(Daguerrotype by Borja Guillot, one of the exhibiting artists in "The Dark Room.")
A few months ago, we interviewed Christopher Tandy about his solo show, No Devil Lived On at Glass Rice, a small dark art gallery located in San Francisco. Tonight, they open their next exhibit, "The Dark Room," based on the prose of Edgar Allen Poe.
The space has metamorphosed for the exhibit. Characteristically a bright, white room brimming with natural light, the walls have been painted a dark red crimson. The show is a multi-sensory experience - inviting viewers to explore the room of their own volition including opening drawers to discover personal affects in addition to looking at the mix of daguerrotypes, sculptures, drawings, painted photographs and mylar portraits, inspired by each artist's own inner darkness. We were honored to sit down with the curator, Cecilia about the upcoming show, and dive deeper into what the Dark Room means to Glass Rice.
(Drawing by Maria-Nicole Ikonomou.)
Tell us a little bit about the upcoming show, The Dark Room.
After Christopher Tandy's solo exhibition No Devil Lived On, the trajectory of our program changed a bit. The artists I wanted to work with didn't alter, but I knew I needed to create an experience like No Devil Lived On for every single one of our future shows to come.
We had always experimented with our space, but never had we created a fully immersive experience where our audience was encouraged to literally step into a world that evoked not only their sense of sight, but they were able to form memories based off of being a part of a curated world that encouraged them to explore the show further with touch, sound, and smell. So, with The Dark Room, we knew we had to take it one step further.
(Monotype by Grady Gordon)
We decided to create a forgotten room with old furniture from a past life paired with what this person or thing would've hung on its walls. Some of the major furniture pieces we've included are a massive vintage desk at least 60 years old with a swing out mechanism meant for a typewriter, a 1950's RCA Viator television set, and a degraded mercury mirror from the 1920's. We painted the walls oxblood red, blacked out our large window in the back, and turned our gallery into a room filled with familiar yet strange belongings perhaps from another dimension, era, or world. Every time our audience steps into our space, we want them to continually be excited about what our next immersive experience will offer them. The Dark Room is the culmination of this new direction, as well as an homage to dark art that might not be palatable for most, but we seem crave.
(Drawing by Sai Li)
How did you select the artists for this show?
Instagram has been such a powerful tool for me to find new artists to work with. For artists, it's very much like a portfolio you can instantly upload. With a hashtag or two, I'm able to fall into a rabbit hole of discovering the work of new artists. Through Instagram, we found the Daguerrotypes of monstrous hybrid creatures created by Borja Guillot, the drawings of fantastical dark waters filled with delicate female torsos and fish by Maria-Nicole Ikonomou, the disjointed red clay sculptures of abstracted bones by Scott Jennings, and the emotionally evocative drawings by Sai Li.
(Sculpture by Scott Jennings)
We had been following their work and it made sense to bring them together for a dark show. When we began thinking of how to create this world, I instantly knew we had to bring back Christopher Tandy. He had his first solo exhibition with us back in June so a lot of the natural material from that show stuck around the gallery through the summer, inspiring us to bring back parts of his shadow world once again.
Carson Lancaster and I had worked together in a group show back when Glass Rice first opened. When it came to familiarizing the room with photography - precious, yet mysterious moments caught on camera - it seemed natural to bring Carson's somber and sharp eye for textures and layers to the show.
(Monotype by Grady Gordon)
And finally, I had seen Grady Gordon's work in a group show earlier this year and had been wanting to work with him since that experience. Every single one of his monotype prints sheds such a divine light on a world cast in darkness - I wanted our audience to see that badass beauty.
(Daguerrotype by Borja Guillot)
Why Poe? How is this different than past inspirations for this installation?
Edgar Allen Poe is the literary king of macabre writing! I had been collecting quotes and musings from other writers, but this snippet from The Raven felt right when it came to tying the artists together. Each one of the artists in this show absolutely dares to contemplate darkness... seeking it out, welcoming it and letting it sit within, rather than shying away. Poe does the same.
For more information, click here for the Glass Rice website
You can also connect with Glass Rice through Instagram
680 8th Street Suite 240 B
San Francisco, CA, 94103