The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 22–JAN 23

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DEC 22–JAN 23 Issue

Brianne Garcia: Screaming in a Whisper

Brianne Garcia, <em>fertile ground</em>, 2022. Acrylic, acrylic medium, dye, rope, ribbon, thread, staples, on canvas; mounted on cradled wood panel. 46 x 30 x 1 inches. Courtesy of Daniel Terna and Nina Johnson Gallery / Kapp Kapp
Brianne Garcia, fertile ground, 2022. Acrylic, acrylic medium, dye, rope, ribbon, thread, staples, on canvas; mounted on cradled wood panel. 46 x 30 x 1 inches. Courtesy of Daniel Terna and Nina Johnson Gallery / Kapp Kapp
On view
Kapp Kapp
Brianne Garcia: Screaming in a Whisper
November 4 – December 17, 2022
New York

Every aspect of Brianne Garcia’s art making comes with words attached. After discussions with the artist, I found myself being more conscious of the type of language I activated to speak to strangers, friends, and lovers. It made me wonder where the actual words I was sounding out, the ones I knew how to speak, or at least thought I could utilize effectively, came from in the first place. How do we arrive at words? Why do we choose certain phrases to describe a sensation? How interchangeable can words’ meanings be? Screaming in a Whisper embraces a similar vein of questions and visualizes Brianne Garcia’s stumbled-upon mother-tongue and infinitely moody obsession with, and without, words.

Filled with scribbled phrases and personal notes handwritten in shrieking, capital letters, repurposed shoe bags substitute as sketchbook pages or “entries” in Garcia’s multimedia painting all consuming (2022):

As strange as the weather, as strange as ever, as strange as forever, as dangerous as never, as angry as ever, as better is better, is better as better, is bitter as ever…

Garcia’s text segments accompany dyed drawings and colour swatches, far quieter than her venting, existential writing. Fully intact zips fling inward and off the canvas hectically, recalling unruly blades of grass. The canvas’s similarly dominating green dye finish looks as though it has been made with naturally extracted pigment. In fertile ground (2022), Garcia’s rope phrasing comes equipped with a glass-half-empty, glass-half-full mentality, and leaves the interpreter tortured, stagnant, or in a fit of unexpected giggles. In scripture made from rope, the very legible “THERE’S ONLY TIME” can be read from the other side of the gallery. Meanwhile, an assured “NO” rope has disguised itself in forest green paint, attached to a canvas patch with matching colors. Kapp Kapp’s elevator doors open directly to an example of the artist’s literary curiosity and intellectual humor. In the case for fertile ground, there’s only time, and no time, all at the same time.

The recently deceased poet Jean Valentine, one of the many literary voices that enraptures Garcia, writes of personal qualities and human similarities in “The Rose” (2007),

but at the center, only rose,
where rose came from,
where rose grows—
& us, inside of the lips & lips:
the likenesses, the eyes, & the hair
Brianne Garcia, <em>night rose</em>, 2022. Acrylic on canvas; 7 x 5.75 inches. Courtesy Kapp Kapp.
Brianne Garcia, night rose, 2022. Acrylic on canvas; 7 x 5.75 inches. Courtesy Kapp Kapp.

Relying on the rose in a big way, Garcia clings to the motif as a mode of personification. Existing as floral embellishments to the exhibition’s words or poetic texts, roses sprinkle through the sun-soaked gallery in hose, yarn, and paint. I read a note in the artist’s Lower East Side studio asking, “what does instability look like, visually?” and the playfulness and indecision behind the material used to realize the show’s roses suddenly feels like a potentially potent and personal answer.

Garcia’s night rose (2022), a small rose painted in acrylic, was realised during COVID’s nighttime. A method of distributing time between switching on and off, Garcia would situate, navigate, and parent during the day, and return to the blank canvas later on, to paint. This lone, depressed rose is made of red smudgings and scratchy yellowish outlines, and foregrounds a purple-black and midnight-blue sky, echoing the artist’s zero-sun process. The rose appears defeated and untriumphant. Night rose could be a sketch for the exhibition’s most conspicuous sculpture, dying to be remembered (2022). A 25-foot hose wraps itself around the architecture of the gallery ceiling, and droops from the weight of a large, punished rosebud. Delicate petals have been constructed out of a layered gauze-like fabric, painted at different opacities. In grieving with the rose, viewers must droop to a suitable height in order to peer up into its innards. The other end of the hose-rose’s stem lays coiled atop a square-cut mirror on the gallery’s ground, allowing our and the rose’s reflections to be experienced in an uncomfortable tandem.

The rose and its significance are most impactful through its interchangeable symbology, used in ways to denote Garcia’s emotional turmoil. Isa Genzken, another sculptor of roses, said in conversation with Wolfgang Tillmans, that sculpture “must always have an aspect that has reality too,” and claimed that her sculptures “have more to do with the inner view,” something we’re reminded of in the intricacies of Garcia’s exquisitely constructed insides.


Clare Gemima

Clare Gemima is a contributor to the Brooklyn Rail.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 22–JAN 23

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