“No W Here” Exhibition

Ricco/Maresca Gallery

poster for “No W Here” Exhibition

This event has ended.

In late 2019, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Alice Hope, Bastienne Schmidt, and Toni Ross met to discuss an exhibition concept that would highlight the influence of archeology in their individual practices. As a prompt, they agreed to each select an artifact from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s vast collection and respond to it. In a serendipitous event, and to their astonishment, each artist separately chose the Navigational Chart (Rebbilib) from the Marshall Islands.

Made from the stick-like midribs of coconut palm fronds and bound together with natural fiber strings to form a crisscrossed framework, navigational charts represent portions of the archipelago as they relate to different types of ocean currents and swell patterns. Before World War II and the advent of newer navigation technologies, Marshallese seamen utilized these maps as guides and mnemonic devices before crossing the Pacific Ocean in open canoes; each one was unique and fully decipherable only by its maker, serving also as a training aid to pass on navigation knowledge from one generation to the next.

The title No W here is a wordplay coined by Greg Dvorak in his book Coral and Concrete (2018). In this exhibition each artist responds independently to the aesthetic and cultural significance of the navigational chart, ruminating on how the simplicity of its formal properties belies its deep complexity of communication and wayfinding. Hope’s, Schmidt’s, and Ross’s lives and careers have overlapped for many years; over the past decade they have all had independent solo shows at Ricco/Maresca Gallery. For this project, to minimize their influence on each other, they confined themselves to their own studios—only sharing research and resources virtually.

No W here weaves the artists’ singular oeuvres into a cohesive visual narrative; the exhibition is one and indivisible, meant to be experienced in the simultaneity of three visions becoming one—literally and metaphorically. Inspired by the navigational chart, the resulting collective strives to create aesthetic experiences that facilitate recalibration and sense of place in this era of disequilibrium.



from June 03, 2021 to September 11, 2021

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