“Growth imagines its opposite is decay. As if to grow is to stay alive, and other delusions taught by capitalism. In reality, most of our lives are spent shrink- ing, eroding into bits and decaying. What if we celebrated that decay and championed the infinitesimal?” – Samantha Hunt, The Unwritten Book: An Investigation
The processes of art making are in many ways similar to the processes necessary to sustain our human condition – to sustain the Earth on which we are necessarily grounded. Like the very beginnings of life and death, the process of making, of creating, is imperceptible to the viewer, who only perceives the symbolic birth of an artwork at the time of its exhibition. The labor of art making, the real naissance of creation, begins far earlier. Where exactly does process begin and end? Is death a singular, isolated occurrence? Are creation and death as paradoxical as we perceive them to be?
Never-ending: Art Making as Process explores these questions without resolving to answer them neatly. Rather, the answers lay in the materials, the experiences, and the psyches of every artist and every view- er. Ryann Coleman and Natalia Palacino are two young artists devoted to process rather than medium.
Ryann Coleman describes her creative process as “cathartic and highly personal.” Drawn to the inner workings of the psyche through Freud’s understanding of the ego and the id, one could interpret her sensorial creations as a crossroads between the artist’s conscious and subconscious mind. If this is true, then the playful masculine figure that persists through many of her works might also be seen as a guardian of this intersection. Favoring popular materials like glass, neon, and vintage surf magazines as her primary mediums, Coleman’s affinity for 90s skate culture, MTV, and Nick at Night, come alive in her larger than life sculptures and installations.
Natalia Palacino’s practice exists on the opposite end of the spectrum. Her practice is deeply rooted in reflection.
There are many layers beyond the self in which Palacino situates her artworks – in nature, language, and systems far beyond individual control. Working in performance, video, painting, textile, and installation, she investigates the truths of the world we collectively navigate, often hidden beneath layers of colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist programming. Drawing on her experiences navigating life in her native Colombia, and in Manhattan, Palacino thinks through body politics, intergenerational grief, and decay.
Coleman and Palacino’s diverse multi- media practices challenge them to explore feeling and expression through materiality and processes of making. Despite their visual dissonances, together the artists’ works encourage viewers to think beyond the surface and toward the generative connectivity of process as a space of world making, where the processes of birth and death inevitably intertwine.