Annihilation Holiday

Theodore Darst, and Kate Steciw

Curated by Nathaniel Hitchcock

Liberal Arts Roxbury, Roxbury, NY
October 2019 - January 2020

Kate Steciw and Theodore Darst position themselves as digital flâneurs of sorts, playfully strolling through screen environments, making associations freely between images, places, and digital artifacts. Their productions employ sets of divergent yet interrelated skills, each of which fall uniquely within the domain of labor (typically freelance), formerly performed by the artists in varying capacities. 

Steciw’s series of dye-sublimation prints on aluminum, occupying the front gallery at Liberal Arts, are digital collages composed of images she recruits from varying databases: stock photos, archives, social media accounts, image searches, etc. She considers the mark making that establishes the borders of her collaged layers to be a welcome mediation—the collaborative residue of machine-human interaction. 

The rear gallery premieres Darst’s diaristic, single-channel video titled Cloud Requital & The-Grift. Here Darst incorporates video footage shot on location with digitally-born, 3D animations accompanied by 2D overlays drawn frame by frame. The video is a futuristic meditation on the artist’s recent trips between New York, his grandfather’s western Massachusetts painting studio, and the Catskills. The seamless looping of the visuals, with audio composed by musician Kevin Carey, mirror the artist’s peregrinations and provide the viewer with an experience that can be taken up or left behind at any moment. 

Both Darst and Steciw approach digital media as an expansive landscape where attentions seamlessly cascade from one perspective to the next. Their treatments of this landscape explore its construction, prospecting its fissures, its multitude of layered images, the simultaneity of vision, and its “higher ground” in terms of visual language. 

Theodore Darst (b. 1986, New York City) lives and works in New York City. Cloud Requital & The-Grift is his eighth collaboration with composer and producer Kevin Carey (b. 1992, Boston, MA). Darst’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Lubov, New York; Magenta Plaines, New York; and at Unpainted, Lab 2.0, Munich. His videos have been screened extensively at national and international venues, including TEAM Gallery, New York; The Drawing Center, New York; Mirko, Zurich; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museo de Bahia, Salvador, Brazil; The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. 

Kate Steciw (b. 1978, Bethlehem, PA) lives and works in Woodstock, NY. Her works have been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Gamma Galeria, Guadalajara, Mexico; Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris; Neumeister Bar-Am, Berlin; Higher Pictures, New York; and Levy.Delval, Brussels. She has participated in group exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth, New York; International Center for Photography, New York; Bodega, Philadelphia; The Yves Klein Archive, Paris; Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, New York; and MAMO, Marseille, France.

Press Release (pdf) Exhibition Text (pdf)