303 Gallery is hosting a special collaboration with New York based artist Sarah Meyohas, merging the inherently performative natures of two distinct terrains of art making and stock marketing. Stemming from Mehoyas’s dual educational background in both business and fine arts, the Yale MFA graduate traded stocks on the New York Stock Exchange during the market’s operating hours for ten business days, affecting the value of these stocks. Transferring their behavior into stark black and white drawings, Mehoyas transfers the market’s often erratic movements into the serene white cube.
Sarah Meyohas at 303 Gallery (Installation View)
Mehoyas gained recognition last year for her Bitchcoin project, a similar investigation of market operations and currency in which the artist created a digital currency, named “Bitchcoin,” to initiate transactions with art collectors who were interested in purchasing her photography. Equalling 25 square inches of a photographic print by Mehoyas, 1 Bitchcoin had fluctuating worth based on the market value of her art, and the amount of initial investment in her work.
For her new show, the artist turned to one of the twelve blank canvases circulating her office desk in the middle of the gallery to project that day’s value fluctuation for her stocks. Applied using black oil stick paint by Mehoyas, the otherwise untouched white canvases are optically abstract, with often geometrically arranged zig-zagging across the plane, or standing as single vertical lines, chroniclers of monetary gain or loss that strike the viewer as rather simple forms of visual communication. For those who affiliate with such financial data on a regular basis, they carry further significance, however, particularly notions of complete success or unbearable fiscal ruin.
Titles such as Patriot National Bancorp. on January 13, 2016 or Liberty Bancorp Inc. January 14, 2016 signify the name of the stock and the date that stock was traded, marking each work as embodiment of a day’s attempt at money trading. Otherwise immensely minimal and modest, Meyohas’ juxtapositions stand to portray the often intense and arduous endeavor of moneymaking and ever-growing argument on commodification of artworks. The work requires a great degree of abstracted, intellectual labor in their execution, timing trades and attempting to play her own fiscal gain into their daily rise and fall. The work’s surfaces could not be more explicit in the processes of fiscal labor here, turning arduous playing of the market into a flippant aesthetic gesture, or perhaps vice versa, as Mehoyas attempts to aestheticize the boom and bust of the market form day to day, tracing her own pathway through a day’s trading.
Sarah Meyohas is on view at 303 Gallery through January 30, 2016.
— O.C. Yerebakan