AARON GARBER-MAIKOVSKA - SIDESTEPS AND OUTLETS, GREENE EXHIBITIONS

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

Installation view, Sidesteps and Outlets, Greene Exhibitions

In July of 2009, I attended my first Aaron Garber-Maikovska performance. I had already seen the documentation and heard the lore of others, and watched a handful of videos. On this occasion, there were no props and there was no set. The only proscenium came from the hand of the gallerist as he gestured for the cluster of an audience to move away from the center of the gallery and closer to the entrance. Once the artist entered from the back of the gallery, the drone of the crowd tapered quickly. The performance was already underway.

For about fifteen minutes, Aaron improvised combinations of the movements and sounds that, having been developed and refined over years of the practice, were familiar to any that had previously seen videos or performances. His body searched for just the right positions -- the exact move -- that would ignite himself and his audience. He probed the limitations of his stage and bumped against the walls of the gallery in a multitude of ways, as if one of them would unlock the secret passage that would take us to a new consciousness. Though none of us were expertly trained in the language of the performer before us, but as we were all following along attentively, compelled to laugh at the same points. Aaron had successfully become the basic man or woman. Something essential, even medullar, resonated among us all.

In his hierarchy of needs, Maslow includes shelter in the base of his pyramid. One glance at the rest of the pyramid, and it seems easily dismissible for our age. Most of the concerns across the arc of one’s life are with the quality of consumption. How good is the education? How healthy is this meal? Are these striped socks still on trend? What is the optimal pH of my water?

In Garber-Maikovska’s latest body of work, he provides a shelter from the obsession over of these questions. The artist has created modular, mobile, and self-supporting structures to arch overhead— folding the landscapes over and around the audience. Paintings on the walls of the gallery echo this unraveling of interior and exterior into a continuous space: the space of our own affirmation of this moment, this place, and this self: striped socks, or otherwise.

After we left the gallery to celebrate that performance in 2009, I asked Aaron a simple but earnest question: “What are you really doing when you are up there?” His reply was concise, but has proved generous in resolving future questions: “I’m painting.”

- Greene Exhibitions


Aaron Garber-Maikovska - Sidesteps and Outlets
Greene Exhibitions, April 25 - June 6
www.greene-exhibitions.com