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Carol Anne McChrystal: Entropical Latitudes
March 13, 2021 - June 20, 2021Free
Mata Art Gallery is pleased to present “Entropical Latitudes,” a solo exhibition of recent sculpture from Los Angeles-based artist Carol Anne McChrystal. This exhibition brings together for the first time selected works that share a vocabulary around constructs of home and shelter. Informed by life in diaspora, these sculptures are influenced by time spent in familial homelands studying ancestral handicrafts, and in witnessing how these cultural practices are threatened by globalized industry. Referencing emergency shelters and home wares, each of the works play on the tension created when a functional object becomes functionless.
Made from bamboo, tent poles, bungee cords, plastic bags and silicone, her emergency shelters, are designed to be uninhabitable and to transform under the influence of gravity. Collapsing in extreme slow motion over the duration of the exhibition, the shelters reflect on inaction against the climate tipping point and ineffective responses to natural disasters.
Each piece in her ongoing series of hand-made shipping blankets has been quilted at an unwieldy, unusable scale. Manually stitched to the dimensions of a full, standardized bolt of fabric, McChrystal’s obsessive techniques paired with materials that have their origin in plastic results in a meditation on oil extraction, commodity shipping, supply chains and the crisis of overproduction.
Similarly, each piece in her recent series “Pasalubong” (“souvenir” in Filipino languages) takes the form of the woven mat, which are often considered the most basic form of shelter. Following the ethos of “doing the best you can with what you’ve got” that is a necessary part of life in the diaspora, she hand-weaves her banig-inspired objects from non-traditional materials like blue tarp, single-use water bottles, discarded plastic wrappers and other byproducts of oil extraction. She uses these materials both because they are “what she’s got” available in her urban, American landscape, as well as to bring awareness to the economic instability of a migrant workforce created by increasing and intensifying ecological disaster.
Together, these works prompt viewers to ask questions about how extractive industries and climate catastrophe impact differentiated experiences of home and shelter.
Carol Anne McChrystal’s materially-driven sculpture practice uses chemical processes and labor-intensive hand-making to explore the legacy of colonialism and trade, as well as the ways in which the climate catastrophe has compounded these histories of inequity. Inhabiting the tension between Earth’s immense history and the absurdly mundane everyday experience of plastic and labor, her practice consolidates the painstakingly hand-made with mass-produced consumables in order to pry open a speculative space in which to resist the means-ends rationale of late capitalism.
Her work has been exhibited at Asukal Space, Avenue 50 Studio, and Acogedor among others. She has participated in numerous residency programs, including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik. As part of the collaborative duo Nightmare City, she has created immersive environments that have been exhibited at Alter Space in San Francisco, The Luminary in St. Louis, and Horse & Pony in Berlin among others, and has shown video works at Essex Flowers in New York, MASS Gallery in Austin, and ACRETV in Chicago. Her work has been written about in publications such as ArtForum and Modern Painters. McChrystal’s own writing has been published on the critical arts platform Art Practical, and she recently published a collection of poetry titled, “Entropical Latitudes.”
Born into the dual diaspora of the Philippines and Ireland, she currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
“MATA”, meaning “eye” in several Austronesian languages, was a concept conceived in 2016 that finally came to life during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, as a platform to promote works by BIPOC, queer, disabled and/or working class emerging artists from all around the world. Inspired by its existence across several islander languages, MATA transcends borders and binaries, with aims to foster genuine inclusiveness, diversity, and lend visibility to emerging artists existing within the margins.