September-12-2010 – September-17-2010
Hendershot Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Digression, a group show featuring works by artists Chitra Ganesh, Liz Magic Laser, Simone Leigh, Divya Mehra, Justine Reyes, Kenya (Robinson), and Mary A. Valverde. Digression marks the inaugural show at Hendershot Galleryâ€™s new location on the Lower East Side at 195 Chrystie Street. The exhibition will be open to the public from September 12 to October 17, 2010, with an opening reception on September 12 from 6-9pm.
In everyday speech, digression is often something we apologize for, as it is construed as a problematic accident, a divergence from the main point that takes away meaning and dilutes the concentrated â€˜essenceâ€™ of a lecture, a sermon, an interview, a musical theme, or a work of visual art. However, in literature and formal public oration, digression is traditionally defined as an intentional change of subject, an anecdote, for example, that is marked by its exceptionality in the context of a larger, more linear narrative. As linguist Sandra Schor wrote in her essay â€œReclaiming Digression,â€ digression is â€œsomething we encounter along a formally composed, carefully networked route of discourse [that] takes hold of our attention, attracting us not by how adroitly it contributes to the development of the argument, for it is rarely an element of argumentation, but by how powerfully it arrests us in its own form, its own point, its own argument within an argument. Imagination is evident when we devilishly wander off to enjoy an element for its own sake and not for its immediate service to the larger work.â€ Just as a map does not always bring us to the most exciting place, digression can thrust us into a space of the unknown, the unfamiliar, a place that is unexpected and perhaps even a bit frightening simply because it is alien. Within digression lie the hidden stories, those that only come to light by an act of moving away from â€˜the subject at handâ€™ â€” whether that is a conversation topic that one wishes to avoid or the entire accepted canon of literature or fine art.
In post-modern fiction, authors use digression as a way of distancing the reader from the fiction and creating a greater sense of play. In the same way, the artists in this show each use digression in their work as a means of preventing the traditional linear functioning of fictionâ€™s illusions and as textual and literary modes of approach to cultural and feminine analysis. The exhibition Digression at Hendershot Gallery takes its title from an interview with artist Kara Walker in which she says â€œIâ€™m sorry. I just digress. Thatâ€™s all I do.â€ The artists in this show access the hidden stories of their cultures and their identities through digression, pulling their viewers away from the fiction inherent in social norms and enabling us to interact, even play, without the proverbial map. We follow their alternative paths away from the general and end up somewhere we never expected to be: surprised, destabilized. Schor makes the point that â€œgeneralizing is an act of aggression. In fact, the connection between digression and aggression is often more than incidental; every digression violates the readerâ€™sâ€ â€“or, in this case, the viewerâ€™sâ€”â€œhabit and intent, at the same time that it fulfills the possibility of a rendezvous with the devil.â€ We invite the viewers of Digression to be flexible, imaginative â€˜readersâ€™ of the show, to take pleasure in the danger and risk of â€œlimitless aside,â€ to â€œarrest and apprehend ideas hitherto unconnectable, [to act] out of an unconscious indiscretion that is a kind of exhilarating free fall in an otherwise determined universe.â€ Digressers are like dreamers, creating imaginative acts without censors. Here, in the realm of digression, anything is possible.