy, acrylic, drawing, 35 x 25 inches, 2019-2020

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang, Katie Tiley and Julia Colavita

Anthony Hawley, Fault Diagnosis (Manual Drawing), Ink, powdered graphite, toothpaste, shampoo and fixative on archival inkjet print, 37 x 27 inches (framed)

Installation view of Cyborgian Swamp Thang II: Or, The Post-Human Untergang

Julian Kreimer, Llamando, Colored pencil on paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2017

Julian Kreimer, Separate Passes, Ink on paper, 18 3/8 x 12 3/4 inches, 2020

Julian Kreimer, Quinteto, Colored pencil on paper, 30 x 22 inches, 2016





Anthony Hawley, Birdless, Lost Things, HD Video, 6:04, 2016/21