The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

July 22 – September 2, 2023

Freight+Volume is pleased to present The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys, a group exhibition featuring works by Will Watson, Mary DeVincentis, Ezra Johnson, Natalie Westbrook, Karen Finley, and Madalena Pequito. The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys will be on view at the gallery’s 39 Lispenard St. location July 22 - September 2, 2023.

Alluding to Traffic's 1971 hit track, The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys captures the full gamut of ethical uncertainty—from laissez-faire fun in the sun to words as weapons of protest. Recasting the miasmic, tobacco-infused atmosphere of the song’s lyrics “Don't worry too much, it'll happen to you” to be more mindful of the various social grievances that surround us on all sides, The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys unpacks like a cautionary tale about the use and abuse of pretenses to social conscience.

Each of the six artists on view has an individuated stance on the relationship between users and suppliers: the unending push and pull whose frictive echoes resound throughout our contemporary life. But instead of reveling in the details of the generic miasma environing us, they collectively give voice to an image of freedom that refuses any complicity with nostalgia. We’re never more free than when there’s a poignant distance between media and reality; and when neighborhoods, by design, overflow the locations pinned to Google maps. Across the works on view, these artists remind us that our everyday life is not confined to the various horrors portrayed by the news, but partake in an elegant form of play—disruptive, sensual, panoramic, concrete.

The works of Mary DeVincentis illustrate the freewheeling development of consciousness, something climate-savvy and adventurous. Similarly, the spatial integrity, the toying with gaps and recesses which runs through Natalie Westbrook’s work leans into a utopian vision where consciousness is equally composed of holes, yet ebulliently overflows. The works of Madalena Pequito and Ezra Johnson revel in the measured excess of those privileged moments when we feel absolutely free. For his part, Will Watson's paintings depict epic summer vibes in urban settings where people can still experience conviviality and delight in each other's company. His paintings find their counterpoint in the work of Karen Finley, who reminds us that power cuts into even our most radical affirmations of creativity and freedom.

The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys alludes to a sense of frustration that attends nostalgia; at the same time, it offers a revivified sense of wonder at the potentials still within our grasp, and which can only be realized now. From the visionary and developmental, to the minimalist and raw, what counts for most across this exhibition is the glorification of play and joy. Within the freewheeling environment of an artist's conscience, there's a radiant center that brims with the potential of multiple timelines. Throughout The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys, this spirit of generous effort transforms into universal statements about what it means to be alive in the world today.