curated by Nikita Vishnevskiy


at Knockdown Center


Unseen Hand is a group exhibition that brings together fifteen artists who employ various mediums and processes to question technology and expand upon its conventional definition.

The artists exhibited assert their practice as an encounter with a technological event, whether by disrupting the technical order, poetizing methods of industrial production, or inciting sensuality via devices typically associated with disconnection. The exhibition warns us of the danger in comprehending technology merely through scientific merits.

We often encounter an abstraction when dealing with everyday objects whose digital nature is neatly tucked inside of smooth forms. These forms deceive us through allusion to a natural or organic appearance. With a quick gesture we can control them, foregoing the need to comprehend any mechanisms involved. In these instances, we are left in the position of a spectator. We lose agency.

To recover agency, we can look to the analogy of a gloved prosthetic hand which can no longer be recognized as a prosthesis. The operator is detached and the observer misperceives the activity of the hand as sensuous. The goal of the exhibition is to remove the glove, by way of artwork, in order to encounter the prosthesis fully.

Kinetic sculpture Rope Trick (2015) by Tom Butter is triggered by a foot pedal that the viewer must press in order to set the sculpture into motion. The wiring system is exposed so the viewer is aware that the triggered pedal sends a current, turning on several visible motors that move a long piece of rope from side to side. This slow, somewhat awkward, undulation becomes a physical representation of that unseen electric current, ultimately humanizing the mechanism.

Lars van Dooren’s artwork messenger (2017) continues his interest in sculpture as a self limiting workspace that contributes to its own development as well as its offspring. The altar-like object includes a smoke chamber where the used scraps of drawings and errant studio fragments are burned in ceramic vessels — their translation imprinted on smoke-infused glass. Van Dooren’s past installation elements are offered up for continual destruction and renewal, a process where sculptural longevity is linked to the fleeting and ephemeral.

Juliette Dumas’ Ice Painting (2015) is a cast ice mass mounted to the gallery wall. As the sculpture melts, it slowly disappears making visible the forces in its environment. The speed of melting is effected by the room temperature which depends on the structure of the walls, insulation, and nearby sources of heat. Symbolically, the work is a reminder of the responsibility we have for our environment.

Todd Fink is a musical composer and lyricist. He is a lead vocalist in The Faint and co-founder of the band CLOSENESS. He takes an active role in designing visuals and album art for both bands. Fink’s lyrics and collages are forewarning of the paranoia and anxiety caused by accelerated technological progressions.

In her site-specific installation Unclosing (2017), Landon Graves re-creates and challenges the governing orders of the domestic interior. Among the familiar regimented decor, inspired by her childhood home, the viewer may encounter dream-like and “impossible” scenarios, induced by the imaginative and the phantasmic.

Rachel Harrison’s sculpture Magic Chef (2017) doesn’t exist merely as an art object, but rather it mimics the more tangible situations which could arise at a place of consumption, labor, or production. The cognition of the work is constantly shifting between the understanding of its conceptual framework, its recognizable displacement, and the value of gestures involved in its creation.

To make Drying Flowers with Microwaves (2010), Corin Hewitt built a makeshift laboratory in a gallery space. Working behind the confinement of a ten-foot wall, he preserved plants and flowers using microwaves, water, and silica sand. He then used the dried flora to construct meticulous still-life arrangements. Viewers could intentionally catch glimpses of the artist photographing the still-lifes in three rectangular mirrors positioned above the wall, creating a threefold relationship to photography in which the microwaves preserving plant life, the act of photographing still-life, and the controlled mirrored image coalesce into one durational performance process.

Object production and viscera are married by physics in the works of Ross Knight. His forms imply a carnal predisposition ingrained in our mechanisms and gadgets. Knight fabricates his near minimal sculptures by way of exploiting prototyping materials to create an arrested moment of technological concomitance.

In his photographic works Keys (black and white) (2010) and Real Good Steel and Wood (2010) Andres Laracuente performs a series of digital and tactile manipulations. First, images of consumer products such as cleaning wipes and keypads are captured using a flatbed scanner. Then the scans are re-photographed with hands painted with color saturated facial makeup. The hands reach toward the prints to emphasize our physical relationship to mass produced objects.

Jen Mazza refers to her painting as a machine to make meaning. In her series Open Letter Mazza’s hand is caught in a constant negotiation between depicting the natural floral subject and a mechanically reproduced background. In both instances the hand is a careful scribe, yet the nuance of her brush stroke reveals a complex and intimate relationship to the subject matter.

William McMillin’s piece, Migration Found Nesting in Nikon (2017) is a memorial, presented as a series of images extracted from the camera of the artist’s deceased father. The progressive decay among the images, caused by a failing sensor, serves as a poetic metaphor for the transient body.

Thomas Stevenson’s Part III of Invisibility Project (2017) is comprised of a helium-filled weather balloon floating in the middle of the gallery. The balloon contains electronics that disrupt the signals of cellular devices from local wi-fi networks. Consequently, the viewers will becompelled to engage with the exhibition, “freed” from the tyranny of constant connection and perpetual tracking.

In Alina Tenser’s video sculpture Kismet Tutorial (2016), table surfaces, hidden by a green screen, are discerned through observation of precise hand movements. With the aid of digital media the artist is able to communicate through the means of touch, subverting the sense of disconnection associated with the digital age.

Steven Thompson’s Death Plaid Records®, Ghost Album © 2017 is a multifaceted project. A pyramidal vinyl case made in the artist’s painstaking style houses a record called the Ghost Album. With musician and artist Jacob Bills, Thompson pressed an original score and subsequently the LP press plates –– exact physical inverses of the original –– were digitally reversed themselves, re-cut and re-pressed in vinyl. According to Thompson, playing the album is listening to inaudible air of the original score: any distortion, any alteration in sound, is evidence of the interaction with ghosts.

An obsessive friction inhabits dan Waller’s sculptures. Objects are assembled at micro scale and transformed from the inside out. Their forms are concealed in bed sheets and window grates — keepsakes of courtships and screens for sensual activity. Waller insists they must be rusted to be used, as if they’re authenticated by their past, sanctified by the absorbance of human energies and emotions.



dan Waller: sacred sex



curated by Nikita Vishnevskiy


at Honey Ramka


Once dan showed me a set of photographs from the early 80’s. In these pictures dan is a young man with long hair and a beard that he’s let grow several feet. A young woman is cutting his beard. dan speaks of this moment as a symbolic death of his life in Santa Cruz, where he had established himself as an expert intaglio printer, and a renewal of his life in New York City where he would live for the next thirty years dedicating his efforts to sculpture. 

The etchings presented here were printed near the time of dan’s departure from California in 1986. These prints are clairvoyant foretellers, blueprints for later sculptural works. Also on view are three sculptures: one executed in 1993 and two made between 2014 and 2016.

An obsessive friction inhabits dan’s sculptures. Objects are assembled at an intimate scale and transformed from the inside out. Their forms are concealed in bed sheets and window grates — keepsakes of courtships and screens for sensual activity. “They must be rusted to be used,” insists dan, as if they’re authenticated by their past, sanctified by the filtration and absorbance of human energies and emotions. 

Every stitch lures the eye toward the porthole. The inner space maintains a quiet serenity. Small fissures create a game of shadows in its murky interior. A frame marked with an emphasis (!) floats amidst the void, enclosing specks of light that pierce the sculpture from the rear.

Curious, I draw back from the interior and examine the back of the form. The verso is a psychological reveal. It unfolds like a flower — its stamen presenting minuscule stacked glyphs… good good. A syntactic stutter that stresses the difference through the hierarchy of position. Caught in negotiation with submission and domination, allowance and denial, dan Waller’s work remains an unbiased mediator to his process which I dare to call sacred. 

-Nikita Vishnevskiy, 2016




Syntax Lies


Todd Fink, Natasha Sharymova, dan Waller

curated by Nikita Vishnevskiy

at cloyingPARLOR


Understand, I don't care if I meet you
And you don't care if we meet
It's just conversation
We're not so compatible
But at least we know
And we don't care

Syntax lies
No difference in art and life
Just what we say
And the order the words go
It's time, we've needed an aggravist
One that wouldn't make us laugh
And has severed how we used to speak
Concepts of language around his waist
But more dimensionally versed
He has severed how we used to speak

Call it backwards
More slowly
They mistook it
For religion
But the truth unfolds
We de-vo\devolve (Syntax lies)

Without knowing
Same language = same story (No difference in art and life)
The new version (Just what we say)
Is confusing
Sharp tongue (And the order the words go)
Glass blood

Grammar its comedic
We're corrected
We need a
Stoplight division to the next calendar year

It's time, we've needed an aggravist
One that wouldn't make us laugh
And has severed how we used to speak
Concepts of language around his waist
But more dimensionally versed
We have severed how we used to speak

I understand it's just conversation
but it eliminates how i really feel


-"Syntax Lies" by The Faint from the 1998 debut album Media.

intended meaning: honestly, i may be guessing a little here. it's been many many years since i've even heard the song but let me see if i can help.

the song questions whether we should trust the words we say, the words others say, any words at all really. most of what we do and say has been programmed into us by the culture we come from. we react to the world in the way that we are most familiar with until we make the profound decision to rethink our habits. once, instead of suicide, buckminster fuller made the decision not to talk for years in order to rethink his automated responses to the world (i believe he also dedicated the rest of his life to solving the world’s problems that day).

words are limiting our actual experience. our language dictates how we think. grammar is a set of rules in place to help us make sense to each other. to help us communicate better. this produces many phrases that become clichés we use without even thinking about what we are saying.

the song wonders if the solution may someday come in the form of a "savior." someone to shake things up. maybe he's an outlaw, wearing holsters filled with a brand new set of empowering communication tools. it's a daydream that imagines a new level we might someday reach, one that could enrich our actual life experiences.

-Todd Fink, vocalist, composer, lyricist in The Faint.




Hippie Priest



Karen Boyer, Daniel Clay, Lars van Dooren, Ben Finer, Michel Gerard, Thomas Stevenson, Suzanne Stroebe, Marina Temkina, Steven Thompson, dan Waller, Nick van Woert, and Lauren Woods.

curated by Nikita Vishnevskiy


at Honey Ramka


                                                                                                          Hippie Priest.


Disturbance is here.  The rain soaked soil hinders the climb and distracts thought.  Nearly falling, she treads against the hill.  A strand of dark hair falls over her eyes.  She brushes it behind her ear and looks warily toward the trees.

She bends to the ground, sneaks between the trunks, and loses her way.  The snapping branches under her feet sound no different than those of another animal.  How those two touched by the window. Tangled thoughts dig nails into the sleeve of her jacket.  The forest makes noises of its own.

Once a glacier passed by here — shoving these boulders, unwilling to share the land.  The rocks lumber one on top of the other and move toward her.  A strange light shines on the pine tops, a projector’s light, not the sun.  The pines melt.  They drip down the rocks.  The shadows follow and evaporate in the stillness of the grove.  After stumbling hours and struggling over stones and slick moss — all but imperceptible was that moment when the soft ground gave way to rotten boards.

The dahlias are in bloom.  Along a thin, overgrown path stands a neglected home.  Although grey, its porch and rails are strong.  The roof droops like scales.  Everything spins before her.  The world is deformed.  A system of distorted mirrors tilt slow and persistent.  She grasps the rails for balance.  She runs up steps towards a red door, opens it and disappears.

Muddied light dulls the tarp covered walls.  Inside, rib-like beams support the roof.  A cloak on a hook hangs above a wicker basket, rubber boots inside.  A hazy lace from curtained windows fogs the scattered pews and gilded remnants of the makeshift altar.

The tarps flutter from the draft.  A blue corridor flashes as a chill sweeps and loops around the room.  Her shadow splits between the corridor panels.  She wavers into a room where the shadeless blue lamp burns.

A rusty hinge creaks open and tremors as it closes.  She flies past the hallway and out of the room.  Blind, she grabs at an empty frame of a nearby window.  With a rattle the window opens.  Climbing out into the daylight, she finds the forest path and slips back home.







Ivin Ballen, Shannon Carroll, Lars Van Dooren, Sarah Frances Kuhn, Michel Gerard, Rebecca Gilbert, Natalie Labriola, Lance Lankford, Julie Lohnes, William McMillin, David Shull, Thomas Stevenson, Marina Temkina, Nikita Vishnevskiy, Patrick Walsh and dan Waller.

curated by Nikita Vishnevskiy


at Invisible Dog Art Center


Artists in this exhibition were asked to directly or metaphorically respond to the idea of a hermaphrodite through their practice. The premise of the exhibit is to avoid polar categorization, consider natural totality, and to investigate the states that are in limbo. Throughout history artists have been fascinated with the hermaphrodite as a symbol.  The term is derived from the name of the Greek mythological god, Hermaphroditus, who acted as a deity of bisexuality and effeminacy. Metaphysical poets John Donne and Edmund Spencer celebrated the hermaphrodite as a concept of love – a union of two souls within one body.  Painter, Forrest Bess was inspired by the hermaphrodite and developed a philosophy linked to alchemy and the rituals of the Australian aborigines.  Bess attempted to perform surgery to transform himself into a hermaphrodite, which according to the legend would bring him immortality.  Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye Breyer based their art practice on the idea of a hermaphrodite.  The couple underwent a series of plastic surgeries to mold their bodies to the likeness of one another and to eventually become one entity.

The current sensitivity to the term “hermaphrodite” is evident with its banishment from the medical lexicon and replacement with a more adequate term: intersex. In biological terms, a true hermaphrodite has both male and female reproductive capabilities, and in humans the label refers to a body whose sex is not clearly defined. The recent scandal involving a professional runner Caster Semenya is evidence of the confusion associated with categorizing gender.  Semenya, a 20-year-old South African runner, won the gold in Women’s 800 Meters Run during the 2009 World Championship.  Following the victory the International Association of Athletics Federations became suspicious of Semenya’s personal record time and performed gender tests on the athlete.   IAAF disqualified Semenya from competition until 2010 when then nature of Semenya’s sex was established.  Gender testing has been performed on professional athletes since the late 60’s. Gender assignment of an intersex birth is a complicated task for the doctors and can lead to medically unnecessary cosmetic genital surgeries. A recent transition to the abbreviation DSD (disorder of sexual development) emphasizes intersexuality as a disability.  In the battle of gender politics the mission statement of the intersex activists is synchronous with the agenda of the women’s movement and the goals of the LGBT activists, however there is little correspondence between the relatively small intersex community and its allies.  Socially, a hermaphrodite is often ostracized, feared, and stigmatized.  Yet, in popular culture, a hermaphrodite is exoticised, and often become targets of sensational tabloid myths. (Ex. Jaime Lee Curtis, Lady Gaga).  The Intersex Society of North America boldly named their newsletter “Hermaphrodites With Attitude” and protested the discrimination that surrounded them using that slogan.




Glory Days



at HERE art center


Vishnevskiy wallows in vintage and archaic symbology in an attempt to fossilize the passing moment.

“Glory Days” is the title of the 1984 track by Bruce Springsteen and the 1998 release by the British band Pulp. The lyrics of both songs speak of the nostalgia involved in recognizing passing moments as wasted, yet celebrate our ability to reflect and find meaning in the mundanity of past situations. Despite the familiarity of the pastiche signs, a variation in viewpoints allows for each person to have a unique experience of the same event. Desire to remember is complicated by the inaccuracy of perception as we cling to artifacts of memory with a sacred predisposition. Glory Days is a sculpture and video installation that depicts my attempts to brace moments of existence through reenactments of ancient rituals and representations of disco symbology.