Photos: Rapha Salazar
Artists are a lot like mycelium. They draw connections between dissimilar organisms to foster symbiotic relationships and break down dead matter so that new life may flourish. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of mycelium. Mushrooms are queer icons. Schizophyllum commune is a type of mushroom with over 20,000 sexes. To quote Angela Dufresne musing on the possibility of attending a mushroom gathering, ‘How do you build, let alone practice, social norms at that party? You don’t. And that’s the kind of party—in some post-avant-garde, dystopian-utopian dialectic—I thought we artists were supposed to be throwing: shattering norms, forging ruptures, not seeking beginnings or ends, dredging out anarchical forms of ethics as well as perverse, unsanctioned, unverifiable meanings and returns.’
Wells Chandler pairs back and distills form until it functions like an icon. The freedom of minimalism reverberates in his work through the repetition of the same mark making technique used to construct his crocheted drawings. The energy of the forms seem to appear deep within themselves and ripples outwards towards a multitude of associative qualities each nestled within the ever expanding icon connected to and porously informed by its neighbor. Installed as a whole his crocheted environments are evocative of cave painting, Egyptian tombs, Buddhist shrines, and now, more recently, the North American forest.
For the first time, this exhibition will feature in tandem crocheted works with embroidered drawings. Reminiscent of Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes, the keloid image in his embroidered drawings appears to emerge beyond the veil as if it is pushing through from a place located within the prelinguistic realm of the collective unconscious or burned by the sun upon the various blue grounds they are stitched upon. Early developmental mark making techniques are used to render an image that subverts the gesture. Time and slowing down are embedded in these works.
Diablo Rosso is pleased to present Schizophyllum Commune a new body of ecological themed works by New York based textile artist Wells Chandler. Best known for his immersive and monumental hand crocheted arenas that explore queer iconography, gender and community, the works in this show deploy the metaphor of wildness to examine themes of identity, kinship, and body language. This is evident in the titles of the works that point towards how one orients themself through idiosyncratic associative qualities relational to bodies opposed to a traditional means of taxonomy. Passing and slippage are explored through mimicry, ambiguity and inbetweeness.
March / Marzo