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Annotations & Improvisations’

Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY

December 9, 2021–January 29, 2022

Annotations & Improvisations’, curated by Kristen Becker, installation view, Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY (2021–2022). Photo: Christopher Burke Studio. Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY.

Annotations & Improvisations’, curated by Kristen Becker, installation view, Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY (2021–2022). Photo: Christopher Burke Studio. Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY.

Annotations & Improvisations’, curated by Kristen Becker, installation view, Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY (2021–2022). Photo: Christopher Burke Studio. Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY.

Annotations & Improvisations’, curated by Kristen Becker, installation view, Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY (2021–2022). Photo: Christopher Burke Studio. Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY.

Press Release

Steve Locke included in group exhibition Annotations & Improvisations curated by Kristen Becker at Miles McEnery Gallery in New York, NY.

The institution's press release follows: 

MILES McENERY GALLERY is pleased to announce Annotations & Improvisations, a group exhibition curated by New York-based curator Kristen Becker. This exhibition opens on 9 December 2021 at 525 West 22nd Street and will remain on view through 29 January 2022. 

Annotations & Improvisations features a cross section of mid-career and established artists who each employ the language of abstraction to present more expansive histories that encompass multiple cultures, aesthetic traditions, craft practices, science, religion, ritual, and nature. The works offer exuberance in color, joy in the graphic, exhilaration in the cosmic, and visceral satisfaction in the tactile, while highlighting the complexities around issues of authorship and origin. 

Many of the artists featured, such as Biggers, Cole, Quevedo, Simpson, White Hawk, and Zarina, use charged source materials like quilts, textiles, handmade paper, sewing patterns, ledger paper, and clothing, repurposing ephemera related to personal and cultural histories by threading, weaving, and burning them into their work. Other artists, like Hammond, Hassinger, and Moffett, pile, stretch, and zip more traditional art materials—canvas, fabric, oil, and rabbit skin glue—treating them like skins and inviting physical and psychological associations. This grounding in the body and its vulnerabilities lead to Locke and Sánchez, who consider the choreographed politics inherent in architecture and negative space, while Gatson and Maiolino take us to another dimension altogether by gently leading us out into the cosmos. 

Though the exhibition is loaded with iconographic references and connections, the goal is not to define or fix each object to a specific origin story but rather to embrace contradictions and destabilize the search for linear interpretation, steering away from the reductive Western lens that so often leads to erasure. Each artist has built their own distinct and complex narrative, resulting in a cumulative tension that rewards close looking. By following the artists’ generous lead in imparting and sharing these continually unfolding stories, we can come to a greater appreciation of their personal narrative and leave with a more nuanced approach to our own.