What gravity could the now-archaic process of bread making have in analyzing cultural phenomena? Zin Taylor's debut solo exhibition at Miguel Abreu Gallery manages to make this unexpected reference work, providing a few dynamic visual allusions slightly burdened by their esotericism.
Not that I have room to complain: at this point, I know when I walk into Miguel Abreu's Lower East Side gallery I'm going to get a slickly aestheticized, highly conceptual exhibition. This comes with its faults and favors. Crammed with a variety of media — white wooden cubes, c-prints of bread and dough, screen prints of drawings-cum-recipes — Zin Taylor's The Bakery of Blok seems haphazardly (though purposefully) structured. Little blocks and tools made from wood are sometimes painted and placed atop larger wooden cubes. Entering the quaint installation feels like walking into an empty kindergarten classroom during a fire drill.
While this reference may be humorous, it isn't necessarily pejorative or empty. The Bakery of Blok clearly considers various methods of constructing narratives, which we learn at a young age. The metamorphosis of bread is one form of narrative, as are building blocks, the growth of trees and their transformation into wood, etc. Each process is composed of basic components that, when strung together, become something greater than the sum of its parts. Another example of this idea is the hand: five fingers make up a hand, but a hand has greater functionality than five separate fingers.
So what's the point? Taylor's exhibition focusing on growth comes at a particularly apt time when our culture has been struck by entropy. The last thing we need is one-liner “recession art,” but we also don't need art insensitive to its zeitgeist. Taylor's show is safely situated in between these poles, subtly sensitive and not too obvious in the least. Despite some oversights (including the use of the privileged, nominal idea of fresh bread as universal, quotidian staple), The Bakery of Blok is worth the intellectual trudge.