Sometimes when you’re travelling you are just in the right place at the right time – luckily
for me thats happened during my visit here to NYC.
Amongst that fortune was being able to catch up with The Yok and Sheryo last week in the lead up to their opening, and, of course, being able to attend that very same opening tonight at Krause Gallery down near the Bowery.
The calibre of work in display was second to none – having seen them labour over the work whilst I was visiting possibly gave me a greater appreciation of the whole thing, but seeing work in progress and then the finished products all up on the walls and installed is something else. On the surface, many off the images seem quite simple in their iconography – that simplicity, however, is only on a casual glance, in each piece there is a complex play of ideas and head-nods to a whole swath of cultural foibles and fancies.
From beautifully rendered porcelain pots to the firehouse white on blue plates, there is a measure of immaculate detail hidden within each of this duos works. Messages both written and placed upon paper or ceramic surface as near hieroglyphic entreats – and though some of these can be obviously translated, you also get the sense that there are some distinctly playful in-jokes between the two artists scrawled across their work.
The upstairs section of the show was formal in its presentation – that aforementioned white and blue sprayed across the room. The bars and plates, though made of fragile material had a strengthened presence that belied their canvases.
Downstairs however, was a loose assortment of painted walls and printed materials documenting the couples journeys across SE Asia, Mexico and here in NYC, their adopted home.
I loved this section – you don’t always get such a complimentary display in an exhibition of some of the more intimate processes and plans behind the finished product. Playful scrawlings on found pages and plans for walls painted and finished abounded in ramshackle manner – a perfect juxtaposition to the room above.
Often when artists collaborate, the seams between styles are in some evidence, instead of a perfunctory presence – yet of all the times I looked upon this work, I often found it difficult to discern, happily, where the Yok ended and Sheryo began – or visa versa.
For me, this is the essence of collaboration – that wavering grey area where two talents are able to combine into a distinct entity – something that the viewer, and even the artists themselves, have never seen before – and which would never have eventuates without such a close working relationship. Though this show was billed as two artists, it could have easily been one – such was the ease by which their merger of styles was both demonstrated and substantiated.
As I sit here, tapping into my phone and writing this over tea and post-show congee, I cant help bit think that this might be what NYC is really all about. Not the glitz and glamour and "oh New York is so fkn coool" and all the "art scene" bullshit, but about individuals, artists, having the opportunity and ability to present new shit in such a broad, dynamic environment – and being embrace for it. Not only did I see some amazing work tonight, but I also saw the "Pipe Dreams" of two artists literally manifested upon the walls of this grand old metropolis.
I love this city, and I love its artists, new and old, and I loved this fucking show.
Check out more of the photos from the show below – apologies for not being the best, I had to resort to my point and shoot after my dslr craped out … but I hope you enjoy them!