In adjustment to appointment Mariah Dekkenga’s accepted show, “Non-Zero Sum,” at Situations on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one has to accomplish a alternation of choices. What time to leave to accomplish it there? At the alms station, run to accomplish the train? Wait for the airing assurance at the bridge or jaywalk? Say accost to old accompany on the sidewalk?
Inside the bunched arcade are three large, ablaze abstruse paintings and, on a lath table, a brace of dice and checkered blocks. Two bodies are sitting on bunched stools, accidentally arena some affectionate of game. Printed admonition accommodate alone the best basal rules, but you can aces it up by watching. The players booty turns rolling the two dice and agreement small, blithely black cubes into a gridded bold board. The numbers they cycle accord to the absolute cubes they can abode bottomward during their turn. And they accumulate activity until the lath is full.
It is what is accepted in bold approach as a non-zero-sum game—where one player’s accommodation does not necessarily aftereffect in the added player’s accident or gain. The accomplishment and losings of all the players do not add up to zero. Everyone can gain, in added words: a win-win game. This aesthetics feels out of footfall with our accepted culture. Why comedy a bold aloof for the account of playing?
This isn’t the aboriginal time that Dekkenga has experimented with amateur that accept no authentic winners. Previously, she created a accouter of corrective cards—an article multiple—with tonalities burst into commutual colors: red/green, orange/blue, and yellow/purple. This simple accouter has no set rules of play—only suggestions, printed on cards, are included. One ability see it as a tarot accouter for blush theory, a antic footfall above Josef Albers and Johannes Itten.
Dekkenga, who is based in Randolph, Vermont, and Doha, Qatar, is accomplished at application programs like Photoshop and Illustrator to accomplish painting compositions and blush schemes, and while her paintings advance her own rules and strategies, there is no acceptable the approximate argumentation of abstraction.
Her bold could be accepted as a chiral for interpreting these intricate paintings—graphic tableaux of adamantine edges and curves in bendable focus—of authoritative faculty of these advancing performances of forms and information. Of the three paintings on view, the better seems to accept the strictest rules: cubes advance and cull from an impasto background. The added two paintings accept a added breezy centralized order, with stairs and blocks crumbling into acutely arced forms, affective abroad from authentic geometric abstraction.
Dekkenga already said that, for her, an optimal amplitude to appearance her assignment is a abode of contemplation, like a library or museum, area one can absorb time answer abstruse anticipation or theory. She achieves this in her exhibition through her game—“A Two Player Bold Without Opponents,” she’s blue-blooded it—where arena the back-and-forth activity slows bottomward the apprehend of the show. Without arbitration through a agenda accessory (this bold could calmly accept been an app), it armament the eyewitness to collaborate comfortable with concrete altar (game pieces and paintings) in adjustment to acquaintance the exhibition fully.
One leaves the appearance cerebration about added choices: how we move through the ever-changing apple we alive in, and how that impacts our communities. One could carefully buy bounded instead of from a big corporation, carefully airing or booty accessible carriage instead of active a car, carefully seek out animal alternation instead of application the cocky checkout or ATM.
One could carefully seek out an exhibition by an arising artisan in a bunched arcade and absorb an afternoon arena a bold that doesn’t necessarily accept a champ in adjustment to attending at and contemplate abstruse paintings that don’t necessarily acknowledge their answers readily. Those advised choices ability advance us about or nowhere.
“Mariah Dekkenga: Non-Zero Sum” runs at Situations in New York through December 1.
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