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JASON RODINELLI

Spit Up from a Water Witch
a solo exhibition of new suclptures

OCTOBER 24 - NOVEMBER 29, 2020


mh PROJECT nyc is pleased to present, Spit Up from a Water Witch, a solo exhibition of sculptures by Jason Rondinelli, whose recent body of work expresses the simultaneous processes of coming together and falling apart. Embodied within these works, the opposition between assembly and collapse conveys a parity between the desire to be pure, whole and complete, and an impending sense of failure. This struggle creates a dynamic suspense and catharsis. Instead of pivoting immediately towards rebirth, Spit Up from a Water Witch asks the viewer to observe and behold the destruction and shame left in the wake of defeat.


Rondinelli’s material play explores the concept of tension between fighting failure versus surrendering to it. Abstracted patterns found in nature on the surfaces of the sculptures convey this conflict. In Blubber Head, the wood is partially chopped and burned, marked by a failed attempt to show what lies beneath the surface, and the beginning of destruction. In all three pieces, circular marks decorate the ceramic and wood, mimicking the injuries left on a whale by the squid trying to resist being devoured, and wavy patterns along the sides of each piece allude to the intestinal lining of the whale after the squid has been consumed. The battle results in the emission from the whale’s guts of ambergris, a prized perfume.

The parallels in Rondinelli’s work between natural phenomena and personal narrative extend beyond superficial markings. In Blubber Head and In my Stomachs, Pins and Needles, ceramic vessels filled with dripping mouthwash teeter atop the sculptures, referencing the suspense of the dynamic between shame of and acceptance of collapse. Emanating from portions of the sculpture are two distinct aromas that demonstrate catharsis in the act of spitting forth from within. The minty scent of Listerine and the earthy aroma of ambergris saturate the charred wood remains. Rondinelli highlights the act of spitting out liquid as a moment when what lies within is revealed, and though any interior liquid may be vile out of context in the exterior world, it has its own potency and function. Mouthwash is called upon to represent purity before a kiss, and in its sullied state, used to erase the traces of a sordid meeting with a lover in a bathroom stall. The destruction of burning produces its own scent, and smoke, too, is used to subside: a match in the bathroom or a cigarette to deal with stress.        

Text by Irene Plax