Local Project is pleased to announce Play and Pause, the first solo show of Queens-based writing artist Will Kaplan. The presentation includes a series of works on paper made during the height of the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine, and found object pieces made since. Play and Pause will be on exhibit from October 15 through October 30 at Local Project Art Space in Long Island City.
Confined at his home during quarantine, Kaplan culled images from catalogs and mail, collaged against wood prints and watercolors of his own making, to imagine different spiritual realms tied to our materialistic surroundings. This series reads as dispatches from a crumbling empire: it responds to COVID and maps an escape from its anxieties.
In contrast to his works on paper, for the last year Kaplan focused on found object artwork. Using wood from city sidewalks, these works depict the degrees of re-opening, with mixes of joy and reservation. Crises of the environment, racial justice, and inequality long pre-date the pandemic; accordingly, Kaplan casts a cold eye on the “good-old-days,” marketed in the re-opening. In repurposing found furniture, the specter of our homes–our quarantine confines–haunts these works in examining consumerism and privilege.
Kaplan titles his exhibit “Play and Pause” to acknowledge the work’s celebrations and meditations, and the obvious influence music has on his practice. He avidly listens to rock, hip-hop, jazz, and classical; the series reflects his wide ranging appetite in their bricolage approach. The works freely blend text, printmaking, painting, drawing, and watercolor, balanced with un-touched negative space, like album tracks responding to each other. The different textures, characters, and scenes across the work offer multiple entry points for viewers to experience conflicting emotions, and make more room for empathy, nuance and patience.
To emphasize these values, the exhibition will host an artist panel discussion and a night of musical performance. The panel discussion, “Rendering Resilience,” on Saturday October 23rd, 7-9pm, will feature Kaplan in conversation with artists and art therapists, on how creative practices model coping skills. The closing reception, on Saturday October 30th , 7-9pm, will offer celebratory catharsis through musical performances and a costume contest with prizes. The exhibit will be open to visitors from 12:00pm to 6:00pm, on Saturday and Sunday. Local Project is located at 11-27 44th Road in Long Island City. This program is made possible by the New York City Artist Corps.