Night Gallery is thrilled to announce Guts, an exhibition by Samara Golden. This is the artist’s third solo presentation with the gallery and the inaugural exhibition of Night Gallery North at 2050 Imperial Street.
Samara Golden is known for her immersive environments that transcend linear time and toggle between personal and collective spheres of experience. Her previous installations—which have been exhibited at MoMA PS1, MOCA Los Angeles, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others—have explored the layers of consciousness through three-dimensional constructions, wherein hierarchies of thought, emotions, and experiences are unified into a singular psychological architecture. In Guts, Golden moves away from narrative formation and into the realm of abstraction: rather than imposing an overarching logic, the artist attempts to let go of logic altogether and the fallacy of anything “making sense”—a necessary realization in our current circumstances.
Guts is an expressionistic illusion that comes together as a poem. The illusion is devised of a mirrored structure that recalls the facade of a skyscraper with an atrium at the center. Mirrors cover the ceilings, walls, and floors, creating the feeling of continuous levels. To view the work, the audience ascends a staircase and looks on from a platform twelve feet off the ground. From this perspective, the illusion constantly shifts between real and envisioned space, conjuring the slipperiness of the subconscious, the sensation before an emotion. Like the light refracted through a prism, Golden strives to capture something transient that cannot truly exist on Earth, an impossible space. As the artist writes, “It’s a way to map out all the grief, fear, doubt and frustration…it’s starting to finally see the beauty only to realize it’s gone, pockmarked and diseased.” The exhibition title connotes viscerality: the inner matter that is unseen yet vital to existence. It is also a symbolic source of instinctual resolve and the wellspring of our collective courage. Indeed, Guts finds its power and pitch from an innate place within Golden, borne of deeply-held intuition.
Sculptural elements are built into Golden’s bricolage, acting as representations of a psychological phenomenon that has no form or language. The components (among them snakes and intestines) are made from unexpected materials, which manifests the alchemy of everyday objects and tethers the work to the craft of making sculpture. In a moment dominated by virtual experiences, in-person engagement with the installation is key to allow for the illusion to unfold.
The overwhelming magnitude of Guts is not derived from its scale, but from Golden’s ability to convey the imbrication between the known and unknown. Though each level stands alone as its own psychic state, the movement between, around, and within them is reminiscent of a film strip moving on the reel. On one tier, sheets of dichroic vinyl evoke ocean waves, alluding to a fleeting, perfect moment on Earth. Directly above, a chaotic interior scene distills an internal disaster and the futility of meaning-making. Failure is embedded within the attempt.
In a warehouse downtown, a skyscraper stands at the center of the universe. The piece started as DNA, but has since grown into something far more sinister. Guts involves all of us, it is a homecoming and a surrender. It is looking into a pale dream, to oneself, to the world as it is and as it never can be. Guts is a rupture.
Samara Golden (b. 1973, Ann Arbor, MI) has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and CANADA, New York. Her monumental installation The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes was on view in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. She has also participated in group shows at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; Nicelle Beauchene, New York; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai. Golden was featured in the 2014 Made in L.A. Hammer Biennial, Los Angeles, and in Room to Live at MOCA Los Angeles. In 2015, a monograph on Golden was published by MoMA PS1, and her work has been written about in publications including ArtForum, Art in America, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and Mousse Magazine. Golden’s work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; LACMA and MOCA in Los Angeles; Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana; Zabludowicz Collection, London; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai. She will be included in an upcoming group exhibition at Sydney Modern Project, Art Gallery of New South Wales and has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. Golden lives and works in Los Angeles.