Opening Reception: Saturday, November 7th, 6–8PM
"Suddenly even the pig is no threat - though, to be sure, it comes chopped and shredded, and is then set afloat on our plates in such oceans of soy sauce, as to bear no resemblance at all to a pork chop, or a hambone, or most disgusting of all, a sausage (ucchhh!)" -Phillip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint
Retrospective is pleased to present a solo show of new works by Chloe Wise, Full-Sized Body, Erotic Literature. This will be Wise's first solo show in New York. Wise presents painting, sculpture, and video, continuing her exploration into consumptive habits and their intersection with lust and pleasure. Full-Sized Body, Erotic Literature addresses the community-forming rituals and codes around goods and their transgressions, working through the underbelly of desire as expressed through the semiotics of cheating.
Wise focuses on sites where contravention is made visible to the offender, normalized, and folded back into a new code of ethics. This site is reconsidered as a place of resistance where rules and legislation are exposed as penetrable, unstable, and ultimately constructed. In her series of hand made sculptures of Chinese food take-out containers, filled with urethane-cast Chinese food, Wise expounds on the tradition of Safe-Treyf. In Judaism, any foods that do not satisfy Kosher law are described as Treyf, while Safe-Treyf, swiftly accounts for the acceptable consumption of these prohibited diets. Wise looks to the tradition of Jewish North American immigrants frequenting and eating at Chinese restaurants (the only restaurants open to this community on Christian holidays) as a queering of two newly-urbanized and othered cultures—a hybridized meeting where transculturation is defined by disobedience.
The dating and social networking website Ashley Madison offers another community of consent formed around the act of cheating. In September of this year, the website underwent a breach and the seemingly-endless information made available to the public became the language for Wise's paintings. Multiple-choice descriptors—conventional sex, being dominant, sensual massages, sharing fantasies—are used as building blocks for the artist's concrete poems, recited in both her video and painted on canvas. This language is paired with de-contextualized images of keys, roses, and seductively modeled manicured hands—empty signifiers for a newly hollowed-out romance. The non sequitur semantics of both Wise's paintings and video points to a non-human unruliness, a wink to the female community of Ashley Madison exposed as being made up mainly of bots set up for the paying (Canadian) male clientele. Wise frames cheating as an impulse-turned-logic, and interminable bending of rules to create new chaotic structures fit for our perpetually morphing wants.
Wise's exhibition will run concurrently with an exhibition of new works by Ross Iannatti at 711 Warren Street, Hudson, NY.