Michael Guerra Foerster: Without a Trace
Mar 1–Jun 9, 2024
Without a Trace, follows Foerster’s investigation of connection, and touches on ideas of materialism and the ephemeral. In large part a reaction to capitalistic structures that surround the art world, Foerster has intentionally moved in another direction, freely gifting his work to those who want it. In this interaction, Foerster removes the barrier of purchase in the hopes of creating a unique interaction where a genuine connection can be forged between artwork, viewer, and artist. For Without a Trace, this interaction becomes more intricate, playful, and ritualistic, taking inspiration from toy dispenser machines, mystery boxes, and card packs. It was later that the artist realized that while these mechanisms that colored his youth projected an air of play, they were also tools used to manipulate and foster an obsessive desire to collect and possess. Here Foerster questions how or why possessing artwork might give it greater perceived value, or if instead value is endowed through the act of giving. The ritual that the visitor enacts in this exhibition is an exercise in loss and letting go. In order to find recompense, the visitor must commit a destructive act that erases the work of the artist and effectively ends the life of the unfired clay sculpture they chose. Among the refuse, the visitor can find the token reward and keepsake of the ritual, theirs to keep. Then, a moment for reflection. The visitor releases the remains of the sculpture into the basin, where it breaks down, settles, and joins the slurry made from other rituals. In the artist’s practice, ever aware of his environmental impact, nothing goes to waste, and this slurry of memory will be recycled and find new life in future projects. Mirroring the passage of time, the memories created in this space will be carried away by the clay, transform into something new, and slowly vanish, without a trace.
-Statement by Michael Guerra Forester.
Michael Guerra Foerster: Without a Trace is curated by Jacqueline Saragoza McGilvray. The exhibition will be accompanied by public programs and an opening March 1, 2024 6-9pm.