Ada Potter “Just the Surface”

A.I.R. Gallery

poster for Ada Potter “Just the Surface”
[Image: Toy chair, ADO Toys by Ko Verzuu, 1932, The Netherlands. Photographer unknown.]

This event has ended.

A.I.R. Gallery presents j u s t t h e s u r f a c e, an exhibition of new work by Ada Potter.

In her first solo exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery, Ada Potter introduces several series of photographs and sculptures that play with the opacity of images. Interwoven throughout the gallery, these works grapple with the largely invisible labor and narratives embedded beneath an image’s surface. Despite the popular assumption that images tell stories, Potter’s work points to the fact that they often obscure as much as they elucidate.

Most of the objects present in the exhibition started as images. Chair after ADO toys (2021), for example, stems from Potter’s encounter with a photograph of a chair that intrigued her. After further research, she was surprised to discover that the chair pictured was in fact a toy made on the scale of a dollhouse. Even more intriguing, the toy was fabricated in the Netherlands in the 1930s by young adults recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium. While this fraught history is inextricable from the object represented, its image renders the narrative obscure.

In her photography, Potter is drawn to documenting surfaces, textures, and sites that similarly hold inaccessible stories. They hide their history but allude to it. In one work, the top of a pineapple is shown discarded in the snow. The incongruity, absurdity, and banality of this minor event is evident in the image, but lost is all that happened between germination and disposal. Imagine how it ended up there. Potter’s photographs show the evidence of human presence but never give us access to the hands that left the marks. By turning her attention away from the figure and toward the ground, Potter leads us to reconsider the truth of what we see.

Ada Potter is an artist and curator living in New York. She has an MFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute and a BA in Art History & Studio Art from Barnard College. She has been a member of A.I.R. since 2018. She has participated in exhibitions at Transmitter Gallery, Public Swim, NADA Governors Island, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and The Boiler. She has curated exhibitions including Garden Level in 2018 and Future Touch at Hionas Gallery in 2016. She is the creator of SCREEN_, an email-based art “space” that produces artworks sent/received via email.



from November 19, 2021 to December 19, 2021

Opening Reception on 2021-11-20 from 12:00 to 18:00


Ada Potter

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