Every (ongoing) Day
Organized by Jody Zellen and Pam Posey for Arena 1 Gallery

Every (ongoing) Day
Arena 1 Gallery
Santa Monica, CA
March 17 - April 14, 2018

Deborah Aschheim • Karl Baden • Laura Cooper and Nick Taggart • Hasan Elahi • Nancy Floyd • Martin Gantman • Margot Guralnick • Annetta Kapon • Jamie Newton • Pam Posey • John F. Simon, Jr. • Christina Price Washington • Jody Zellen • Sean Zellmer

gallery website
PDF of Exhibition Catalog
Link to review by Leah Ollman in the Los Angeles Times
Link to review by Eve Wood in Art and Cake

Every (ongoing) Day is an exhibition about daily practices. It showcases durational projects— those undertaken by artists on a daily basis as a ritual, to track changes or to mark the day. Over time each artist has amassed a large archive of artworks that are both very personal and very public (daily Instagram posts). In looking back over years or decades of daily creations, each artist can trace a very specific relationship to his/her larger practices. This exhibition presents a fragment of these ongoing projects as a way to glean an understanding into an artist’s process and private methods of working. Because these projects are parenthetical and parallel to the artists’ regular art activities, the exhibition poses a series of questions for the viewer. How do these daily works inspire the artists? What motivates them to do something every day? What are the rules and how do they direct the body of work created?

Several artists in Every (ongoing) Day take portraits over time as an archive of both memory and forgetting. Karl Baden has taken a black and white head shot under the same conditions each day since 1987 and for this exhibition has created a video where one face morphs into the next, both speeding and collapsing time. Nancy Floyd’s daily self-portraits are a visual diary of her changing body over the past thirty plus years. If she fails to take a picture the film is advanced so a blank image is recorded, creating a visual calendar. The Sleep Piece is an ongoing collaboration by Laura Cooper and Nick Taggart. At Cooper’s request, Taggart takes a black and white Polaroid as she sleeps, a record of her rare restful moments. Begun in 1993 as an exploration of Cooper’s insomnia, the work has become a record of love and commitment with 6,843 images to date.

Self-surveillance plays a critical role in the projects of Deborah Aschheim, Christina Price Washington and Hasan Elahi. In 2002 Bangladeshi-born Elahi was investigated by the FBI after being mistakenly associated with terrorist activities while traveling. In response he began Tracking Transience, a project of self-surveillance in which he monitors the details and locations of his day-to-day activities and posts them live on his website thus offering the minutia of his life directly to the public and the FBI. Aschheim uses herself as the subject of a psychology experiment based on the study “Memory for randomly sampled autobiographical events” (W.F. Brewer’s 1988 experiment). Since 2006, she has been wearing a vintage Divilbiss Random Reminder during all her waking hours, taking a photograph and documenting her thoughts and actions on a 3”x 5” card in response to the beeper’s random prompts. Washington has been documenting her comings and goings since 2012 by placing light sensitive photo paper in her purse for the duration of each day. Her movements cause the paper in the bag to bend and fold, creating objects that physically trace and record the day’s random activities.

Rules countered by improvisation factor strongly in the working methods of Jody Zellen and John F. Simon, Jr. Since 2004 Zellen has made blind drawings each day to the first song that came up on her iPod, initially with her eyes closed. She added a second drawing containing a small figure to this ritual and, since 2014 has added a third drawing – this one in a small notebook as a visual diary. Drawing on A4 sized paper with a black Uniball roller pen, Simon began his “Divination Drawings” in 1999 in which he intuitively guides his pencil through the unconscious thoughts and emotions of the day as a form of meditation. As with Zellen, the dated and/or numbered drawings become part of a large archive that marks each individual day.

Pam Posey and Annetta Kapon also mark each day with a drawing ritual based on a set of rules. As a way to pay attention and depict what was on her mind, Posey began her daily drawings in 2005, stamping each drawing with the date and, when necessary, making up a missed day by doing 2 drawings the following day. Kapon started daily collages in 2017 as a means to discover a mental space of experimentation, autonomy and freedom. Each drawing is dated and numbered, each fits in a graph notebook and the colleges must remain 2D and abstract.

The photo-sharing app Instagram is most often used by artists to share their own inspirations, work, artwork by other artists, or art world news. Martin Gantman, Margot Guralnick, Jamie Newton and Sean Zellmer instead use it to produce a specific piece every day which exists solely as a digital record of a creative activity. Each day Martin Gantman records high noon by taking and posting a photograph on Instagram. It is his way of marking time and of acknowledging the constancy within durational change. Margot Guralnick’s dog walks provide a record of her meditation on—and collaboration with—the plant life growing in her Bronx neighborhood. Her attempts to decipher nature’s hieroglyphics and create order and pattern out of her discoveries are posted daily as photo images. Jamie Newton’s New Year’s Instagram piece on the first day of 2016 began an ongoing practice of carving out a little space each day for something ephemeral and creative. The daily sculpture pieces are almost out of balance, they push and pull and purposefully throw wrenches (sometimes literally) into the work to reveal an ever expanding method of aesthetic problem solving. Sean Zellmer explores the endless frontier of problem solving in mathematics and algorithms to do everything from simulating the path of light through glass to creating models using four-dimensional fractals. Each day he creates an animated journey into the abstract realm of mathematics and shares these digital “dailies” on Instagram.

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