A solo exhibition by Portland-based artist Avantika Bawa on view at the Atlanta artist-run space THE END, ICE. ICE consists of only two drawings and one wall painting. An examination of memory, this exhibition exists as a formal and conceptual echo of a now-demolished building.
Bawa’s exhibition focuses on the Georgia Archives Building, built in 1965 and demolished in 2017. With an austere marble exterior and dearth of windows, the fourteen-story structure became colloquially known as the “White Ice Cube,” presumably an influence on the exhibition’s title. The hard-edged rectangular profile of the building is replicated in the two graphite drawings on display: the monolithic building is now a contour that shimmers in the dark. The wall painting, a matte black rectangle occupying the majority of the largest wall, is immediately adjacent to the drawings. The enormity of the rectangle mimics the large scale of the original structure, but its matte finish and inversed color absorb light and energy from the space. The stalwart presence of the building has been replaced by a devouring void.
Mimicry of the building continues into the use of the gallery space. Certain elements of the show’s installation—the drawings’ placement butting against a corner of the space, painting on the gallery wall, and the position of the wall painting directly opposite the windows viewing the space—create an exhibition that feels as united structurally as it does conceptually.
Although the show is visually cohesive in its sparseness, an added non-visual element, such as a sound component, could have further extended Bawa’s examination of sensory memory. In ICE. ICE, Bawa appears to invoke the demolished building’s original function as an archive while also acknowledging the lossy quality of any such replication, creating an exhibition that echoes aspects of the lost structure, lifting them from their solid state to abstracted memory.
Avantika Bawa’s exhibition ICE. ICE is on view at THE END Project Space in Atlanta through January 27. Bawa will give a virtual artist talk on Saturday, January 23 at 1 pm EST.