Although the synoptic premise of The Order of Things, on view at NurtureArt (through February 1), relates the works on display to notions of apocalyptic anxiety and the preparatory cognitive measures we might make of our surroundings in some End-tending meantime, viewers would do well to understand all of the same as more afterthought than introduction. For the simple title of the exhibition is more indicative: here is a certain arrangement of 'things,' however recognizable, and here is their statically uncertain 'order.' To regard the show in toto is thus to partake in a delightful game of piecing these forms all together. Curator Jamillah James has done a splendid job of making most of these sutures for us, but she leaves plenty of question marks to keep us engaged and curious.
How is it, for instance, that a backpack-sized mass of anthracite coal—part of Motus Librationus by Demetrius Oliver and Blanch Bruce—has become the ostensible subject of a spinning sort of partial topogram, and why might it be its own spectator? If pillar-chunk-like objects of a certain heft come to rest on mirrors, as in Allyson Vieira’s Torso series, might one say that their physicality, weighty or not, hangs in eternal balance? Is Leah Beeferman’s 12012280v1—here particularly alive in its chromatics and active fluorescence, i.e. in its varicolored units of reflective plexiglass—an aggrandized transistor that once channeled questionable energies, or perhaps a set of indecipherable tarot cards laid out for posterity? Does the glittery sand sitting prettily in Lisha Bai’s wall-leaning plexi-lith ever come to rest? Did Ethan Greenbaum’s Heap absorb some untold blast? If something grave has occurred, might the quaintly wooden elements in works by Elisha Lendvay and Joe Winter prove dendrochronologically telling?
Read into the works individually as well, of course, instead of collectively. Perhaps their eschatological references become thereby more apparent. Yet the show overall thrives on our interactive presence; indeed, given the surfeit of reflective surfaces, each visitor is considerably multiplied in their midst. In short, it seems we needn’t have been dashed out to have left these things behind. It seems we needed merely to leave them be—on their own, where they are—for some time. And better thusly, as visual treats lie in wait in their rediscovery.