Kerry Downey

Nothing but net

Kerry Downey, “Nothing but net,” 2016, still from single channel video, Total run time 14:33

Kerry Downey’s first solo show, titled “Nothing but net,” is a multidisciplinaryproject that explores their relationship between self and other and their movement between interior and exterior landscapes. Consisting of a large video projection and series of monotypes, this process-driven and experimental work contains many other mediums: painting, drawing, collage, performance, and text. This is a project that questions the boundaries of containment, what are the possibilities and limitations of a medium, of the body, and of visual and verbal languages.

The nearly 15 minute-long video work and dozen prints plunge the viewer into indeterminacy, asking us to step outside of prevailing modes of understanding selfhood, representation, and language. As is typical of Downey’s entire practice, “Nothing but net” wrestles with representing their body, specifically through exploring problems of language and the complexity of subject formation in a binary world. Their body is posited as a catalog of sensory experiences and a place of flux, where multiplicity is the principal feature.

Downey’s recent video employs a particular strategy, in which the artist uses water, pigment, and other materials to create and manipulate abstract forms on the glass plate of an overhead projector. In filming the image cast on the wall, they create a moving picture in real time. The moving image is accompanied by a poetic voiceover that’s written and performed by the artist.

In addition to a spoken language, Downey employs their own invented lexicon of shapes and symbols that are proxies for the body. This language, perpetually changing and dissolving, repeats in both the prints and video. Some of the plexiglas from the print process was placed on the overhead projector to make animations and vice versa, some plates used to make the video were then printed to make monotypes.  While their shapes and marks refuse any single signification, they reveal Downey’s persistent desire to elaborate their experience and sensibility. Like some kind of queer creation myth, their coming into the world is full of pain and pleasure, where the notion of a self is both elusive and deeply playful.

Kerry Downey, “Nothing but net,” 2016, still from single channel video, Total run time 14:33

Kerry Downey, 2016, monotypes, 13.5×19 in, Printed with Marina Ancona / 10 Grand Press

This project would not exist without the support and inspiration from a community of brilliant queer women. Downey prints with Marina Ancona/10 Grand Press, who generously shares her extraordinary skills and vision as a printmaker in their collaborative process. Below you will find an interview and essay with two curators who’ve shared a longstanding dialogue with Downey about this project, and whose friendship and intellectual contributions to this project are central to its existence. Downey would also like to thank SJS, DJK, and KDM, three magical humans.

Pockmarks, Pits, and Pores by Ashton Cooper

Interview with Natasha Marie Llorens

Kerry Downey (born Fort Lauderdale, 1979) is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher. Downey’s work explores how we interact with each other physically, psychologically, and socio-politically. Encompassing video, works on paper, and performance, their work reimagines the possibilities and limitations of language, gender and intimacy. Their work has recently been exhibited at the Queens Museum, Flushing, NY; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA; the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale, NY; the Drawing Center, New York, NY; and Taylor Macklin, Zurich, Switzerland. In 2015, Downey was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. Artist-in-residencies and Fellowships include SHIFT at the EFA Project Space, the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions, Real Time and Space in Oakland, CA, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Queer/Art/Mentorship Fellowship. They will be spending their summer of ’17 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Downey holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College.