Ungrammaticality is the consequence of having a fixed code for interpreting language. When facing a string of words not following the grammatical code, we tend to lack confidence in the interpretation because we assume the speaker uses the same code we interpret. Linguists tend to think of language as a system. Others tend to see it as a behavior. And therein lies all of the difference.
The artists in this exhibition do not conform to the code. They engage with a broad range of subject matters—what tethers them to one another is not a shared conceptual project, but a poetic sensibility to convey experiences and sentiments that are almost too ephemeral to be conveyed through our existing language construct.
In varying scales, materials, and registers, these five artists respond to the crisis of language to communicate by putting into question its basic forms and structures through distortion, citation, slippage, and jokes. They hold stakes in irresolution, contradiction, criticality, materiality, and unstable notions of selfhood.
Bailey Connolly’s sculptural syntax circles through and around relational notions of the self. In prioritizing change and movement, arrangement and rearrangement, the meaning of her work is neither stable nor autonomous and is determined by its relational proximities. Also working with modes of relation, Stephen Lordan is interested in experiments, in not knowing how things will turn out, and in the possibilities of rare coherence. Other artists in the exhibition focus on the grammar of visual representation. Hunter Foster disentangles the grammar of Neoclassicism, displacing timelessness and grandeur with softness and frangibility with his wheat-pasting drafting paper and dough. Soren Hope invites doubt into the familiar. Their paintings inhabit the realm of the not-quite-right. Depictions of yawns probe the limits of the empathetic potential of looking and bring focus to the void spaces of the body. Working with a familiar visual glossary, Soren subtly destabilizes the audience's inherent understanding. Similarly, Ang Ziqi Zhang fragments everyday visual vocabulary like signage, diagrams, and written language to invite associative thinking and slow looking. Like sentences rewritten over and over, the works scramble and unfold their images across thin, built-up layers.
The thread that runs through these artists’ practices is, at its core, ungrammatical and prelinguistic. They identify the complexity of narration and create work that detaches meanings and feelings from their conventional explications. They provoke us to break existing rules of the everyday vernacular and build our own syntaxes with "syntax errors."
This exhibition is part of the YY OS program. YY OS stands for YveYANG Operating System. An OS is a system software that runs on a computer and serves as an intermediary between the hardware and the programs. The program will be updated periodically as YY advances.
Bailey Connolly, Hunter Foster, Soren Hope, Stephen Lordan, Ang Ziqi Zhang
Bailey Connolly (b. 1993, Santa Ana, CA) is an artist currently based in New Haven, CT. She completed her BA from Bard College in 2015 and is currently an MFA candidate in Sculpture at the Yale School of Art. Recent two-person exhibitions include Bailey Connolly & Isabelle Frances Mcguire at Scherben, Berlin (2022) and Dresses Without Women at Mickey, Chicago (2021).
Hunter Foster (b. Little Rock, AR) is an artist currently based in New Haven, CT. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015, and is currently an MFA candidate in Painting and Printmaking at Yale School of Art. She has presented recent solo and two-person exhibitions at The Anderson VCU in Richmond, VA, Lock Up International in London, Good Weather in Chicago/North Little Rock, and Gern en Regalia in New York.
Soren Hope (b. 1993, Long Island, NY) is an artist currently based in New Haven, CT. Soren completed their BA at Carleton College in 2015, and are currently an MFA candidate in Painting and Printmaking at Yale School of Art. Soren has shown work in New Haven and New York, and exhibited their first solo show at the Arts Center at Duck Creek in the Springs, New York in 2018.
Stephen Lordan (b. Cork, Ireland) is an artist currently based in New Haven. He works with sculpture, sound, writing, and other myriad modes, as necessary. He received a BA Fine Art from Goldsmiths in London, and is currently an MFA candidate in Sculpture at Yale School of Art. Recent exhibitions include Yale University, USA; Tate Britain, UK; and Timothy’s, IRE. He was the recipient of a Visual Artist Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2020.
Ang Ziqi Zhang (b. 1994, Brampton, Ontario) is a painter and DJ currently based between New Haven, CT and Brooklyn, NY. They received a BA Visual Arts and a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago in 2016. Previous exhibition venues include Jan Kaps Gallery in Cologne, Germany, Produce Model Gallery and Good Weather Gallery in Chicago, and Each Modern in Taipei, Taiwan. They are a founding member of the Brooklyn-based AAPI DJ collective AYI AYI. Currently, they are completing their Painting/Printmaking MFA at the Yale School of Art, and are always pursuing growth, lushness, learning, and play.
Opening Reception: 04.22.2023, 6-8pm