Jane South's Switch Back featured in Momus: "We Are Gathered Here to Grieve: Salvaging, Mourning, and ‘Cargo Cult Formalism’ in New York," by Andrew Woolbright.
"After the stay-at-home order lifted in New York City, the first show I visited was Jane South’s at Spencer Brownstone, a beautiful, meditative gallery that is among my favorites in the city. Something about the way South’s work interacted with the architecture made this commercial space feel more like a chamber or a vault, sunlight streaming in through the window facing the sculpture garden. This reflective effect belied the fact that South drew from the materials of her exploding living space, which her landlord has been renovating over the last few years to keep up with city codes and ordinances. South, who recently started working with an industrial sewing machine, mined the history of her building, feeding fabrics left by past tenants and roommates as well as her past artworks through the machine’s teeth. The resulting work has a certain home-schooled savant quality (reminiscent of Harmony Korine’s interest in the avant-garde aesthetic developed by home-schooled kids, their assemblage of contradictory images and symbols formed in opposition to their insular environment). The quilted materials in South’s work run into removed packing foam, and seams from old curtains abandoned by former roommates are left to hang. For instance Cutter (2019), an irregularly shaped wall-hanging assemblage, combines older works-on-paper by South with batting, curtains, and packing foam. Mark (2019) similarly combines drawings, batting, and fabric, though its circular shape makes it resemble the inside of a booster rocket – or more of an IBM mission control computer. The work seems to visibly be about material interchanges – such as thread and fabrics finding harmonies – and a materialism that supersedes any metonymic language. South’s exhibition felt like a deep codex, the result of a material hermeticism that only has room for the artist herself to occupy. These soft aesthetic machines appeared remote, the materials washed ashore from a great wreck, something owed to South’s shift in materials from the stable, architectural forms she had previously been making from wood. South has turned the sewing needle into a drawing device and has applied it to the excess materials abandoned in our rented spaces. She addresses the drift and precariousness of our current moment, enchanting the makeshift and impermanent materials of late-Capitalism as an act of preservation."
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