Under all this dirt the floor is really very clean

Michael Assiff
Corin Hewitt
Tatiana Kronberg
Natalie Labriola
Em Rooney

December 10, 2016 - January 15, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 10, 7-10 pm

Humans have been burying their dead for 100,000 years. A common test to become a gravedigger involves digging a standard grave - 3 by 8 feet and 5 feet down - in less than four hours.

In nature, evidence of life remains preserved in the hardened amber of ancient trees and recorded in the earth’s crust through fossilization. Humans, before their death and burial, are preserved in other ways - through memories and illustrations, photographs and x-rays.

Part of the burial process typically involves embalming the body and placing it in a vessel, stalling decomposition. The advent of eco-caskets, bio-cremation and human composting encourage the deterioration of the body in carbon rich material, allowing microbes and enzymes to dissolve the tissue, fertilizing the soil, from which new life can grow.

Often, an artificial turf is placed around the grave following a burial. This is for aesthetic reasons only and serves no other real purpose.

In the 1930s, Russian archeologists discovered the first of a series of birch bark manuscripts in the remote province of Nogvorogard. The documents were miraculously preserved, kept moist for five centuries between layers of subterranean peat moss. One archeologist described the bark as almond colored, with fuscia rings, nearly resembling skin and that it looked alive, “like a worm exposed from beneath an overturned stone.” This 8 1/2 X 11 script drastically altered previous scholarship of Slavic history and the eastern regions of the former Soviet Union.

This discovery begs the questioning of other perceived truths, perhaps as easily disproven by an object hidden from our view, in the ground beneath our feet: a computer made of vegetables, pre-historic photographs, an alternative to gasoline.

Recently, a popular wine was discovered to have percentages of certain substances that exceeded federal regulations. Apparently, that year an unusual number of egrets were caught in the netted fencing, and when the grapes were harvested, vineyard workers neglected to remove the birds, resulting in an unlawful number of their bones in the final batch.

The word trace can mean exactly that; an almost undetectable quantity of a substance, typically of unknown or unintended origin. It can also mean to outline, to circumnavigate a shape, to make that shape an island in space. To trace can mean to look for, to search and conversely a vestige of something that has disappeared.

Michael Assiff (b. 1983) received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Recent exhibitions include: Remediation Flowers, First Continent, Maryland; Future Nature, Jack Hanley, New York; Reconstructive Memory, Valentin, Paris; Efficient Frontier, Magenta Planes, New York; Tiger Tiger, Salon 94, New York, and Hangry, Shoot the Lobster, New York.

Corin Hewitt received his BA from Oberlin College and his MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the US and Europe, with solo exhibitions at: MOCA Cleveland, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center and the Seattle Museum of Art. Recent group exhibitions include the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp; the Memmo Foundation, Rome and the Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil. Hewitt was a recipient of the 2014-5 American Academy Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2011 and a Joan Mitchell Fellowship in 2010.

Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Tatiana Kronberg is a New York-based artist. Her work has been shown at JOAN in Los Angeles, CA, Shanaynay in Paris, France, Adds Donna in Chicago, IL, Regina Rex in New York, NY, Torrance Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA among other venues. Tatiana is a member of the artist-run gallery Essex Flowers, New York, NY. She received her MFA from the ICP-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies in 2006.

Natalie Labriola (b. 1987, Mesa, Arizona) received an MFA from Bard’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in 2015. She recently mounted a solo show at Martos Gallery in Los Angeles and has exhibited in group shows at Bureau, New York; Cleopatra’s, New York; Nicelle Beauchene, New York; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles; Michael Thibault, Los Angeles; LACA, Los Angeles, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, and Boyfriends, Chicago. From 2012 to 2015 she ran a temporary exhibition space called Satellite Space out of a commercial office building in Los Angeles.

Em Rooney (b. 1983) received her BA from Hampshire College and her MFA from Tyler School of Art in and in 2012 attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. Recent shows include Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio; Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York; Bannerette, New York; The Good Press Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland; Vox Populi, Philadelphia and the solo exhibition The Word for Forest at Bodega, New York. She lives and works in New York.