Hunker Down

Shotgun Review

Hunker Down

By Danica Willard Sachs April 12, 2016

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Art Practical staff writer Danica Willard Sachs reviews Hunker Down at Bass & Reiner Gallery in San Francisco, California. 

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Bass & Reiner Gallery has the tiniest space in the new Minnesota Street Project. But viewing their inaugural exhibition Hunker Down, a site-specific sculptural installation by May Wilson and Mie Hørlyck Mogensen, you wouldn’t know it. The predominantly soft, flaccid forms of the sculptures contrast with the pipes, beams, and other architectural elements that define the space, creating an illusory sense of expansiveness.

Envisioned by both artists as bodily forms, the slouching, supple sculptures awkwardly occupy the room. Probably the most human-like work in the exhibition, Wilson’s In Wobbling 7 (2016) is constructed from two sky-blue vinyl “legs” filled with cement, leaning together and bound near the top with a yellow strap that hangs loosely between the legs, pooling on the floor. The ostensible unsteadiness of the object belies the sturdiness provided by the cement filling. Positioned near the entrance of the gallery at near human scale, In Wobbling 7 is direct, almost confrontational.

Mie Hørlyck Mogensen and May Wilson. Hunker Down, 2016; installation view, Bass & Reiner Gallery. Courtesy of the Artists and Bass & Reiner Gallery, San Francisco. 

The best works in the show play to the small space’s strengths. The titles of some of Mogenson’s works, including Coast Guard and Body Guard (both 2016), paired with her choice of materials—brightly colored vinyl stuffed with batting or sand, and sometimes secured with black nylon straps—evoke the life preservers and rafts employed by this branch of our armed services in their water rescues. Buttressed to the wall or hanging from a strap on the ceiling, Mogensen’s sculptures call attention to architectural details that could be easily be lost. Likewise, Wilson’s In the Event (2016), also constructed from sand-filled vinyl, is a long, thin tube that hangs limply from the high point of the angled ceiling. In the Event quite literally draws the viewer’s eye upward to note the strange, trapezoidal architecture of the space. In this way, Hunker Down succeeds as a reminder of the building’s provenance—that in just the last year, a raw and utilitarian warehouse has been transformed into the sleek, white cube galleries that make up the Minnesota Street Project.

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Hunker Down is on view at Minnesota Street Project, in San Francisco, through April 23, 2016.

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