As a late addition or repair, a patch can extend the life of an object, whether software or streetwear. But it is also a bonding agent, as in this exhibition titled “Patch,” bringing together the work of Shanta Rao and Jo-ey Tang. Slight gradations of tone and texture flicker across the exquisite surfaces of Rao’s untitled abstractions (all works 2015), which are wrought from silk-screen impressions and punched indentations on rubber, linoleum, heavy black paper, or copper sheeting. Technically prints, they are also translations wherein the coded information of a pixel is reconstituted as a mark, and in the movement between these modes a poetic charge accrues.
The three vertical ribbons of Tang’s “Document from Like An Intruder, The Speaker Removes His Cap, Patch” series are interspersed between Rao’s pictures. Each panel’s white ground is composed of plastic adhesive paper that was used to extract and map the detritus accumulated on the floor of a previous solo exhibition, its traces now broken apart and dispersed in discontinuous chunks. A butterfly-pea-flower tea purchased in Thailand that is used as a sexual stimulant and antistress supplement was later poured on top, leaving azure stains that wash over a smattering of cigarette butts and spilt tobacco. These artifacts of sociability suggest the rituals of consumption that assuage and mediate anxious interactions. Broken into strophes adhering to the gallery walls and windows, Tang’s lyric poem PATCH suffuses the exhibition with a sense of longing that’s leavened by potential. For while each artist probes a delicate contingency, they both construct encoded pictures borne of the moment of an encounter, suggesting a patchwork both technical and affective.