Carolyn Lazard reveals new work at Essex Street in "SYNC," the Philadelphia-based artist's first solo exhibition to date. Last year, Lazard—who uses the pronouns "they/them/their"—upon completing their MFA in Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, kickstarted an auspicious post-grad ascent with their inclusion in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Among Lazard's other forthcoming projects are a group show at Palais de Tokyo and a one-person presentation at the Walker Art Center slated to open in 2022.
"SYNC" unfolds across aesthetically disparate sculptural components: two La-Z-Boy reclining chairs; three sink basins mounted on the wall, with a fourth on a bar cart, imagined as independent television sets [one pictured]; and an hourglass overfilled with granite dust. Elsewhere, two small electronic devices generate perpetual, changeless fires in Cinema 1, Cinema 2 (2020). Three active air filters, which comprise Privatization (2020), hum nearby.
As someone who has long managed a chronic illness, Lazard often reflects on their personal experiences of this in their practice. In this light, "SYNC" derives from navigating a purgatory-like cycle of medical environments, which here Lazard has distilled into the sequence of found objects on display at Essex Street. Varyingly modified as individual items, albeit to universally understated effects, their collective proximity to one another, in contrast, becomes pronounced—neither crowded together nor situated at a comfortable distance. It's not a respite. The result, achieved through masterful restraint in Lazard's execution, is a creeping sense of controlled sterility in the guise of manufactured cushiness, both maddening and unavoidable.
Carolyn Lazard, TV3 (Love Island), 2020. Ceramic, 17 ¾ × 23 ½ × 6 ¾ inches. Courtesy the artist and Essex Street.
[A white ceramic sink is hung on the wall with its basin facing forward, approximating the shape and form of a television. It has two drain holes in its central recess, one that is large and open and one that is small and metal rimmed. In its base are three open holes for a faucet and handles, that approximate a television’s buttons or controls. Three minimal metal braces are visible on the base of the sink holding it up.]