SMART OBJECTS presents Sticks and Stones , a group exhibition of works by Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio,
Sarah Gail Armstrong, Justin Chance, Brandon Coley Cox, and Jasmine Nyende. Curated by Chadwick
Gibson and Cheyenne Julien.
3.24 – 4.28
Material is not neutral, abstraction is not neutral. Generational trauma is woven into everything, from the
cotton in a quilt to the bark of a tree. Bearing this reality in mind, the artists of Sticks and Stones engage
process-based methods to transform their relationships to the world as we know it. The heart of any
work lies in the process of its creation, and here process becomes at once both therapeutic and
subversive. Abstraction is not used to erase the hand but rather to bring awareness to the bodies that
are absent. Through process, a different kind of relationship with the constructed world emerges.
These works defy the legacy—endemic to art history and western culture in general—of depicting nature
as idyllic pastoral landscapes waiting to be exploited. Instead, the natural world appears as nails peeled
out of a tree (as in Aparicio’s ¿Y Quien Puede Descansar? (11th St. and Union St., Los Angeles,
California) ), handmade artifacts serving as reminders of radical self-care (Nyende’s Open Sky ), quits and
appliances blurring the boundary between the mass-produced and the personal (Chance’s Untitled (The
Evening and the Morning and the Night) ), shards from a geode seemingly formed by the compression of
culture (Cox’s Alpha Expanse ) , and makeshift habitats pieced together to ward off trauma (Gail
Armstrong’s Comfort ).
Together, these artifacts form a sort of treehouse, assembled from the wreckage of history and with an
eye toward a reclamation of the present. By refusing a passive stance toward the politics of material,
these artists actively engage the material woven into the fabric of our everyday lives.
Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio (born Los Angeles, 1990) earned a BA from Bard College (2012), an MFA from
Yale University (2016) and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2016). Aparicio’s
work focuses on the Salvadoran diaspora, migration, and the interrelated histories of Central and North
America. He uses rubber, an important natural resource from El Salvador (and Mexico), to create
paintings that encapsulate natural and man-made images embedded within the surface of urban trees in
Los Angeles and Mexico City. Aparicio’s works are beautiful as paintings but they also represent a
complicated history that relates to the Spanish conquest as well as to the complex relationships
between Central America, Mexico and the United States.
Sarah Gail Armstrong is a multi-platform, pansexual, panromatic artist with a lust for life that goes
unrivaled. She is most well-known for her introspective and equally thought-provoking poems &
performances. Much of her work takes an intersectional feminist approach illuminating issues and
experiences of race, gender, class and sexuality.
Brandon Coley Cox is an emerging artist based in Iowa City, IA. He is currently a Visiting Assistant
Professor in Printmaking and one the Grant Wood Fellowship recipients at the University of Iowa. He
earned his MFA from Yale University, along with the Ely Harwood Schless Award for Excellence in
Painting. Cox has been awarded other residencies in the past at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking
Workshop in Times Square and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Cox has work in several
permanent collections including The International Print Museum in Southern California and the Museum
of Paper and Watermark in Fabriano, Italy.
His current studio practices involves fusing Eastern and Western traditions of object making to achieve
indeterminable forms. His most recent body of work entitled "Mining for Truth" is the silent uplift on
another day and night of evil, anti-humanist, anti-ancient life views of the world. Using rare earth
minerals, piezoelectric stones that produce negative ions, and Eastern methods of creating plaster; he is
interested in mirroring the transmutative qualities of ancient Egyptian alchemy while speaking truth to
Western power structures. Using gravity as a press and various materials as mark making tools, he
attempts to push printmaking and painting into areas of both beauty and energetic use.
Justin Chance , born and based in New York, New York (raised in Valley Stream), is an artist, writer, and
co-founder of the Collaborative Center of Storm, Space, and Seismic Research—an explorative platform
dedicated to facilitating projects, exhibitions and publications by artists, scholars, writers and cultural
practitioners. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in mostly Fiber & Material Studies and a Bachelor of Arts
in Visual & Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015).
Jasmine Nyende is a new media artist exploring the field of social memory storage. Through poetry,
plays, and experimental performance, she seeks to blur the lines between physical and the digitally
mediated social interactions and the need for humans to building relationships. Intimate and daring, she
practices radical openness as a political imagination for dialogue surrounding Black, queer, femme, and
economical vulnerable people in our social media defined time of personal information. Her work
revolves around social media and deleted posts, the shame in public memory and the commodification
of emotional labor. Her work with sculpture includes hand-sewn dolls of intentions, knitted hanging
nests, and rag rugs made from recycled clothes and sheets. Jasmine is currently writing a book of
poems entitled Flesh Between Heaven and Earth about family dynamics and runs a radio show on
KCHUNG Radio in conjunction with her art & poetry zine entitled Fit Form Function. Jasmine is also lead
vocalist for afropunk band Fuck U Pay Us.
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Los Angeles, CA