SHOWS > PAST > On a scale from not really ok to really not ok

Jennifer Dalton   


On a scale from not really ok to really not ok
September 14 - October 19, 2013

Artist's Reception: September 14, 2013, 7-10pm


Show Catalog (pdf, 908.19 Kb)

“On a Scale From Not Really OK To Really Not OK” wrestles with social anxiety and the mutually uncomfortable extremes that Jennifer Dalton observes herself vacillating between, such as guilt vs. resentment, fairness vs. loyalty, bitter vs. grateful, or loser vs. pig. Viewers are invited to assess themselves and each other along these metrics by interacting with elements of this exhibition, which continues the exploration of cultural values and social interactions that Dalton has been engaged in for over a decade.

Dalton measures self-worth and cultural value in paradoxes, arbitrary hierarchies, false dichotomies and sliding scales. In her view, opposing values, emotions and attributes often exist not in balance but in constant asymmetrical flux. She has created multiple subjective taxonomies to make sense of herself and the outside world and invites viewers to participate and implicate themselves within the show by choosing between opposing dichotomies in a variety of ways.

In “Reckoning,” Dalton asks viewers to consider aspects of their lives in which they have given back more than they’ve received, or received more than they’ve given back. Consisting of two acrylic vitrines–one labeled “Surplus” and the other “Debt”– and pads of short surveys, the work will fill up over the course of the show with viewer’s written responses. Hanging near the vitrines are pencil drawings displaying some of the results and responses from some of the over 900 participants who engaged with this work when it was exhibited in New York as part of “How Much Do I Owe You?” an exhibition organized by No Longer Empty in a former bank building in Long Island City, Queens. A version of this work is also currently on view in Donetsk, Ukraine, and responses from each venue will be compiled and displayed on Dalton’s personal website in the next several months.

In “Paradox Party Favors,” the viewer is presented with an opaque purple box with a small hole in the top. It is filled with candies, but viewers must use tongs to grab and read them, as the hole in the top of the box is not large enough for adult hands. Each candy wrapper displays a paradoxical saying that Dalton has experienced as an artist and art-lover, such as “Art is a gift, but working for free gets exhausting.”

Dalton uses the tools of commerce and marketing–imprinted swag, free giveaways, crowd-control measures–in order to dig into very personal emotions. Some works intermingle the handmade with the mass-produced: “Better People” mounts handmade signs onto commercial stanchions. And a small acrylic painting illustrates each of the four “Paradox Party Favors.”

Jennifer Dalton is a visual artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. In her drawings, sculptures and installations she excavates, organizes and evaluates cultural information according to her own personal criteria. Her subjects are often chosen in an attempt to test a hypothesis or to dissect a chip on her own shoulder.

Jennifer earned a BA in Fine Art from UCLA and an MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She received a Pollock/Krasner Foundation grant in 2002 and a Smack Mellon Studio Fellowship for 2005-2006. Her work has been discussed in Artforum, ArtNEWS, Art + Auction, Art in America, Flash Art, Modern Painters, New York Magazine, the New York Times, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Her work has most recently been exhibited at Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX; Winkleman Gallery, New York, NY; Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany; and The Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, NY.

Jennifer Dalton, "Paradox Party Favors", 2012, box dims: 12" x 14 x 14, acrylic box, approximately 800 wrapped candies, silicone tongs, on painted wood base

Jennifer Dalton, "Paradox Party Favors", 2012, box dims: 12" x 14 x 14, acrylic box, approximately 800 wrapped candies, silicone tongs, on painted wood base

Jennifer Dalton   


On a scale from not really ok to really not ok
September 14 - October 19, 2013

Jennifer Dalton, "Paradox Party Favors", 2012, box dims: 12" x 14 x 14, acrylic box, approximately 800 wrapped candies, silicone tongs, on painted wood base

Jennifer Dalton, "Paradox Party Favors", 2012, box dims: 12" x 14 x 14, acrylic box, approximately 800 wrapped candies, silicone tongs, on painted wood base