Curated by Haynes Riley
with Hartmut Austen, Aaron Jones,
Lap Le, Anne Libby, Sondra Perry,
Martine Syms, and Tan Zich
Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 7 – 8:30 pm
Lecture by Lap Le
Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 6 pm
Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm
Sigh-Fi is a group exhibition at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR Gallery I) that infuses a lofty gallery space with a collapsible structure designed by architect Aaron Jones that manipulates the relationship between architectural volume and contemporary art. Folding field chapels create an imposing atmosphere for the presentation of works by Hartmut Austen, Lap Le, Anne Libby, Sondra Perry, and Martine Syms that coalesce around ideas of the mundane in Science Fiction. As an extension of the exhibition, a work by Tan Zich has been propagated to promote the show, accompanied by an embroidered hat which will organically identify its purpose throughout the run of the exhibition. The online platform WOW HUH will publish Lap Le’s inaugurating lecture in essay form along with digital media by Sondra Perry, a poem by Tan Zich, and the republishing of Martine Syms’ The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto.
As Robert Scholes explains in Structural Fabulation: An Essay on Fiction of the Future, the tradition of Science Fiction “insists upon a radical discontinuity between its world and the world of ordinary human experience.” Science Fiction is archetypically pictured as fantastical tropes of flying cars and floating islands populating the background of futuristic and utopic/dystopic worlds. But as Claire L. Evans has written and lectured, expanding on Scholes idea, the one “hard and fast rule about Science Fiction” is that it has a “starting point…that exists in a state of present condition with set physics and set social dynamics” with a single thing that is changed: a radical discontinuity. Sigh-Fi seeks to explore this notion through unraveling an assumed ordinariness in our earthly world. Entwining the materially quotidian with this discontinuity implants doubt in our logical (yet empirically flawed) perspective, forming gaps that demand a recalibration and reconsideration of position, privilege, and power. Though one might label this scenario as mundane fiction, the current cultural epiphanies concerning the inequitable status of our democracy is not a pretense, but a dimension unseen by some and present to many.
Hartmut Austen (b. 1967 Lüdenscheid, Germany) studied painting and drawing with H.J. Diehl at Hochschule der Künste (University of the Arts) in Berlin. His first arrival in the United States was marked by a 1998 group exhibition titled VOID at Unfinished gallery in Williamsburg, New York. He has since exhibited widely in the United States and Germany, most recently at Good Weather (North Little Rock, Arkansas), Waiting Room (Minneapolis), The Bedfellow’s Club (Chicago), and Butchers Daughter Gallery (Detroit). As a member of the Telegraph Art Collective, he has worked and exhibited with artists of diverse disciplinary backgrounds. In 2009, Austen was awarded a Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellowship and was the Grant Wood Fellow for Painting and Drawing at the University or Iowa in 2012/13. He is an Assistant Professor in Painting at Boston College.
Aaron Jones (b. 1981 Altus, Oklahoma) is a registered architect, illustrator, and fabricator based in Detroit, MI. Aaron produces experimental theaters, pop-up structures, comic books, performance art, and critical writing in collaboration with leading creative professionals and organizations around the world. Aaron has practiced architecture in Oklahoma, Texas, and Michigan. He holds a Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and was a fellow at the Centre d’Etudes Maghrébines à Tunis, sponsored by the US Dept. of State. Since 2011 Aaron has practiced on Detroit’s east side as co-founder of Talking Dolls Studio and taught at the university level. Aaron is a touring architect with performance group Complex Movements, whose collaborative output has been showcased and reviewed internationally. Accomplishments include work with New Project’s (Chicago), The Storefront for Art and Architecture (New York), the Goethe Institut (Johannesburg), and On The Boards (Seattle). Recently, Aaron was awarded a research residency from the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and participated in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Along with Wesley Taylor, Aaron co-runs an exhibition space in Los Angeles called Big Models, where they work out ideas regarding contemporary design. Next semester their collaborative project an archipelago will travel to France for Biennale Internationale Design St. Etienne and Aaron will serve as visiting architect at Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Lap Le (b. 1985 Portland, Oregon) is an artist and writer currently working in Richmond, Virginia. He is co-founder and editor of WOW HUH and a designer-in-residence at Virginia Commonwealth University. He hopes to complete his first science fiction novel in 2017. His work has been exhibited internationally as part of the Incheon Women Artist Biennale (South Korea), Culture Room (Brooklyn), Present Co. (Brooklyn), and MOCAD (Detroit).
Anne Libby (b. 1987 Los Angeles, California) received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2009 and an MFA from Bard in 2016. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Night Gallery (Los Angeles), Violet’s Cafe (Brooklyn), and Metropolitan Structures (Baltimore). Press about her work has appeared in PIN-UP magazine, Black Cat Journal, ARTnews, and Sex Magazine. Libby lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Sondra Perry’s work explores abstraction and representation through video and computer-based media installations and performance. Perry has exhibited in group shows at MoMA PS1, Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, and has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Experimental Television Center. Perry holds an MFA from Columbia University, a BFA from Alfred University, and is currently based in Houston, Texas as part of the artist-in-residence program Core at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Martine Syms (b. 1988 Los Angeles, California) is a conceptual entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened extensively, including recent presentations at Karma International, Bridget Donahue Gallery, the New Museum, Kunsthalle Bern, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Index Stockholm, MOCA Los Angeles, and MCA Chicago. Her work was included in the third iteration of Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum. Her recent solo exhibition Fact & Trouble at ICA, London received praise from Mousse Magazine, The Guardian, and Artforum. She has lectured at Yale University, SXSW, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and MoMA PS1, among other venues. From 2007–11, she directed Golden Age, a project space focused on printed matter. In 2012 she founded Dominica, a small press dedicated to nowhere shit.
Tan Zich (b. 1991 Prague, Czechoslovakia) is an artist and poet. They live and work between Portland, Seoul, and Hanoi.
Haynes Riley (b. 1984 North Little Rock, Arkansas) is founder and director at Good Weather, a gallery in North Little Rock, Arkansas established in 2011 in a suburban garage that has made a decentralizing impact on the presentation of contemporary art. While at the helm of Good Weather, Riley has organized thirty-three solo exhibitions and participated in NADA Miami Beach, NADA New York, Material Art Fair (Mexico City), ARTBandini Los Angeles, and 9/50: A Southeast Arts Presenters Summit at Atlanta Contemporary; and published artists’ books and editions that have been presented at Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Los Angeles), Detroit Art Book Fair (Detroit), and VA/BF (Vancouver). Riley also founded Girl/Boy Gallery while participating in the Ox-Bow School of Art Fall Artist Residency; co-curated In All Kinds of Weather at Gallery Protocol (Gainesville); co-curated Shades in Little Rock and curated In the Heat of the Night in Chicago through The Bedfellow’s Club; and most recently curated Lands’ End as part of Fringe Projects’ Beach is Better in Miami Beach, Blue Tiers at COOP (Nashville), Is this my tongue? at Institute 193 (Lexington), and participated in Document V while Artist-in-Residence at The Luminary (St. Louis). He is Design Director at Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (Carla). Riley has an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design.
For more information, contact Brad Cushman,