Nina Johnson is pleased to present Danica Sunbeam, an exhibition of new work by Emmett Moore, opening in the main gallery with a public reception on September 6th (7-9pm), and remaining on view until September 28th. For this exhibition, Moore presents a series of functional sculpture and design objects primarily made of T-shirt fabric. With his singular approach to materials and process, Moore has created a thrilling, unexpected body of work that responds both to Constructivist and Modernist design sensibilities, as well as the global flow of commodities.
Moore sourced the shirts in bulk from used-clothing wholesalers. These businesses, which operate out of warehouses in Miami’s industrial neighborhoods, sell donated or trashed garments for pennies a pound. The clothes are graded in terms of quality, then turned to rags or exported to different markets across the globe, where they are sorted and resorted, sold and resold. From his home on the Miami River, Moore watched freighters taking shipping containers filled with bushels of clothing to the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and beyond. Moore takes the name of the exhibition, Danica Sunbeam, from one of these vessels. Somewhere between fashion items and raw material, the T-shirts Moore selected for his pieces are soaked in a slow-drying epoxy, then wrinkled to provide structural integrity. Moore then shapes them to molds referencing the standardized dimensions of building materials: 2×4 beams; sheets of plywood; the dimensions of the shipping containers themselves. The objects reference the dimensions of their dispersal across economies, political borders, and the globe.
The matte, monochromatic surfaces of these works beguile; they seem to ripple and undulate, yet are frozen in their form. These intricate folds reference classical marbles, specifically the draping robes seen in statuary by the Greek sculptor Phidias. By using epoxy to affix them in their final forms, Moore’s process refers to Gaudi’s use of glue-soaked ropes to achieve impossible forms in the Sagrada Familia. He wrinkles and wraps the cotton to obscure most of the identifying elements of clothing: the tags, the buttons, the graphics might briefly appear, but for the most part are absent. Beyond underscoring the ubiquitous materiality of the cotton shirts, the furniture references various moments in twentieth-century design: a constructivist table with a glass top, as well as a mid-century coffee table paired with an armchair riffing on an iconic Eames design. On the walls will be a series of gridded sculptural shelves, which refer both to the shipping containers, and the pattern they make when loaded onto the ships. With Danica Sunbeam, Emmett Moore turns his eye for irony and material refinement towards thirdworld economies and disposable consumerism, allowing viewers to reconsider the everyday materials and forms of the surrounding world.
About Emmett Moore
Emmett Moore is a Miami-based designer and artist represented by Nina Johnson Gallery. His work has been shown at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, where he is in the permanent collection, as well as the Bass Museum of Art, the Frost Art Museum, and the RISD Museum, Providence. He has shown in Miami at DesignMiami/, the De La Cruz Collection, and Locust Projects; and at Aranda/Lasch and Patrick Parrish Gallery in New York. He received his BFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. This is his third solo exhibition at Nina Johnson.