On What Remains, a solo exhibition by Gina Malek
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 14, 6-8pm
On view: 12/14 - 1/13
“On the basis of some information and a little bit of guess-work you journey to a site to see what remains were left behind and to reconstruct the world that these remains imply. What makes it fiction is the nature of the imaginative act: my reliance on the image – on the remains – in addition to recollection, to yield up a kind of truth. By ‘image’ of course, I don’t mean ‘symbol’; I simply mean ‘picture’ and the feelings that accompany the picture.” - Toni Morrison
E.TAY Gallery is pleased to present On What Remains, a solo exhibition by Gina Malek. Each painting is a passage to an encounter Malek has had with a loved one. Materials are collected from interactions through printmaking, drawing, and writing, as well as video and audio recordings. In her studio, she attempts to extend the encounter. To chase down a moment, freeze it, and then set it on repeat.
Camouflaged bodies embedded in paint are lured out using a multitude of mark-making languages. Sometimes the mark becomes the subject itself, other times it searches for contours of a hand or chin. Figures slowly emerge and bob on the surface of their surroundings. Malek maneuvers the space through the refusal and affirmation of forms that teeter between abstraction and representation. Using color and gesture, she seeks to underline significant moments and then fold them back into the painting.
In the painting “Truth In Timbre”, Malek attempts to tease out the truths of a Farsi language lesson. Several facts appear: the table and textbook, the poised presence of Malihe, Gina’s tutor, whose handwriting covers the surface. The focus of the exchange is not on language. In fact, the artist understood very little of what was said. Attention is paid to finding the attitude, speed and feelings of the encounter. “We do not, cannot, know the meanings of all their words...So we watch their faces, their hands, their feet, and listen for truth in timbre. - Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Malek meddles with memories. The works approach ideas of identity and the impermanence of memory. What really happened during these interactions is not clear. She intends for her paintings to be unsettled objects that have not made up their minds. Will they hold together or insist on falling apart?