axial stones/drawing/language/video (Slought)

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Zero Point Axis

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Slought Foundation, 2007

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April 05-May 23, 2007
Slought Foundation

Philadelphia
Curator: Osvaldo Romberg
with Aaron Levy

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from the program:

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Slought Foundation, a non-profit organization rethinking contemporary art, is pleased to announce “Zero Point Axis,” an exhibition by artist George Quasha featuring “axial stones,” paired stones configured through the artist’s acts of precarious balance (without alteration of stones or the addition of fixing agents). … The exhibition includes as well axial works on paper, axial video, and an installation of axial language (preverbs).

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Axial means awake and aligned right now, happening at zero point,

free in the danger of the moment

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“In this exhibition stones, graphite, and language are doing something different from what people expect of them. The stones stand improbably, carried to the edge or thrown into interdependence, and balancing on a precipice of their own making. And they can seem to be of this very moment, in the viewing, impermanent, revealed as they are, enjoined in a further nature. I call them axial, a word I use somewhat idiosyncratically to draw attention to a certain state of being—free being, or being coming into its natural state as free. The axial is not a thing: not a philosophy; not a religion; not an aesthetic; in short, not itself any of the many ways that can be used to understand it. It’s more like a space, a worked space–an intentional state of awareness in which something unpredicted can occur: a unique event resulting in what seemingly embodies its origin and yet itself is original. At once unchanging and nonrepeating. The axial is what makes these stones what they are as you see them; that is, in the way that they appear and in the process by which you see them. The axial is what presents them thus, at the horizon of their own event. For me, after some years of working with them, to experience the event is to be awake at the horizon.” —GQ

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“A yearning to transcend one’s particular self animates much of Western culture. Or we try to have it both ways, as in Expressionist art, which claims that the way to the universal is through the individual. [...] Only some artists—really, just a few—have followed John Cage to a full acceptance of contingency. Outstanding among them is George Quasha, whose axial art makes it clear that an immersion in the flux of experience is not a submission to happenstance. For Quasha, an axis is like an intention: a force that, as it generates possibilities, gives them a provisional but intelligible order. Every esthetic advances a hope, for truth or clarity or beauty or whatever. Quasha’s esthetic is driven by the hope that possibility will always be open and fresh, never predictable. Thus will our possibilities remain human, thoroughly ours and in no need of transcendental alibis.”

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—Carter Ratcliff, Foreword to George Quasha’s Axial Stones: An Art of Precarious Balance (North Atlantic Books, 2006)

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