Every single work on view in the group show “Speech Sounds” at More Pain, the New York outpost of Los Angeles gallery Real Pain, astounds anew, be it canvas, cloth, ceramic, or rocking horse. As a rule, objects defy their mediums. Alix Vernet’s Building (Fragment) (2020)[pictured], made of Latex, cheesecloth, and spray paint, is meshed, apparitional, yet also architectural, with cornices and stonework giving way to a translucent drift to the floor. The surface of Jacques Louis Vidal’s Smog Drapery (2021) is layered, webbed, like the most delicate of topological maps, while Larissa de Jesús Negrón’s Aftermath (2021) is ridged like the tracks of a snowplow; and the surface of Julia Yerger’s Untitled (2021) is stunningly accrued, with translucent underdrawings giving way to impasto strokes.
As if manifesting the underbelly of the city, rats figure prominently, evidenced by Toniann Fernandez’s treatise about her great desire to touch one, the text from which the exhibition also draws its name. Haley Williams’s ceramic Blood Vessel (2019) is adorned with the critters and houses a fur-tufted bone, while Kat Lyons’s Only Touch (2021) depicts a rodent against a dark background, ensnared by its own tail.
Alix Vernet, Building (Fragment), 2020. Latex, cheesecloth, spraypaint. 80 x 19 inches.