Exhibition: January 22–February 21, 2015
Opening reception: Thursday, January 22, 6–8pm
Press release: Download .pdf
Art in General is pleased to present A Random History of The Stick, a solo exhibition with Michael Linares in the Musée Minuscule.
As early as the Pliocene epoch, the stick as a specific, three-dimensional form has played a vital role in the technological, social, political, aesthetic, and religious development of humanity and some animal species. The chimpanzee’s tool that catches termites, the facial ornamentation of the Yanomami people, the Shulgi of Ur’s weaponry—as well as the toothpick, knitting needle, and vaulting-pole—all represent a minute slice of the myriad transfigurations that this form has undergone throughout history.
For Linares, the stick serves as concrete evidence of the neurological evolution of some animals and indicates their ability to create metaphor. It is an ancient example of the moment when an object, such as a branch or bone, ceases to be what it inherently is and becomes an instrument with transformed meaning and purpose. As such, Linares considers the stick to be an archetype of a “thing;” a vessel devoid of connotation that anticipates signification through utility. Treating the stick as a readymade, Linares divests it of any original use value or context, presenting the form as dependent on conceptual shifts with radically altered implications and functionality.
A Random History of The Stick is the formal outcome of Linares’ investigation into the history and quotidian uses of stick-like objects—defined as long, rigid shapes, the length of which are dependent on function and proportion in relation to the body. As a simple machine, a stick can transform energy, increasing tangible force as with a baseball bat, or symbolic power as with the baton, wand, or sceptre. His study emulates the exploratory and archaeological method of prospection—involving image, text, video and data gathering—with the aim to generate an audiovisual archive that represents a collective knowledge base. In this project, Linares exploits the gaps that exist in science and history as opportunities to create speculative associations and narrative. Comprised of YouTube clips edited into a layered, moving-image collage, this video installation of the same title is part of a larger body of works in progress.
Through a wide range of styles and mediums including installation, assemblage, sculpture and painting, Michael Linares’ artistic practice consistently raises the possibility of new relationships between objects and signification. Mixing the foreign with the familiar and the marvelous with the mundane, Linares disorganizes what is perceived as common sense to create unexpected combinations that opportune new aesthetic and intellectual understanding. Central to his practice is the exploration of new connections between audience and art in a way that asserts the spectator’s role in the production of meaning. Rather than an aesthetic experience in and of itself, the artist sees his work as a vehicle for possible aesthetic experiences that remain open, ever changing, and ready to be redefined.
Michael Linares was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico and is currently based in San Juan, PR. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the EAP School of Fine Arts of San Juan, where he currently teaches, and is a MA candidate in Archeology at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y El Caribe. In 2010, Linares completed the Beta-Local residency program (Independent Studies) in San Juan. Notable solo exhibitions include Outside In / Out, MACO Art Fair, Mexico City (2014); Unpainting, Walter Otero Gallery, San Juan (2013); Was it a rat I saw?, Ltd Los Angeles, Los Angeles (2013); Así las cosas (This being so), Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2012); Useless, PINTA Art Fair, London (2010); and Found & Lost, Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico (2009).
General Support of Art in General is provided by General Hardware Manufacturing Inc.; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Lambent Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; the William Talbott Hillman Foundation; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Additional special event support provided by ROOT Studios.