‘It’ Plays a Trick — Nick Thurston

‘It’ plays a trick in the title of this show. ‘It’ postures as a simple pronoun — as if pointing in language at, you know, it — but lacks the context of a referent needed to identify anything in particular.

What is ‘It’?

Stranded and stray, ‘It’ could be a proper noun. If ‘It’ is the name of a thing or person, it seems destined to circulate on the edge of anonymity by curse of its non-name. Sorry, It 🙁

But I think these artists are pointing at something else, maybe even pointing in a different way. Stranded and stray, ‘It’ turns declarative certainty into a paradox. By pointing at nothing in particular, ‘It’ points at everything as particular — as particular, and maybe strange or unnamed, but definitely tangled up, an infinite mesh of ‘It’s.

‘It’ is every thing and everything together. ‘It’ points every which way at once, including, I suspect, given the last few years, to the insides of those who named the show. ‘It’ is the soupy mess of everything, which has been horrible and wonderful in unequal measures since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic — a global time bomb that exploded cruelly soon after this cohort of students had just settled into their studio-based studies.

If I am thinking in the right direction about what ‘It’ is, then I take ’Sitting With’ to be both a description and invitation. It is a description of what these artists have had to do throughout the pandemic (to be artists in the soup), and an invitation to us, the audience, to reciprocate (to stay close, even get in, to pay attention to what they have chosen to share).

I accept the invitation 🙂

Look forward to sitting with it soon.

Nick Thurston, Associate Professor
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies