HOW TO BUILD A MONSTER

For an interactive installation of sculpture and drawing by Ryan Scails, materials cheap, raw and recognizable, like concrete, fabric, buckets and wood, are assembled and ask to be activated. As artist, property owner and workingman, Scails constructs a private/public space intended for reflection on the human relationship to physical labor and wear. By applying hardware, he flirts with the concept of utility and interrupts our notions of design and perfection.

The show’s title is drawn from a chapter in “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Dubois focused on the importance of the church as a social center. Scails inserts the term ‘(Gardens)’ to represent what he calls, “A place to consider how we treat the objects we've created to treat ourselves.”

There are vestiges of Rachel Whiteread’s cast sculptures, Diane Simpson’s garment structures or even Gordon Matta-Clark’s building carvings. Objects here are anthropomorphized, rugged, minimal and carefully suspended between form and function. There is as much engineering as there is storytelling, and as much urge to preserve as there is to reveal residue.

A series of three sinks, inspired by blues musician Robert Johnson, dual athlete Bo Jackson and folk hero John Henry, mythical role models for the artist, act as the backbone in this body of work. Planted on the ground, the sinks are made of buckets tightly hugged by chunks of cement and rope and filled with water that is changed periodically by Scails. The invitation to rinse one’s hands suggests a ritualistic, baptismal act, the ability to ‘rinse away time.’ The external support reminds us of earth, ruin and that these forms were extracted from something larger.

Supplemental pieces include semi-familiar relics like a broom bound to a dustpan, a glove with rivets, a sardine can, a sack of fish oil capsules, a pillow, an assortment of malleable paintings made of folded fabric with the illusion of purpose, and a schematic drawing plan for the sinks. The forms in this space are containers reflective of process and effort, to be tended and considered.

– Curator, Natasha Otrakji

No Home Gallery is a nomadic art space that organizes educational and interactive experiences, exhibitions and happenings in various locations in New York City created collaboratively by unique teams of artists, curators and host.

Chinatown Soup