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Cloud Chambers in Exhibition “Via Negativa”.

The Transcendence of the unReal

Guest Curated by Cerritos College Art Gallery

“Within the black hole-like density of being, things undergo an expansion. The ontological equivalent of the Big Bang rests within every object. Being expands.”
– Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology or What It’s Like to Be a Thing (Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 26.


South Bay Contemporary is pleased to present “Via Negativa: The Transcendence of the unReal,” guest curated by the Cerritos College Art Gallery. This large group exhibition, which brings together fourteen contemporary artists working in a wide range of media, seeks to explore various aesthetic engagements across a flat ontological field. Through the development of visible erasures, emergent structures, vicarious causations, and animate objects, the artists manage to probe the sensuous glue holding everything together, specifically the immanent interplay of vibrant matter and ‘dark’ energy, a dynamic tension of trace opposites refusing to resolve into a comfortingly knowable synthesis. As such, they emphasize not a shared spirit that permeates the world and animates all existence (while somehow remaining simultaneously external to creation), but rather the apophatic inaccessibility present within each and every object; a speculative grace. By avoiding the direct visualization of the unknowable, the unthinkable, and unspeakable, these works demonstrate how one might transcend the whole notion of transcendence; how to recognize, paradoxically, that the only thing that does not actually exist is the world itself. The beautiful irony, of course, is that, when nothing is transcendent, every thing is.

Participating Artists: Lynn Aldrich, Sean Higgins, Kirk Miller, David O’Brien, Christopher O’Leary, Christopher Pate, Debra Scacco, Lisa Schulte, Nichole Speciale & Curt D Miller, Christian Tedeschi, Kyle J Thompson, Shannon Willis, and Zaid Yousef