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Intimate Immensity and Other Daydreams at the AC Institute

Art Scene

Intimate Immensity and Other Daydreams at the AC Institute

As polished and market-driven art spaces take over the gallery landscape of New York City—Manhattan, in particular—sites of experimentation are fewer and far between. However, the AC Institute, founded in 2004 and committed to fostering experimentation and critical thinking through exhibitions, events, and publishing, offers a unique experience. To start, it offers a completely different aesthetic than its location on the east side of Midtown. The fourth floor rectangular shaped cube, hidden inside a discreet narrow building, is currently painted black, a far cry from the ubiquitous white walled sanctuaries of most galleries and museums.

Jo Ann Walters, Phoenix, Arizona, 1989

The space’s current exhibition, Intimate Immensity and Other Daydreams, is a group show that features the work of 12 artists working in a variety of formats —sound, book arts, sculpture, video and photography to name a few. As the title suggests, an imaginary ethos is present in the very curation of the works on view. A subjective, personal quality evident in each work is allowed to exist, each in its own orb. There appears to be no obligation for any given work to resonate with the materiality of other pieces in the show, other than through the agency afforded to every human being to daydream.

Rebecca Norris Webb, Badlands, 2012

The concept of the exhibition explores the idea of poetic imagination developed by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. He posits that poetic imagination is shaped by language, memory and daydreams that in turn affect perceptions and experiences in particular spaces and times.

Monika Sosnowski, Relative Presence, 2015-16

One thread throughout the exhibition, probably the most accessible, is the presence of photographs. The inner and outer landscapes of perception are explored from several vantage points. In Jo Ann Walters’, Phoenix, Arizona, a young boy with his eyes closed gently holds on to leaves on tree behind him. He wears a Superman t-shirt that contrasts with a gorgeous Earth tone color palette giving the feel of serene pastels.

Magnum photographer, Alec Soth’s image, 2007_10z10006b (I love my dad Tony I wish he loved me), captures a dismal interior with graffiti scribbled on the walls. Dirt and a makeshift interior echo the sentiment in the words captured at the center of the photograph, “I love my dad Tony I wish he loved me.”  The message evokes a stark sense of daydreaming intermingled with longing and emptiness.

In contrast, Rebecca Norris Webb’s, Badlands, offers a pleasing reminder of the daydreaming that can be found in road-tripping, cruising or simply listening to a radio in a car. Her photograph captures a vast, perhaps Western landscape in a similar color palette to Walters’ work. However, a car window with a slight tint fills half of the image frame, offering two views of the same thing.

Alec Soth, 2007_10z10006b (I love my dad Tony I wish he loved me)

For viewers interested in discussing the ideas behind some of the artists work, AC Institute is hosting a series of talks throughout the exhibitions run. Intimate Immensity and Other Daydreams is on view at the AC Institute through January 5th, 2019.