Dear Bubble Tea, curated by Julie Fishkin was a multi-media group exhibition that explores the duality of the tactile object that captivates our senses only to repel us when we approach to see its true composition, much in the way bubble tea* can. The artists in the exhibition were not examining the tactile quality of their medium but rather the effect that tactility has on our senses. These artists presented a tenuous world replete with fragile detail, in a way, just like our own, but this world offers a strange serenity that is both overwhelming in its image bombardment yet welcoming in its peaceful beauty. The works show us how the insatiable urge to gratify our senses leads to the excessive fulfillment of these desires.
We are at once attracted physically and repulsed all throughout our senses, forcing one to counteract the other. Our ravenous need to touch, taste, smell and feel becomes powerful, pervasive, repetitive and eventually dull, repulsive, insipid and quite simply, misleading. Our senses are stimulated, but our vision betrays us.
Artists included were: Timothy Blum, M. Carter, Max Krance, Jen Kim, Andrea Loefke, Matt Lucas, Vadis Turner, Julie Peppito, and Athena Waligore.
Timothy Blum makes realistic molds of household items filled with organic matter, disrupting our expectations, while M. Carter replicates his teenage idol from memory, only to realize that in reality, this image is hardly beautiful; Jen Kim creates a playful world of child-like fantasy that quickly becomes a nightmare of overwhelming colors and confusing contortions. Max Krance creates canvases of pure pleasure, akin to a luscious bowl of ice cream that are, in fact, nothing but toxic paint.
Andrea Loefke overwhelms our sensibilities with images we think we know or recognize only to destroy our expectations. In a similar vein, Vadis Turner turns garbage into delectable cookies and chocolates, almost good enough to eat, while Athena Waligore takes partially eaten pears and renders them uneatable through stitches and nail polish, capturing their last stages before they rot and disappear. Matt Lucas presents a veritable garden of fake foliage whose life-like appearance is nothing more than a deceitful photographic replica, while Julie Peppito entices us with her pleasing objects that shine and amaze but are actually merely a collected mass of detritus.
We hope you joined us in the examination of how our desire to partake in sensual pleasures can be excessive and visually destabilizing.
Julie Fishkin is an independent curator and writer who has created various exhibitions in conjunction with the independent curatorial collective she began with Matt Lucas called Metro Color Collision (MetroColorCollision.com).
*Bubble tea: The drink is usually a mix of tea, milk, sugar, and giant black tapioca balls, often called “bubbles.”