Samuel Payne
Appropriate Conditions
May 23—June 28, 2015

Samuel Payne’s second solo exhibition at Peninsula Art Space, Appropriate Conditions, includes eight new, seemingly disparate sculptures whose arrangement and relationship describe Payne’s ongoing inquiry into the potentialities of displacement, periphery, and liminal or negative space, and their relation to subject formation.

Encompassing cast plaster reliefs, a displaced coin-op billiard table top, several pineapple window decals, curved speaker cabinets, cut up bird feeders, a video installation, and a series of drawings, Appropriate Conditions stages multiple taxonomies of dormancy, casting it as both form and function or cause and effect of negative space. At the same time, his works make up a landscape of variables, examining forms of dispersal, contingency, orientation, and distance inherent to the behaviors of invasive, rogue seeds.

A dormant seed focuses potential within a labyrinthine context of environmental pressures. Acting as a kind of silent time bomb, the seed has an uncanny ability to cross borders, and modulate the distance and temporality between generations. As this invasive seed is inadvertently picked up by the wind, and carried off to other regions, it denies and repositions the developmental thresholds and environmental contexts contained in entrenched ecosystems.

Payne’s sculptures confound the time of dormancy and the object’s context. In his work, the threshold from activity to dormancy holds in itself both the time and space of passage, all the while acting as a glue in which invasive species — once captured — thrive in the disturbed site. A white marble threshold installed between the two rooms of the gallery catalyses Payne’s concern with in-between space. Within this demarcated region of ambiguous directionality, distance is measured according to a vector of memory and inflection, presence and cleaving, and the subject takes a position within this continuum.

Payne’s works often re-habilitate past projects — activating the objects’ complex histories in a way that recalls a dormant seed’s potential activity across geographies and generations. His cast reliefs, for instance, are made from floor tiles installed in an exhibition only a few months ago, while the curved cabinets are modified versions of a set of cabinets installed at Peninsula in the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery in May 2014. His drawings take up similar patterns and formal concerns to his sculptures, highlighting the mutability of forms and traits across media and the recurrence of variables. 

Samuel Payne (b. 1982, New York) lives and works in Brooklyn. He earned his MFA in painting at the University of Washington in Seattle, and his BA at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. He recently exhibited 1,580 lb Gambit at Spring Break Art Fair. His first solo show, Final Lap took place in May 2014 at Peninsula Art Space.