For the December and January Art Crawls, WAG presents “Dark Matter: Recent Work by Huy Nguyen and Abbey Skojec.”
Nguyen is a 22-year-old artist currently living in Nashville. Originally from Tuy Hoa, Vietnam, he is a senior in the photography department at Watkins. His work follows the aesthetic of Provoke, a short-lived Japanese magazine that featured photographers who rejected conventional photography. “Their photos were grainy, blurry, out of focus, and overexposed; they featured odd compositions, and their subjects are often unrecognizable,” says the artist. “They aspired to inspire revolutionary change in Japanese politics during the 1960s and 70s, and their photographs became metaphors for a rejection of the existing world and a novel mode of photographic expression.” Taking their work as a point of departure, Nguyen’s images are about a sense of tension, uncertainty, and the absurdity of everyday life. They feature obscure moments, insignificant places, and random passersby. Rather than focusing on narrative or situational context, these images often seem like fragments of stories or events. “The photographs are all printed on newsprint. They represent the present, but they also belong in the past. On this delicate, gritty, and non-archival paper, they suggest that everything has an expiration date, and like newspaper, everything deteriorates. I hope this body of work speaks to an uncertain present and challenges viewers to look differently at the world unfolding around us today.”
The image pictured above is part of this body of work and Nguyen’s show.
Skojec is a 23-year-old artist, also currently residing in Nashville. A senior in the fine art department, she generally works with large-scale sculpture but also with performance, video, and printmaking. “My work deals with themes of insects, death, religion, the uncanny, storytelling, and ritual,” says the artist. “The sculptures in this show feature charred black forms that create an uncanny space. The sculptures’ organic shapes are constructed by abstracting and morphing photos of insects until they are unrecognizable yet familiar. Using the human scale of minimalist sculpture, I want to conjure uncertainty and discomfort in anyone who stands before them.” Each sculpture in the show, one of which is pictured below, is part of a larger mythological narrative of creation, suggesting life in transition and representing vessels for the metamorphosis of people into a new life.
The Art Crawls for December and January fall on the 7th and 4th, respectively.