Wasserman Projects will open a major exhibition of work by Los Angeles-based artist Jason Yates, featuring a series of fully outfitted domestic spaces constructed inside the gallery. Inspired by his childhood in Detroit, Homemade Ice Cream is Yates’s first exhibition in his home city in 25 years and his largest solo installation to-date. The exhibition will include a front yard and porch, as well as bed, living, and dining rooms, each complete with the familiar day-to-day objects and visual markers that make these interior environments feel like home. Homemade Ice Cream explores how home life, and in particular our memories of it, shape our identities and affect our experience and understanding of time, place, and personal history. To further illuminate these ideas, Yates and Wasserman Projects have invited a diverse roster of Detroit-based artists, writers, musicians, and chefs to perform in and activate the spaces throughout the duration of the exhibition, which will close on December 16, 2017.
Yates’s practice is characterized by the blending of artistic genres and media. In his exhibitions, paintings, sculpture, handmade furniture and mirrors, designed wallpapers, and found objects come together to make an immersive whole that accentuates an emotion, experience, or broader universal concept. His installations are often marked by repetitive patterning, bright coloring, and a playfulness that belies a more complicated, and sometimes darker, reality. Frequently working with collaborators from across the creative disciplines, Yates looks beyond established artistic boundaries to examine the relationships between the aesthetic and the functional and to create narratives that audiences and partners can actively engage with and build upon.
Yates’s genre-bending installations reach their largest scale yet in Homemade Ice Cream. The front yard and porch vignettes will include a wood-constructed facade of a house, picket fence, clothesline with garments gently moving in the air, oversized sculptural floral bouquet and wind chimes, and his mixed media works featuring Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls peering from the home’s windows and from behind a car hood in the garage. The dining room will be made complete with a wooden table, buffet, and benches, accented with ceramic dishware and decorative objects. The bedroom will feature a bed, shelving with a range of knick-knacks and arranged objects, and quilted bedding, while the living space will include shelving, wall hangings, and a rug. The handmade Raggedy Ann and Andy figures are scattered and posed throughout the interior spaces, giving the installation an eerie otherworldliness that is further heightened by the ubiquitous use of black matte paint.
“Jason’s installation elicits such a wide range of responses, from the nostalgia of childhood and summers spent with friends and family to the subtle, kind of creeping awareness of something magical and unearthly that is at once enchanting and disconcerting. The intricacy of these emotional responses combined with the artistry and scope of featured artworks and objects really compels and confounds the senses in an encompassing and exciting experience,” said Gary Wasserman, founder of Wasserman Projects. All of the work for the exhibition will be created in Detroit with the support of local artists and artisans, supporting the collaborative spirit of the exhibition and Yates’s overarching vision for his practice. Among the individuals supporting fabrication of the exhibition are ceramic artist Victoria Shaheen, whose unique ceramic pieces are made through a combination of hand-crafted and commercial techniques, fashion and knitwear designer Jonathan David Baker, and artists Alexander Buzzalini, John Charnota, and Leslie Rogers, whose work spans assemblage, woodwork, and fiber arts. These artists will also present their own work in Wasserman Projects’ project gallery as an extension of Yates’s exhibition, highlighting the creative talent of those involved in bringing the exhibition to fruition. A focused exhibition of works by Detroit-based artist Martha Mysko, whose vibrantly colored installations explore the language of painting through every day and domestic objects, will also be shown concurrently.
A schedule of performances and events to take place inside the installation will be announced later this summer. Events will range in format and include artist talks, musical and spoken word performances, family-friendly storytelling, and dinner and tea parties hosted by local culinary talents.
“The layering of artistic voices in Homemade Ice Cream is particularly exciting, as it situates the exhibition as a dialogue and platform rather than a completing moment for the artist,” said Alison Wong, Wasserman Projects’ Director and curator for the exhibition. “For Jason, and for me, the additive nature was an essential component. It opened up a much broader conversation about how a core idea can spark a diverse range of artistic responses and approaches and reshape the presentation model to be more inviting and inclusive—both to the artist community and the public, who now have this spectrum of access points to engage with the physical environment, the underlying vision, and their own interpretations and experiences.
That’s something that is important to Jason’s practice and to Wasserman Projects’ program.” “When we opened Wasserman Projects in 2015, our vision was to bring together the many talented artists in Detroit with practitioners working across the U.S. and abroad to foster an active exchange of ideas and work. Jason’s collaborative approach has allowed us to really explore and showcase the tremendous creative energy of our city on a dynamic and monumental scale,” added Wasserman.