PLEDGE at Company Gallery. 03/03/19 – 04/21/19


PLEDGE - Company Gallery. March 3 – April 21, 2019

Pledge, an exhibition staged by Fin Simonetti, first implicates thoughts of social ritual, fraternal initiations, national allegiance, and sterility with the sting of cleaning supply. From these unsettling bearings we enter a starkly laid mise-en-scene of artifacts, in which Simonetti examines both male pain and male absence with tenderness, alienation, and humor.
Simonetti taught herself to carve stone after the death of her father in early 2017—confronting her grief through creation of form. While addressing the loss of a male figure, she also turns her gaze towards a broader examination of the culture and performance of masculinity, and its inherently conjoined terror of fragility and violence.
Central to the exhibition are a series of Spanish blue alabaster sculptures, perched precariously on a continuous metal railing. Where a railing could provide stability, in Pledge it divides the space, controlling and restricting the viewer’s movement. Rough blocks buffed into immaculately-chiseled forms, Simonetti’s sculptures are at once stoic, classical, enshrined and yet, fragile, imbued with a creeping sense of impotency.
The delicately balanced sculptures signal alarm. A marble fire extinguisher’s purpose is imbued with duality as both a mark of emergency and security. Disney-like electric candles stand erect in a nostalgic, yet uneasy calm—a single drip hangs like a tear or a pearl of cum. Canine paws, a prevalent motif in Simonetti’s work, are dismembered from the body with claws extended, prompting a confusion of perception. Are we witness to violence inflicted or exacted? Simonetti entombs these complicated multitudes in the bright gleam of cold stone.
On the walls, stained glass windows make strange memorials for men’s haircut posters—reminders of a culturally embraced virility that is 2-dimensional; “male identity” further obscured by its own image. A video of closely cropped weightlifters focus on their faces of anguish, struggling under a mechanism of weights just outside the frame; a punctuation and climax to the unease and imbalance of the room. Ensnared by the blurring of threatened and threatening, objects and viewer both are left to hang tenuously on the railing.