David Bell & iris yirei hu
INFINITEJanuary 25 - February 26, 2020
Look to the nematodes! Squiggly and ravishing, their glittery bodies seduce soil critters to the garden jiggle. Pulsating in luscious worm poops, footloose and fancy free, they swim in delicious castings and swirl in our infinite feedback with their microbial neighbors. Our decay is a sexy thing, boo. With your fingers, take a deep dive into the dance pile to make a nutrient ball. Feed me! Let’s merge our bacterial communities in this steamy heat! My decay is your delight, and when you’re healthy, I’ll be as cute and sweaty as the millions of microbes that eat and excrete and live and die, so that your human is as alive as humus.
— iris yirei hu and David L. Bell
Infinite is a delightful plunge into the microbial world of our home compost. Under a microscope, we were introduced to nematodes swimming alongside their healthy kin of protozoa and actinobacteria by a soil scientist. Hoping to uplift the joy and surprise in seeing life in our compost, we handcrafted an infinite world within a storefront window from the sentient beings within the radius of our home, where life and decay are composted into healing and creativity. How can we work with wood, indigo, food waste, seeds, textiles, and paper in ways that are surprising, decaying, and regenerating as we breathe, feel, and make? Our experimental display — a collaborative seed blanket pieced together from hand painted portraits of plants native to California and their seeds, hand carved bowls, and our friends’ hands; fish spines that point to fragility and resilience; and a poem we wrote together and painted in the microbial mother indigo — is a loving tribute to the infinite workings of our immediate environment, where a multitude of earthlings continue to teach us to reimagine waste, climate resilience, and the sacred journey of emergence.
iris yirei hu (b. Los Angeles, CA) is an artist who paints, weaves, dyes, tells stories, and composts her lived reality into installations, color, and embodied collaborations that reverberate through time and space in tangible and cosmic ways. She works with artists, scientists, historians, keepers of traditions, and organizers to limn connections between people, places, and practices to explore possibilities of kinship. She sees making art and working with soil and fibers as ways to redeem the embodied intimacy we, subjects of empire, once had with the natural world. Selected exhibitions include Plug-in ICA (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI), Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Feminist Center for Creative Work (Los Angeles, CA), Lenfest Center for the Arts (New York, NY), and Visitor Welcome Center (Los Angeles, CA). Public art commissions include a collaborative human sundial at Los Angeles State Historic Park with ICA LA and Los Angeles Nomadic Division (2021), mural wraps at California State University Dominguez Hills (2020), and bus and rail posters for LA Metro (2016). She has held residencies at the Feminist Center for Creative Work (2018), Carrizozo AIR (2020), and LA Cleantech Incubator (2021). She earned her BA from UCLA and MFA from Columbia University. http://irisyireihu.com
David L. Bell (b. Tampa, FL) is an artist and independent arts organizer who directs the Los Angeles-based art gallery Visitor Welcome Center, which he founded in 2016. Much of his work and collaborative projects are inspired by his upbringing on a southern California ecological preserve, where he was raised in a family of environmentalists. He is interested in storytelling, lyricism, and craft, and through the artist-run space Visitor Welcome Center, he works with artists to cultivate tangible and
creative possibilities of lifelong artistic and soulful connections. Through connection, acknowledgement, and relationship building, art becomes a possibility towards truth and reconciliation. In the past, Bell worked both as a firefighter for the US Forest Service and as a park ranger at Upper Tampa Bay State Park. His education is informed by hip hop, and he studied visual art at Metafora School of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain and at UCLA. Currently, he is an MFA candidate in Environmental Art and Social Practice at UC Santa Cruz. http://visitorwelcomecenter.art
Installation view, Infinite, 2021. Right Window, San Francisco.