Ham-Slicer Assemblage: An Extended Cinema Performance by Thomas Dexter

Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm (in coordination with the opening of APEL, part of The Wrong Biennial. As an added bonus, The Concern newsstand will be on site.) Dexter’s performance acts as a preview of Cosmic Rays Film Festival, coming to Chapel Hill on March 1-2, 2018.
Thomas Dexter is an NYC-based artist working within the language of cinema. Dexter’s solo and collaborative projects have been exhibited, screened, and performed at venues internationally, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Microscope Gallery, Experimental Intermedia, PS1/MOMA, Roulette, The New York Museum of Art and Design, Sight and Sound Festival, Issue Project Room, the Mononoaware Festival, The Lesley Heller Workspace, The Invisible Dog, and in collaboration with ESP-TV among others.

APEL: Part of The Wrong

Stone IV. Mit Borras.jpg

Super. New. Wireless. Magical. Perfect. Online Now at the APEL pavilion website!
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 5:00-9:00 pm.
As part of the opening, there will be a special performance by Thomas Dexter as a preview event for the Cosmic Rays Film Festival. In addition, The Concern newsstand will be on site.
Part of The Wrong – New Digital Art Biennale.
Alice Maitre (Paris)
Erin Mitchell (Berlin)
Filipe Matos (Lisbon)
Maya Ben David (Toronto)
Mit Borrás (Madrid)
Olivier Hodasava (Paris)
Punk is Dada (Berlin)
Rachel Lamot (Madrid)
Seth Kranzler (New York City)
Shohei Fujimoto (Tokyo)



F R A G M E N T S by Gert Scheerlinck
On view September 22 and 23, 2017
Opening Hours, Friday, September 6, 6:00-9:00 pm and Saturday, September 23, 2:00-7:00 pm.
with “cilia,” a performance by Sunday SITES featuring Stephanie Leathers on Friday from 7:00-9:00 pm. (NOTE: Saturday’s performance of “cilia” has been cancelled.
Gert Scheerlinck is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Oosterzele, Belgium. He studies the poetics of everyday life. Using installations, sculptures and assemblies he reconstructs memories and events. Scheerlinck presents found objects and arrangements that approach conceptual ambiguity, allowing for open interpretation while offering intensely minimalist aesthetics reminiscent of Arte Povera.
Scheerlinck complicates his arrangements by entering a world of intense yet blasé anecdotes commenting on the fabric of society. He revitalizes discarded materials to catch his viewers in a web of imprecise or displaced signifiers and develops tension in a reconstructed, banal conversation. He challenges the viewers to engage in the dialogue between matter and everyday life and invites them to think about the trajectory of these materials.

The work, assembled by found objects, evokes contradictory feelings and can be read in different ways. As a sculpture it is rich and powerful in meaning, but at the same time the individual materials used refer to Arte Povera.
The image can be perceived as pure poetry, chock-full of nostalgia. ‘Collar’ is carefully hung up on the arid branch and launches us back to our past childhood: playing in the woods, maybe ripping our outfits and arriving home with ragged clothes. What we see, could be a mere artefact of a happy history lived.
Despite the minimal aesthetics, the piece also has a disturbing feel to it. It gives the impression something bad happened. A collar hanging of a branch with a patch of red suggests there is someone severely hurt and it could be self-inflicted.
Lien Lannoo – Art Critic

The disguise of objects.
Despite the developments in conceptual art and minimalism in the United States, it is Europe where the confrontation of political ideas and ways to think about the object develops within the art scene; with Arte Povera as a result. These artists consider the creation and subsequent evolution to be boundary. The material is not seen as a source in itself, the object does not take the form of an image, but is considered a living thing that participates in the drama of human existence.
A creator such as Gert Scheerlinck doesn’t escape to a story like this. His gaze is not built on a binary polarization of boundaries between sculpture and installation, or the prosaic and the poetic. Gert’s interests are not manifest in his speeches nor do they leave evidence. There is something that is hidden and that navigates in the subterfuge of a script that we cannot decipher. It is not about juxtaposing different universal codes or creating a script from the material either, nor about tracing the influence of the previous origin of the object which we identified. Gert Scheerlinck is questioning the meaning of sculpture from the legitimacy that produces its placement in the public sphere or the art institution.
Gert’s work has much in common with Latin American artists who embody this kind of work, we refer to Cildo Meireles and Gabriel Orozco. His work enters into that hybrid zone of the global and the local, where the artist opens a conversation between the territorial and the universal. When studying his work, it is interesting to see this fragile crossover between sculpture and installation in different works, in a language where the object acts like a performer who improvises his place in the scene.
We are dealing with an artist who not only moves values that reach a symbolic dimension, but also challenge us at different angles, starting with very important values: industrialization, communication, awareness of ecological disasters on our planet, … values that reveal themselves as micro dissections. Although the objects show their structure, they are reconstructed from the fragment. It is not essential to display the work, it is not important for Gert to show his beloved objects, it is about the visitors to find a possible story in what they see. It is for this reason that the approach to his work is not always easy to find. It is a quest in which the discovery of the detail discreetly points to the complexity of the syntax.
Scheerlinck introduces a way of thinking about art that, although sometimes quite dark, takes into account the power of imagination. In my opinion, Gert brings a twist he approaches through his own symbolism, and this estrangement between the invention and what is projected as reality. The everyday world presents itself as a eulogy residing between the natural and the artificial, a confrontation biased by prosthetics that make us dependent. Scheerlinck creates this other place, that is neither commemorative nor apocalyptic, it is the small circle of common things. Each work being an image of life itself, in small and higher expectations, in dreams and nightmares, in determinations and sighs, …
There are many ways to unravel Gert’s work, his work exists across a variety of mediums in a world that questions objects, and is going into the obsession to preserve their autonomy which in turn, and at the same time, depends on the necessity of the post-autonomy that belongs to contemporary art.
Jorge Antonio Fernandez Torres
Art critic, curator and director of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba


Friday, October 22, 2017 from 7:00-9:00 pm (in coordination with the opening of FRAGMENTS by Gert Scheerlinck)
Please note: Saturday’s performance has been cancelled.
Sunday SITES will perform “cilia” featuring artist Stephanie Leathers (curator of Sunday SITES).
Leathers will stir the air with movement and questions that send bodies into motion. This highly improvisational endurance performance will utilize available space, textiles and the natural landscape to evoke questions about how we are present with others (community) and ourselves?
Audience members are encouraged to move through, observe and interact with the performers. Level of involvement is up to the viewer.
Stephanie Leathers is a choreographer, photographer, educator, artist, and Durham native. In addition to connecting and collaborating with members of the community, she is the curator of SundaySITES, a site-responsive investigation on the theme of development. Currently, Stephanie is a dance educator for ADF’s Scripps Studios and Durham Public Schools.



  1. a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.
    “there was a brief hiatus in the war with France”
    Guest Room is going to Ghent, Belgium! But, we’ll be back in January 2018 with interesting art and performances. Let’s stay in touch!

Crossing The Blue Hour

On view by appointment from July 6 to July 21, 201.
Opening Reception, Thursday, July 6
6:00-9:00 pm
with music performance at 8:00 pm by Polyorchard. Polyorchard will be Bill McConaghy, David Menestres, Charles Phaneuf, and Christopher Robinson.
Crossing The Blue Hour, by Peter Francis Barnett and Shane C. Smith
it’s a moment (?)…
It occurs over the course of a few seconds… a vivid recollection of a night in a room… she’s on the foot of the bed talking, her hands clasped together in front of her.  In the window behind her, a red neon sign.
Guest Room is pleased to present a new photographic series by Peter Francis Barnett and new mixed-media sculptures and paintings by Shane C. Smith.
The Blue Hour is a series of six photographs inspired by the visual aesthetic of David Lynch’s 1986 drama Blue Velvet and specifically by the character Dorothy Vallens.
-Peter Francis Barnett

The Blue Hour (Blue Lady No. 2), Peter Francis Barnett

The Blue Hour (Blue Lady No. 2), Peter Francis Barnett
1983, Shane C. Smith
Crossing, is a real noir, the ghost of Sarah Fox, whose body was found in Inwood Hill Park, the woods I walk in daily. Born in 1983, she is my age, now gone; I walk the same paths through the yellow tulip trees.
-Shane C. Smith
Peter Francis Barnett is a photographer and multimedia artist exploring the “constructed image” and its function in contemporary culture.  He has shown work in New York, Los Angeles and Prague.
Shane C. Smith’s venues circle between unsanctioned performance spaces and curated museum exhibitions. Exhibitions and performance venues include the Institute of Contemporary Art, Maine College of Art, Portland Maine; the John and June Allcott Gallery, UNC; Ackland Museum, UNC; DAC Gallery, Los Angeles; and the American Museum of Natural History, NYC.
All images are subject to copyright. Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction.
Please join the conversation with Guest Room on Facebook (link), and Instagram (link), via the hashtags #ShaneCSmith #PeterFrancisBarnett and #Guestroom

Ben Elliot Water

On view by appointment from May 26 – June 11, 2017.
Read the interview.


Guest Room presents a solo show by Ben Elliot, the next step of the artist’s project Ben Elliot Water.
In March 2017, Elliot launched his own water bottle as a long term and multiform artwork. Through a bottle, campaign pictures, video and viral contents, it epitomizes several interests of our contemporary contexts such as self-branding, high speed media channels and posthumanism. This installation at Guest Room is the latest embodiment of the project thought as a mise en abyme where the artwork is an ad advertising the project, and where Elliot continues to build his image as an overall work and network of informations and ideas epitomizing ongoing and future systems and values.
Ben Elliot Water is made possible thanks to the support of 20YRS, Andy Berner, Louise Briskmann, Paul Duchemin, Samy Ghiyati, Sacha Guedj-Cohen, Lorandy, Charles Negre, Lily Taïeb and Voda Voda.




King of the Cockroaches


On view by appointment from Sunday, April 23 to May 19, 2017. Installation photos here.
Opening Sunday, April 23, 2017
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Closing Reception, Friday, May 19, 2017
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm with music by Charles Latham and Ben Riseling (of the Wigg Report). A review of Latham’s recently released album here.
For this Guest Room project, Bill Santen, Becky Brown, Rachel Goodwin, Martha Clippinger, Jess Willa Wheaton and Daniel Lichtman mold existing material into new drawing, painting, sculpture, video and performance. They observe, preserve, hoard, reconfigure and reenact.
Santen creates video portraits of people and objects. Like all documentarians use found rather than created subjects, he observes an immigrant fisherman and reveals the finding and preserving of objects on the Bronx waterfront.
Preservation becomes hoarding in Brown’s “Safe Keeping” series, in which discarded objects are stuffed together in obsessive, futile attempts at storage. Her drawings reconfigure found text in the format of paper products increasingly displaced by digital substitutes.
Goodwin works with paint, wood and found materials, building paintings, collages and constructions – where form and color accumulate, stack, and interact and hold meaning creating odd, disruptive, intense arrangements that suggest both a meditative and playful visual language. Inspired by how we consume our world and dispose of it her work resuscitates the old, broken, tortured objects we live with everyday.
Clippinger is a wonderfully democratic artist who makes art out of discarded pieces of wood without fetishizing her materials. Her use of hothouse colors and repeated geometric shapes adds a further zing to her work. The sources of her wall pieces range from game boards to Mexican and Southern folk art, which she reconfigures through a sensibility informed by a love of carnival colors and a passion for the geometric abstraction, going all the way back to the Bauhaus.
Wheaton‘s work finesses unrelated found printed images into pictorial and spatial confluence, often working from trash. The painting “Fabled Age,” for example, repurposes the background of a discarded newspaper clipping (orange curtains), a clearance-priced coloring book (cloud grid), and an emptied sticker sheet found on the ground (round dial). These aged materials are melded into a new version through oil paint, and through this process seek to produce conflicted space within multiple conventions simultaneously – from Cubism to the space of a flatbed scanner.
Lichtman‘s performances, videos and installations explore the structural and emotional ways in which different kinds of amateur broadcasters imagine their audiences. Using both appropriated and improvised material, Lichtman’s work considers the specific pathos of the lone creator of self-initiated public content – the fantasy, dramatics and versions of freedom involved in producing and believing in an imagined audience.
King of the Cockroaches draws its title from an ancient Arabic preservation myth: the king is invoked as an appeal to insects and worms to refrain from nibbling on important books and scrolls. “Since manuscripts were made with fish-glue, starch-paste, leather and other tasty substances, insect appetites were a constant problem to Arabic paper.”

MATERIA: A temporal collaboration at three atypical sites


On view on Friday, March 31, 2017 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm and on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.
Guest Room will host DYSTOPIA/DEMATERIALIZATION with The Old Shed on Gary Road between W. Poplar & Oleander in Carrboro hosting HETEROTOPIA/MATERIALIZATION and Apartment Gallery at Apt 10G, 881 MLK Jr. Blvd. in Chapel Hill hosting UTOPIA/REMATERIALIZATION.


Part One: Dematerialization/Dystopia
Artists: Allison Coleman, Luke Firle, Lindsay Metivier, Joy Meyer, and Vanessa Murray
Part One of Materia explores the concept of Dematerialization to it’s Dystopian ends.
In this show we dematerialize the referents of our art practices. We have deconstructed our art practices to their alchemical and discrete natures. By reducing, separating, and isolating our materials and concepts from their origins we aim to create a sense of entropy in the space.
Metivier’s bowl of fruit was left in the sunlight and is transformed by the slow decay of time. Firle’s unfulfilled urge to save and hoard all of his wood shavings becomes the silent remnants of cedar, walnut, pecan, and pine.
Meyer’s clipped faux fur was previously a performative substrate. Here the scraps twist and curl in a gradual disorder. Beneath it, the lambskin becomes an absurdist pedestal.  Coleman, a surrealist painter, offers an amassment of human hair as a nod to Oppenheimer’s tea cup and saucer as well as a reference to the bristles of a brush.
The surfaces of Murray’s paintings are emphasized through the accumulation of layers. The history of her process and decisions regarding color relationships have been scraped from her palette and the cavities of her paintings. The detritus remains become a precarious composition.
The presence of these artifacts in relationship to their representation as photographs creates another layer of disconnection as well as a sense of dislocation. This show intends to evoke a space of contemplative unease about the past and future.
>>Press for MATERIA