Reception: April 19th, 5-8pm

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TO WANT FOR NOTHING

1.

One week it was alligators in frozen ponds. Their jaws rose out of the ice like Chinese peaks. The creatures looked both dead and in pain, but scientists called them “survival machines” and insisted they were asleep.

The week before it was a large disc of ice revolving at the confluence of two small rivers in Maine. It’s not as if she went looking for them. But every week some new picture got stuck at the front of her mind. The disc had looked exactly like the moon. Was it fair to say exactly? She knew she often exaggerated for effect. The river was black and the moon revolved on it for days.

It was like she was disappearing; clearly she wanted for nothing.

At work her boss made lunch for the crew. He poached a silver fish. Then he made a salad of chanterelles and figs. It was an incredibly pretentious salad. She almost refused to eat it. It might have been the most pretentious salad he’d ever made, though once he’d served a salad of paper vegetables and fruit, a version of which was later delivered at a conference in Berlin.

They labor under five bright lights. At lunchtime he rings a bell.

Sometimes, from the corner of an eye, she’ll catch sight of a pair of legs hovering in mid-air. The legs are horizontal to the floor. It’s got to be some combination of chemicals and light. Whenever she dreams of flying it’s happening in the bathroom down the hall, kicking off the wall like practicing her strokes. Then if she tilts her head she sees the legs are right side up—shapely legs in stockings and leather heels.

On the train home there are several coins in a puddle of something spilled.

Two people in heavy coats sit cradling a teacup.

Here is the sixth mantra: “You are partly right.”

Does she live alone? You are partly right.

Will the man on the sidewalk say her dress looks like a curtain?

Tonight she eats a nectarine imported from Peru.

Across the street is an empty space where a building used to be, and on the floor beside her is another, smaller space.

She reaches through a frame to snap off the yellow light.

2.

In response to a question, she says: “In the novel I’m reading, the female narrator is also reading a book. No, let me back up—I couldn’t sleep. I got up to pee, I checked the mousetraps, then I climbed back into bed and turned on the yellow lamp. A picture of a plant had held my place. So I’m reading when outside a bird starts to sing. But it’s pitch black, it’s the middle of the night. Then I get to a sentence about how the narrator can’t sleep. She turns on her bedside lamp and starts to read a book. There we are, both awake and reading, and more than any other time I can remember, it’s like I’m spying or I’m there. Like something has fallen through. The scene in the book is no longer a scene in a book. It’s in my hands—like one of those boxes by Joseph Cornell. It’s night and I’m a woman holding a book, and inside my book it’s night and there’s a woman holding a book. Perhaps somewhere someone is reading a book and I am the woman in it? At just that moment the bird shuts up, while, inside the book, the narrator starts to quote from the book in her hands, just fragments of lines that speak to her—‘violence, yes, but the acceptable face of violence, the kind of banal cruelty enacted within the family’ and ‘the hum of ordinary life’ and ‘the story of a woman who has lost something important but does not know what’—and that’s when I realize that I have read this book. Not a feeling. I have actually read the book that the woman in my book is reading. But it’s not a classic. It’s somewhat obscure. It’s also about a woman, one who tells her story through the story of another woman. That other woman is a forgotten actress, a filmmaker. So it’s night and I’m holding a book, and inside my book it’s night and there’s a woman holding a book, and inside her book, which I have read, there’s a woman watching a film about another woman created by this forgotten actress. And there’s this intimacy, intensely so. But what am I sharing and with whom? Is it with the book in my hands, or with anyone else who might be up and reading these same pages? Is it with the narrator, or the author of one or both of the books? Then it occurs to me that the intimacy is in those several quoted lines. That’s what we all share. So I read the lines again, and then, satisfied, I move on to finish the scene. The narrator’s boy comes into the room. He asks her what she’s reading. She and the child talk, and that’s when it’s revealed that the narrator is reading the other book in its original language, French, whereas all this time I’ve been reading everything in English. For some reason, I’m shocked. I really can’t explain. All the intimacy drains away. Or not drains away—as if it was never there.

“When I was little I used to take a blade and cut the faces off models in my mother’s magazines. In the scene I was looking at, this book the narrator was reading, the one I thought I knew, was gone. In her hands was a blank white space in the shape of a book I’d read. But it was also, for a moment, like I’d been cut away—just a white shape on the sheets where I and my material needs had been.”

 

—Danielle Dutton, 2019

Elizabeth Atterbury

Elizabeth Atterbury (born 1982, West Palm Beach, FL) lives and works in Portland, Maine. Recent solo and group shows include Kate Werble Gallery, New York; The Portland Museum of Art, Portland; Mrs., Queens; The Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville; kijidome, Boston; Document, Chicago; Western Exhibitions, Chicago; The Luminary, St Louis; Et al. Etc., San Francisco; Pulaski Park Field House, Chicago; Able Baker Contemporary, Portland; Ida Schmid, Brooklyn; TSA, Brooklyn; Bodega, Philadelphia/New York; KANSAS, New York; and The ICA at Maine College of Art, Portland, among others. In the Middle, An Oasis, a monograph of her work, was published by Bodega Press in 2013. She received her BA from Hampshire College and her MFA from MassArt.

Atterbury’s studio practice is fluid, fluctuating between picture making and object making. Fascinated with the autonomy of the artifact – objects disassociated from their original function and context – Atterbury’s practice considers the distinction or lack thereof between artifact, prop, model and sculpture.  Drawn to materials such as paper and sand, Atterbury constructs ephemeral tableaux specifically for the purpose of transfiguring and recording them. Both her photographs and sculpture build upon a continued interest in display and its visual structures, along with a more recent interest in language, ritual, and abstraction.

Installation view, Night Comes In, 2018, Mrs., New York, Clockwise from the floor: Arrangement 1 (Discoveries), 2018, Mixed media, Dimensions variable; Beads III, 2018, Peach pits, 61.5 x 1 x 1 inches; River Poem, 2018, Mortar, plywood, glue, 23 x 19 x 1 inches

Em Oh Em, 2017, Beach Sand, basswood 8.5 x 3.5 x 2.25 inches (each)

Dog, 2018, Pine, 16 x 3.125 x 3.75 inches

Urn, 2018, Basswood, ash, 7 x 7 x 3.625 inches

Installation view, Night Comes In, 2018, Mrs., New York, Left: Bronze Chop (Large), 2018, Bronze, 21.75 x 3.375 x 3.25 inches Right: Urn, 2018, Basswood, ash, 7 x 7 x 3.625 inches

Elizabeth Atterbury, 26 Waves, 2018, Mortar, plywood and glue, 22 3/4 x 19 x 1 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Alone at night, 2018, Mortar, plywood and glue, 23 x 19 x 1 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Still life with bowl and mirror, 2018, Mortar, plywood and glue, 23 x 19 x 1 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Anonymous Old Poem, 2018, Mortar, plywood and glue, 23 x 19 x 1 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Another Poem, 2018, Mortar, plywood and glue, 23 x 19 x 1 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Calligraphy Frame, 2018, Maple, acrylic paint, glue, 60 x 40 x 1 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, The Well, Again (Pool), 2017, Beach sand, glue, MDF, 10 1/2 x 8 x 6 1/4 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, The Well, The Wall, 2016, Silver gelatin print, 20 x 24 in, Edition of 3

Elizabeth Atterbury, Beach Woks (Marks of a Tool II), 2016, Silver gelatin print, 20 x 24 in, Edition of 3

Elizabeth Atterbury, Still Life with Popcorn and Pits, 2016, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 in, Edition of 3

Elizabeth Atterbury, Logogram III, 2016, Silver gelatin print, 20 x 24 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Logogram II, 2016, Silver gelatin print, 20 x 24 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Logogram I, 2016, Silver gelatin print, 20 x 24 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Tomb), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 12 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (The Cut), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 13 1/2 x 28 1/2 x 1 1/4 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Sunset Hedge), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 1 1/2 x 16 x 2 1/2 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Small House), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 1 x 16 3/4 x 14 1/2 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Bull Shark), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 2 1/2 x 18 x 1 1/2 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Paper Cut / Hedge), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 10 x 9 x 1 3/4 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Noguchi's Intetra, Mist Fountain), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 11 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Lawn), 2016, Enamel paint, steel 9 x 9 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Big House), 2016, Enamel paint, steel, 16 x 18 x 6 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sunny Side, FL (Palms), 2015, Enamel paint, steel, 17 1/2 x 11 x 16 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Relief (China White), 2015, Plywood and paint, 33 x 48 x 1 3/4 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Moonlight on the river, 2014, Chromogenic print, 14 x 11 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Slow Song, 2014, Chromogenic print, 14 x 11 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Marks of a tool, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Rake, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 24 x 20 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Ghost Tracks, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 24 x 20 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Black Beach, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 13 1/2 x 11 1/2 in, Edition of 3

Elizabeth Atterbury, Bones, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 in, Edition of 3

Elizabeth Atterburym Glyphs II, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Glyphs, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Site, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Sculpture Park, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Bricks, 2013 Chromogenic print, 13 1/2 x 11 1/2 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Harry, Henri, Sal, 2013, Chromogenic print, 14 x 11 in

Elizabeth Atterbury, Blue Runner Night, 2014, Chromogenic print, 13 1/2 x 11 1/2 in, Editon of 3

Chapter NY is pleased to announce שכינה (Shekinah), Erin Jane Nelson’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will present her most recent series of fabric-wrapped panel works and ceramic vessels.

Nelson’s practice is grounded in photography sourced from her personal archive of found and original images. She works serially, with each project delving into new conceptual frameworks as far ranging as the cultural anxiety around climate change, the sentience of octopuses, and the science fiction of our present moment. Her photographic elements merge onto unexpected support structures, their multiple references engaging the nuanced anxiety, conflict, and humor of the present and immediate future.

For this exhibition, Nelson embraces her Southern Jewish heritage as subject matter. The title of the exhibition, Shekinah, a word from rabbinical literature that means the feminine attributes of God, a sense of place in the world, a dwelling, has been Nelson’s framework for spiritual seeking. Based on research and photographs made while studying Judaism over the last year, she incorporates Jewish symbolism and archival photographs into this new work alongside her ongoing photographic practice documenting the environmental collapse of her home region.

Along with ceramics, found textiles and collaged photographs typical of earlier bodies of work, Nelson uses natural dying techniques that impregnate her works with the colors and ghosts of plants and insects. Her seeping and decaying forms, mixed with personally relevant subject matter, are inspired by poet Joyelle McSweeney’s concept of the necropastoral, a political-aesthetic space in which human depredations converge with nature’s decay. Coupled with an idealism of religion’s ability to heal and give guidance for mourning, Nelson leaves room for moments of respite and purpose within a fraught world.

Raised in the American South, Erin Jane Nelson lives and works in Atlanta, GA. In 2011 she received her BFA from The Cooper Union. Recent solo exhibitions include: Her Deepness, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA; Psychopompopolis, Document Gallery, Chicago; and Dylan, Hester, New York. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at La Galerie, centre d’art contemporain, Noisy-le-Sec, France; Deli Gallery, Brooklyn; Van Doren Waxter, New York; Capital Gallery, San Francisco; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her work is currently included in Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019 at the Whitney, which has recently acquired the artist’s work. Nelson will also be featured in an upcoming exhibition at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

EJN S Well 1 (2) website

Well 1, 2019
Found figurines, photographs, and resin on glazed stoneware
15 × 13 × 13 inches (38.10 × 33.02 × 33.02 cm)

Owner
Aron Gent
aron@documentspace.com
Director
Sibylle Friche
sibylle@documentspace.com
Gallery and Print Studio Associate
Cody Schlabaugh
info@documentspace.com

Gallery hours:
Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm

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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 50 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2012 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists.Since 2016, DOCUMENT started exhibiting historical artists and has continued to anchor its program in a conversation between emerging voices and established figures. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. The production studio allows some of the gallery artists to collaborate with DOCUMENT in both their exhibitions and their daily artistic practice by being in constant conversation about the realization and processes in their work.
At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.