Just a few blocks from the bustle of 24th and Mission on a shady street up two flights of stairs, an intimate project space run by artist Margaret Tedesco provides some of the most consistently exciting combinations of art and writing in the Bay Area.
The aptly-named [ 2nd floor projects ] opened in 2007 with a show by Sahar Khoury. Seven years later, her work is again on view, this time with paintings and sculptures by Jaimie Healy. Completing the show is a personal essay by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, A Desire for History, printed as an elegantly-designed limited edition broadsheet. Each [ 2nd floor projects ] exhibition features newly commissioned writing ranging wildly in tone, style, content and physical form.
All three artists in the current exhibition (Sycamore included) work in fragments. Khoury’s sculptures are amalgamations of familiar objects wrapped in patterns, tied in knots and rolled into tubes. Healy considers her work like elements of a crime scene, each object a small clue to a larger ongoing narrative. And Sycamore’s non-linear essay speaks to the anxiety of loss — specifically the loss of identity and community in the face of gentrification.
Together, the three form a powerful triad. Healy and Khoury’s works share a visual language of mingled abstraction and representation. Sycamore’s essay is full of snark, punchy lines and rhetorical questions. For all three, an underlying earnestness prevails. “Maybe I’m saying we all need different kinds of people in our lives, right?” writes Sycamore. “When anything becomes homogenous, there’s a problem. When anything becomes so homogenous that people don’t even think about it, that’s worse.”
Just inside the front door, Healy’s Untitled rests against the wall on two longer wooden props, mimicking the simple wooden shelf with l-brackets above (a vestige of a previous show). A plaster semicircle echoes the hallway’s walls and foreshadows the shape’s reappearance at a much larger scale around the next corner.