by Bailey Sheehan
Window on Broad Project space presented by Windows 16 (virtual storefront gallery)
August 1st- September 1st
Maia Ruth Lee, Vanessa Gully Santiago, Margaret Lee
Windows 16 is a virtual storefront gallery founded and directed by Isabel Lederman, where graphic designers design unique storefront windows for each exhibition from content that is generated and curated from irl gallery visits. Selected artworks shown on Windows 16 are often distorted, mirrored, enlarged, hung on the side of pedestals, blurred, or pixilated by whichever designer is chosen to design. This project is not about the physicality of these objects, nor is it about the ‘originary’ original— works curated into a virtual storefront gallery are subject to become a new object. This newness comes forth because that which is edict to the original object (the encounter, its emergence, its physicality) is only accessible as an idea, as a memory. Objective relation is not the goal here. Instead of aiming to represent an artwork or artist and eclipsing them, or producing a representation of their art that is ‘‘not nearly as good as seeing it in person,” Windows 16 starts a new conversation, one that is definitely honorous of the work it chooses though not in complete service to it. This may be where design steps in, now that a direct representation of exhibited works here seems much less possible than within the physical space of a gallery or museum; the designer is now free to brand, rebrand, and alter artworks to fit their own conceptual intention, without their efforts being dichotomized from the intrinsic value of the original artwork. Windows 16’s newest exhibition, IRL, features selected works by Vanessa Gully Santiago, Margaret Lee, and Maia Ruth Lee in Rosenwald-Wolf’s Window on Broad project space.
Margaret Lee’s Ten Gallon Hat (and the hole), is the embodiment of a sophistic character who survives solely off of wit, talent, and the occasional bending of reality (I’m thinking of a coyote crushed by an anvil— he crawls out with only a headache). The hat is not, in fact, Ten Gallon-sized and the hole has a diameter that does not lead me to intuitively drum up any similarly-sized bullet or cannon ball. Still, somehow it is easy to equate both title and image as synonymous. This departure from equating language to form speaks to the essence of a virtual storefront gallery— as if her work was made specifically for such a distorting. Margaret Lee (b.1980) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Jack Hanley Gallery, New York; and, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles.
Maia Ruth Lee’s Steel glyphs 3.0, is a catalog of symbolic tools that are made of welded steel. Like a homemade meme that I cannot help but read in its entirety, her work speaks to a longing to understand oneself as a being in the world through information that is both psychoanalytic and spiritual, even if it is arguably homemade and kitsch. Maia Ruth Lee lives and works in New York. She recently had a solo exhibition at El Ping Frances Perkins Gallery in New York and was also part of a group exhibition at Salon 94 curated by Jayson Musson.
Vanessa Gully Santiago’s Video Sex depicts a thrice-documented sex scene. Her work often uses a narrative of fetish, or sex to explore the modern digital experience for women. The illustrated encounter is striking, in that there is a clear difference (though no clear preference) between sex IRL and sex that is documented. Sex in real life obviously has the allure of being rife with sense stimulation (touch, smell, and taste), while the new event that is the documented sex appeals to a fetish for exhibitionism and voyeurism. Vanessa Gully Santiago received her BFA (2006) from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY; and received her MFA (2013) from the Mason Gross School of Art, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. Recent solo exhibitions include Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York; and, American Medium, New York.
Bailey Sheehan is a Philadelphia artist and writer. He received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2016 (Sculpture). He is a former editor and contributor for the Post-Office Arts Journal (Baltimore) and is currently an editor for Title Magazine (Philadelphia).