Alex Batkin, Ashley Teamer, Brian Oakes, Jiwoong, Kyle Clairmont Jacques, Stephen Buscemi

September 6th October 15th, 2023

Press ReleaseWorks List

Blade Study is pleased to announce EPIPHANY, a group exhibition focused on the intuitive experience of realization. The internal shift of an epiphany is not linear or universal, it can take the form of a variety of emotional reactions. It is a jolting experience that can evoke terror, or relief, it can be ecstatic, or soothing. Beyond the precise moment of its arrival, an epiphany redirects one’s lifepath and personal philosophy. Works by artists Alex Batkin, Ashley Teamer, Brian Oakes, jiwoong, Kyle Clairmont Jacques, and Stephen Buscemi are brought together to explore this unique emotional state in its various forms.

Acupuncturist Alex Batkin’s expansive artistic practice is informed by ongoing research into ancient health practices and sexual technologies. His four piece sculptural project, Ersatz Phallus Artifacts I-IV, stems from his interest in the depiction of pubic hair in various Greek funerary statues from the 6th century BC, several of which appear to be wearing cock rings. Although this is not directly acknowledged by art historical and literary references, the cock rings’ obvious visual presence became the basis of Batkin’s historically-grounded speculative artistic project, as it occurred to him that kink stretches back to our earliest days as humans. Ersatz Phallus Artifacts I-IV gives emphasis to Batkin’s realization that the maintenance and pleasure of the human body are recreations of a collective, queer past.

Painter and installation artist, Ashley Teamer is inspired by the batture, the fluctuating space of clay and sand between the low-tide of the Mississippi River and the levee. In her words, “The Batture symbolizes the plasticity of our environment, the relationship between humans and nature, and reveals strategies for living with nature in the future.” You Are Now Tuned In… and Bonnet Carré Spillway Vignette speak to the ecological, political conditions of NOLA as historic moments that inform Teamer’s personhood. Both artworks explore how human interventions to make the environment more habitable is fraught with contrasting morals.

Brian Oakes’ kinetic chandelier, Vessel 2, gossips, breathes, and twitches. The sculpture’s projected audio mimics its aural surroundings at a 15 second delay. This is not to say it shares everything it hears. The artwork is selective, picking up some sounds at a range of distances while ignoring others. The echos produced from its feathered tendrils generate a special kind of disorienting attention, making it seem as though Oakes’ work is itself at the fraught moment before a breakthrough.

jiwoong’s site specific installation of Ceramic Light Vessels are the result of years of nightly walks taken by the artist. This practice began as part of the artist’s mandatory military service, followed him through the years of his early adulthood, ultimately informing the artist’s graduate thesis work at Hunter MFA. The sculpture is created by placing silver gelatin print on ceramic rock formations, a process invented by jiwoong. This sprawling work examines the site of epiphany - how the mundane, circulation of movement and place can become generative.

In a moment of personal change, artist and curator Kyle Clairmont Jacques began to fixate on kites. Kites are a meditative reprieve for Jacques, he was drawn to the duality of their “purpose”, their ability to catch the wind transforming an unseen element visible. His sculptural wall work, Flare (2023), is the result of a two year investigation into this original subject, with emphasis on the classic Flare model kite. Rendered in acrylic paint on poly silk over galvanized steel on panel, the poly silk is then dipped in a diluted adhesive that hardens material and allows for translucency.This final object stands in for the process oriented artistic practice Jacques developed in the wake of his own epiphany.

Stephen Buscemi’s airbrushed acrylic paintings depict an air of uncertainty. In his works, Buscemi presents a version of epiphany as an unsettling experience and evolving self. The flanking works of the triptych focus on hazy images of hands reaching through darkness towards an inconclusive future. In the center work, pleading eyes peek through pitch black. Critical to the conceit of the show, Buscemi’s paintings image the grave uncertainty that can accompany a revelation.