Two photographs hanging side by side. The left image shows three roses, two with red buds, the third extending out of the frame, all sitting on top of pink tulle. The right image has the same tulle and more roses, with a man's face in the bottom left corner. His dark brown eyes look intensely into the camera.

Pacifico Silano: I Won’t Last A Day Without You

Melanie Flood Projects is proud to present I Won’t Last A Day Without You, a solo exhibition of photographs by New York based artist Pacifico Silano curated by Yaelle S. Amir. The exhibition will open on Friday October 3, 2020 and will run through November 14, 2020.

In I Won’t Last A Day Without You, Pacifico Silano presents new work from his ongoing series of photo collages that draw from gay erotica magazines published after the Stonewall riots (1969) and through the height of the AIDS epidemic (late 1980s). Layering snippets of desert views with forest flora, tulle with roses, a face, an arm, a shadow—these fragments serve to soften the outlandish performative aspects of male desire commonly found in their source material, and offer instead a tender, quiet and fragile expression of masculinity. The resulting works communicate poetic moments that are embedded with a deep sense of melancholy reflective of the era from which the images were derived. Rather than fantasy and satisfaction, the onlooker now contends with feelings of emptiness and sorrow.

The purpose and materiality of Silano’s work stems from a highly personal position. Born during the peak of the AIDS crisis to a family who ran an adult novelty store, Silano lost his uncle due to complications from HIV. Yet the shame associated with his uncle’s sexuality and the stigma surrounding the disease led to his family’s erasure of his memory. With that experience serving as a catalyst, Silano has created these works as stand-in memorials for the individuals depicted upon the pages of the sourced magazines, as well as for those who consumed their image. As contemporary interpretations of archival materials, the works candidly hold within them the past and future—demonstrating acutely how a photograph can evolve its meaning and context as culture gains new understanding of history.

–Yaelle Amir, Exhibition curator

 

 

An announcement image with a butter-colored background and brush script text that reads "Melanie Flood Projects presents Rose Dickson Giantess" and the exhibition date and location details.

Rose Dickson: Giantess

Melanie Flood Projects is proud to present Giantess, a solo exhibition of new works by Chicago based artist Rose Dickson. An in-person opening reception will take place on Friday August 14 from 4-9pm at the gallery. Occupancy will be limited to four visitors at a time, and masks are required. The exhibition will be on view by appointment only through September 26.

Rose Dickson builds worlds where humans and objects share elemental bonds, and where balance is maintained by an endless negotiation between push and pull, barrier and passage. This entanglement of things is not scientific, instead it depends on an understanding that everything has a fundamental temperament, and that this temperament is often revealed through interaction. Dickson’s notebooks are filled with intuitive pairings of disparate things, weather patterns, furniture, human relationships. As a starting point she might take two familiar objects, a wooden table and a glass table, then hold the idea of these next to someone she knows well. The revelation in this process is that before any analysis the person in mind naturally gravitates toward one of the objects. Working backward from here, the pairing begins to make sense. If the person is more like the glass table, then they likely possess some of the latent associations with that object: transparency, fragility, sharpness. Dickson’s work mines this invisible network of connections, building a relational world where things define themselves by sounding against one another.

Engine Room (hand hooked rug) features two, wheel-shaped forms with pads resembling flower petals. Each petal carries a symbol ranging from familiar and domestic (a chair, two bells, a chimney) to completely abstract. The piece implies a synthesis at its center, where the overlapping petals generate a new form. One can imagine the engine starting, and the petals rotating to create endless new meaning. Engine Room follows a thread in Dickson’s work where domestic space and traditions of craft are recast as powerful and mysterious industries. It also points to the interrelated nature of this body of work. The jug featured on the green wheel existed first in ceramic, Double Vessel, and the chair on the same side appears again in her painting, Inflection Applies to Speech but is also Seen Here. We learn to read these symbols as ideas expanded by their continued expression through new mediums.

Reaching from floor to ceiling Dickson’s latching chains feature several interlinked pieces of hammered silver. At their large scale, the chains are delicate, thorny and sometimes forbidding. The individual forms that make up the chains rely on their own unique combination of friction and balance to maintain their shape. As the pieces organize into these large structures, they give clues about their temperament, some appearing to move upward against gravity while others barely seeming to hold together. The chains transform the gallery into a space that must be consciously navigated, and create natural superimpositions of their own forms onto counterparts throughout the space. The chains remind us of the role of these symbols in Dickson’s universe—infinitely scalable, both immense and molecular.

Silent Forces at Work (gouache on paper) depicts a burning house with red and yellow flames moving into a gray cloud of smoke. The painting peels back a layer to show two of Dickson’s symbols, in this case representing air tugging at fire’s edges. Their latched combination creates smoke. The piece shows the role these symbols play in their vast cosmology, and their flexibility as a new language. The same symbols that appear in elemental form here may also describe a person in Dickson’s life, or the style of communication between two people.

Dickson looks for meaning in the wealth of pre-language, pre-intellectual associations we carry with us. Her interest in human temperaments and relationships has expanded into a body of work that finds sympathetic vibrations across all things, and that aims at the gap between the nuance of our experiences and the language we have available to describe them. Viewing the work is not about solving its puzzles, but accepting the bundle of associations it transmits before we have time to think.

–Exhibition text by Calum Walter, Rose Dickson’s partner and collaborator

A black and white image of two people sitting on a tile floor next to a sliding glass door, with only their legs in view. One person pulls on the toe of a white sock worn by the other person. Bright light shines through the glass door creating dramatic shadows.

New Photography from the Pacific Northwest

Melanie Flood Projects in collaboration with curator Yaelle Amir, is pleased to present seven solo online exhibitions of photographers based in the Pacific Northwest from July 31 to August 14, 2020. A new artist will take center stage every two days with all exhibitions archived on the website for ongoing inquiry and access.

Rydel Cerezo  July 31
Cristal Tappan August 2
Mikai Arion  August 4
Emma Ray-Wong August 6
Stefan Gonzales August 8
M Prull August 10
Ricardo Nagaoka August 12

This exhibition stemmed from our mutual curiosity about emerging photography made in the Pacific Northwest. Our research began in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and concluded at the start of a major social upheaval in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and against police brutality. These historical realities informed many of the conversations we had with the artists during our studio visits, ultimately becoming an inextricable part of our final selections. These deeply intimate bodies of work include reflections on personal identity, the complex experience of sheltering in place, negotiating family dynamics, shifting access to work, and the reality of being an emerging artist in a post-pandemic world. —Yaelle Amir and Melanie Flood, Exhibition curators

Yaelle S. Amir is a curator and researcher with a primary focus on artists whose practices supplement the initiatives of existing social movements, rendering themes within those struggles in ways that both interrogate these issues and promote them to a wider audience. Yaelle’s programming has appeared in art institutions throughout the United States including Artists Space (NY), CUE Art Foundation (NY), The Elizabeth Foundation (NY), Franklin Street Works (CT), Holding Contemporary (OR), and Marginal Utility (PA) among many others. She has held curatorial and research positions at major institutions including MoMA NY, the International Center of Photography, and New York University. In Portland, she was curator of exhibitions and public programs at Newspace Center for Photography and recently curated the Portland2019 Biennial. For more information about her work visit www.yaelleamir.com.