New York City’s ABXY Gallery presents It’s A Jungle Out Here by Corey Wash

“I’M always evolving my ideas,” says artist Corey Wash. She’s speaking to the vision that brought about The Process Room, which is the entry point to her new show, an experience-triptych titled It’s a Jungle Out Here. This first room, at Lower East Side’s new ABXY Gallery—which was opened last year by veteran art advisor Allison Barker – is above street level. It offers a glimpse into the underbelly of the fuller exhibit (which is made up of two additional spaces) – drawings, sketches, and paintings of all shapes, sizes and styles jam-pack the walls. It’s a literalised depiction of Wash’s mind, her own process. It’s cluttered, seemingly discordant, and spans work, archives or visual memento from nearly three years of preparation for this show.

Its a Jungle Out ThereCorey Wash by Erik Bardin Photography

Its a Jungle Out ThereAllison Barker by Erik Bardin Photography

“Random thoughts, ideas, to-do lists,” she says, as she points from an illustration of a proto It’s a Jungle Out Here floor plan to another illustration of a foot on a skateboard. Random, maybe, but nonetheless all a part of her process. “You get an idea of what you’re about to walk into.”

Image by Corey Wash

Work on wood panels for It’s a Jungle Out HereWork on wood panels for It’s a Jungle Out Here

ABXY’s main gallery space, which you descend into from The Process Room, features three walls populated with Wash’s artwork: paint marker on large, brightly painted canvases, or smaller iterations of her cartoon-style paintings on wood panels. These cartoons, presented in scenes or sequences, are her most identifiable pieces.

She’s known in the press, on Instagram, and in gallery settings for her dark, thick black paint marker on paper, woodblock, or canvas. (Think: Raymond Pettibon meets Shantell Martin.) The subject matter is pointed, unabashed, and political, often focusing on class, race, capitalism, and societal hypocrisy. Although tangential to her usual points of focus in her illustrations, this show is her oeuvre’s formal debut of the subject of ecological justice.

This show also represents an expansion of medium. In a small inlet of the main gallery space is The Forest, with a lowered ceiling of wire mesh, canopied with woven synthetic vines, moss, and other flora. This portion of the exhibit has monitored viewing, with only a few people permitted entry at a time, allowing for an almost tranquil, uninterrupted transportation into the forested atmosphere. The lighting and sound, an aural illustration of jungle life that echoes throughout the whole exhibit, were designed (in partnership with Wash) by fellow artist Bryan Ellingson.

The effect this style of installation art – immersive, experiential, momentarily reality-shifting— can have on its viewers is to foil the normative perspective-state, to draw attention to either what’s there and different, or what’s not “there” in real-world circumstances, and, hopefully, why.

Work by Corey Wash with Ben A Wiener

Its a Jungle Out There Work by Corey Wash

Its a Jungle Out ThereWork by Corey Wash

For It’s a Jungle Out Here, Wash creates a contradictory environment within the urban-space of the “concrete jungle” that, at its simplest, brings to light the general neglect of the natural world. Within the hug of her intimate, simulated green-space is a reminder of our negligence of the globally deteriorating ecosystems around us. Wash refers to her set-up as a “post-Trump apocalyptic, futuristic rainforest.” A jungle with a light show, damned in its symbolic impermanence, existing for and because of the voyeurism of its destroyers.

Corey Wash (right)

Corey Wash

Its a Jungle Out TherePhotograph by Luis Alarcon

by Emily Rae Pellerin

Photographs: courtesy ABXY Gallery

New York City’s ABXY Gallery presents It’s a Jungle Out Here, a solo exhibition by Corey Wash, until April 17, 2018. Visit the exhibition landing page or for more information.

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