Susan Hobbs

Less: Meech Boakye and Gareth Long

10 Feb - 19 Mar 2022

Less is a collaborative exhibition of new work by Meech Boakye and Gareth Long. It features numerous works made individually by each artist that are brought together on a central modular shelf structure, which serves both as architecture for the exhibition and a metaphor for their shared exchange. While they are collaborating here in an exhibition for the first time, the two artists and friends have been in conversation since they met four years ago, sharing almost daily texts and images that chronicle their various interests of the moment. This exhibition continues their exchange in visual form and opens it out for public audiences.

Together, they traverse subjects as diverse as their individual art practices, food and plant histories, gardening, gardens-as-libraries, children’s books, alternative histories, family, creating a culture of less over more, and a myriad other thematic rabbit holes. Boakye, for example, has included bottles of home-made vinegar preserves, poems collaboratively written with an artificial neural network, and reflections on a fictional character designed to sell a cotton seed and soy oil-based lard alternative. Long includes a large-scale wall work, which sequences silk-screened images of Henry Ford demonstrating the strength of a 1941 prototype soy-based bio-plastic car, which was never put into production, as well as references to his prior work and objects and poetry made by his four-year-old son.

Bringing together their disparate practices is an overlapping interest in the pleasures and travails of research, sequencing and reproduction and how it undoes the progress of modernism, as well as their individual experiences of the pandemic and other social forces of the moment. Acting as a fulcrum for the exhibition, the modular shelving units are not wall mounted (as shelves usually are) but rest back-to-back. As such, they offer an apt analogue of how one might go about working and thinking together, sharing ideas in a mutually supportive way.