Image credits (from left): The drone is not distracted by the perfume of flowers, 2017 Digital animation, no sound, 00:02:36; Still Life (vanitas), 2017, 19 x 23 inches (framed), Archival pigment print

CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions (San Francisco, CA) is pleased to present Still Life, the second iteration of an exhibition by San Francisco Bay Area based artist Rhonda Holberton, from April 7 – May 26, 2018 at Transfer Gallery (Brooklyn, NY).

As virtual environments and autonomous bots infiltrate our homes, and the omnipresent computer in our hands change the role of the body— in all areas of life and commerce, Still Life is Holberton’s attempt to rediscover the value of the biological body through labor and material transformation.

The exhibition features a networked video installation, prints rendered from augmented reality, a room wallpapered in embossed textures derived from CGI techniques, gold dust that Holberton panned from the California landscape, mosquitoes cultivated from the artist’s blood, and mannequins salvaged from the American Apparel liquidation. In total, these works and objects weave together a narrative document of the artist making sense of her life and ours within an increasingly dematerialized landscape.

As the title Still Life suggests, this exhibition considers the relationship between stillness and life, inanimate and animate, in today’s image inundated world. While the commissioned still life painting was once a rarified symbol of status, this slow tradition now continues in streams of multiplicity. Holberton reflects upon the smart-phoned classes compulsively and carefully arranging, digitally displaying, and sharing their personal ephemera at incredible speed with both still images (Just This One Thing) and animations (The Drone is not Distracted by the Perfume of Flowers). Yet instead of photographs of her own mundane belongings, Holberton presents 3D scans carefully knitted together within a CGI programming environment. This belabored manufacture produces a new form of ‘objet’ that is nearly physical yet entirely artificial.

Further skewing the real and unreal, the video installation, (/no stats the same), the artist utilizes motion capture data of her own body, and then transplants this onto a 3D scan of a male model. The performance locates a queer space within the digital quantification of algorithmic skin and the computerized human choreography— an avatar’s gendered exchange of labor.

Still, the importance of reality and place are evident. Holberton’s Dust to Dust are two works of the same name that explore the Californian ideology of masculine entrepreneurialism and oft predatory behaviors, which began with the Gold Rush, carry on in the Silicon Valley tech boom, and are now seen in the burgeoning cannabis industry.

In the front gallery, a vitrine holds 5 grams of recently extracted Californian gold. In the rear gallery, a full-spectrum hydroponic grow-lamp illuminates two screens that display a live-stream of mosquitos the artist has bred in her studio. In a videotaped performance, the mosquitoes bite from Holberton’s arm, completing a necessary step for the female mosquito’s reproductive success. Additionally, the mosquito evokes the emergence of the Zika [and the newer Chikungunya] virus associated with infertility, poverty, and climate change. The Dust to Dust works offer a reminder that while the bio-technical divide grows ever more transparent, we are still very much dependent on the “six-inch layer of topsoil, and the fact that it rains.”

Altogether, Still Life presents metaphors and histories of material objects and the human body to crystalize the disparate yet wholly connected narratives of our times: digital technology, global warming, religion, and social/identity politics especially. Holberton explains, “I wanted to insert myself into a local system that indexes a much larger system, what ecophilosophist Timothy Morton calls a hyperobject; something too large and complicated to be understood by a single human processor.”

The exhibition opens to the public with an artist reception on Saturday, April 7 at Transfer Gallery, 5-8 PM in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at 1030 Metropolitan Avenue. An exhibition catalog will be released, which includes essays by Aimee Friberg, Tanya Gayer, and Oliver Shultz. A series of talks will also accompany the exhibition. Still Life is curated by Aimee Friberg, it was first presented at CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions in January of 2017. For more information contact info@cultexhibitions.com

RHONDA HOLBERTON (b. 1981, Fall Church, Virginia USA)

Working in sculpture, installation and photography, Rhonda Holberton employs a hybrid of scientific and metaphysical practices to reveal a symbolic reading of empirical canons of belief.

Rhonda has recently had exhibitions at CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions (San Francisco, CA), City Limits Gallery and Royal Nonesuch (Oakland, CA), and the Berkeley Art Center (Berkeley, CA). Holberton’s 3D Animation Best of Both Worlds was recently acquired by SFMOMA and is many notable private collections. Her work was part of a three person exhibition for the National Museum of Women in the Arts in San Francisco, curated by SFMOMA’s Curator Jenny Gheith. Holberton has been included in exhibitions at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and the San Francisco Arts Commission and as a solo presentation in ZONA MACO SUR 2016 in Mexico City. In 2012 she received a Project Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. Holberton received her B.F.A. from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and her MFA from Stanford University. She currently teaches at San Jose State University and Stanford. Her work has been featured in Paper Journal, Terremoto Magazine, PLASMA, SFAQ, Art in America, Art Practical and Daily Serving, among others. Holberton is represented by CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions.

CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions is an international gallery showcasing cutting-edge work by emerging and established artists who bridge formal, conceptual and process-based investigations exploring the human condition. Founded by Aimee Friberg in 2013, CULT engages viewers inside and out of the formal white space, with experiential programming including: talks, dinners, art tours and nomadic exhibitions. CULT is housed in a shared design and art space in the NOPA neighborhood of San Francisco, at 1217 B Fell Street. Public hours are Friday and Saturday 12 - 6 PM and by appointment.

Current

TERRI LOEWENTHAL: Psychscapes
March 2 - May 19, 2018

Offsite: New York

RHONDA HOLBERTON: Still Life 2
April 7 - May 26, 2018

Past

VECINOS
October 27, 2017 - January 20, 2018

RHONDA HOLBERTON: Still Life
January 10 – March 4, 2017

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Release Me
October 21 - December 10, 2016

NO SHOW MUSEUM: Yves Klein, Maria Eichhorn, Daniel Knorr, Etc.
One Night Only: Monday, October 17, 2016

DESIRÉE HOLMAN: Selected Works
September 17 - October 8, 2016

SHE MOONAGE DAYDREAM:
Facundo Argañaraz, Leah Guadagnoli, Desirée Holman, Kara Joslyn, Max Maslansky, Liz Robb, Tamra Seal, Emily Weiner, & Cate White

July 16 - August 20, 2016

PABLO DÁVILA: Ladies & Gentlemen,
We Are Floating In Space

May 13 - July 9, 2016

MASAKO MIKI: Conversations with Fox, Feather, and Ghost
March 4 - April 30, 2016

SUZY POLING: Total Internal Reflection
January 15 - February 27, 2016

DAN GLUIBIZZI: You Don’t Have to be Alone Tonight
November 6 – December 19, 2015

FRANCESCO IGORY DEIANA: Haptic Render
September 11- October 31, 2015

SEXXXITECTURE: Daniel Gerwin, Rebekah Goldstein, Roman Liška, Max Maslansky, May Wilson & Jake Ziemann
July 1 - August 1, 2015

ADAM SORENSEN: In Situ
May 1 - June 27, 2015

KLARA KÄLLSTRÖM & THOBIAS FÄLDT: Village / High Hills
February 27 - April 25, 2015

PRINCE RAMA: How To Live Forever
January 25 – February 21, 2015

JOSEPH DUMBACHER & JOHN DUMBACHER: Divert (Out of Line)
November 7, 2014 – January 16, 2015

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Passenger
September 12 – November 1, 2014

A PATTERN LANGUAGE: Michelle Grabner, Angie Wilson & Lena Wolff
June 20 - July 19, 2014

MICHELLE BLADE: Gathering Into Being
April 25th – June 7th, 2014

MIGUEL ARZABE: /*Reject Algorithms*/
March 7 – April 19, 2014

JACQUELINE KIYOMI GORDON: Drawings
March 7 – April 19, 2014

FRITZ CHESNUT: Purr Valley
& Rhonda Holberton

January 10 - February 22, 2014

UNSEEN: Miya Ando, Miguel Arzabe, Chris Duncan, Klea Mckenna & Dean Smith
November 10 - December 21, 2013

Past Off-Site Exhibitions

LAS COSAS QUE PINTAN / PAINTING IN AN EXPANSIVE FIELD
Works by Miguel Arzabe & Juan Sorrentino

April 9 – May 17, 2015

EBB: Gina Borg and Chris Russell at Loczi Design
December 10, 2014