To all of my neighbors | Mackenzie Urban


May 2019

GEORGIA is excited to present Mackenzie Urban's "To all of my neighbors" curated by Megan Gafford with a special performance by Esther Hernandez.


  • Opening Reception | Friday May 3 | 6-10pm | Performance by Esther Hernandez at 7pm

  • Open Hours | Saturdays and Sundays throughout May | 1-5pm

Mackenzie Urban is preoccupied by the tenuousness of our social cohesion. As she completes her BA in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, Urban wonders why — if we are nearly genetically identical — are we so socially divided? Her education leaves her unprepared to answer this question; it can neither be examined under a microscope nor isolated in a Petri dish. She turns instead toward sculpture.

In "To all of my neighbors," her materials are fence fragments bound together like a rope bridge. The wood wraps around the gallery, twisting into shadows that suggest the dark places in every human heart. And yet, by dismantling a device that separates us to build one that connects us, Urban is ultimately hopeful that our communities are resilient. Urban dedicates her installation “to all of my neighbors” and asks each of us to consider the communities in our own neighborhoods. This positions the installation as site specific to GEORGIA, an urban gallery space, and directs our attention inward to reflect on our tribal nature.

A performance by Esther Hernandez will pair with Urban’s installation on opening night. Hernandez often focuses on the comedy and tragedy of human relations, and for this new work, she will construct an exquisite corpse poem with the neighbors living around GEORGIA. Her composition will stitch together these contributions culminating in a reading of the entire poem at 7pm. In this way, Hernandez expands Urban’s dedication into an explicit invitation to GEORGIA’s neighbors. Hernandez is an artist light of foot, nimbly reacting to stimuli; and so, though her poem will necessarily have an unpredictable result, we can anticipate a touching take on the night’s theme.

Mackenzie Urban is an emerging multidisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture, installation, and photography. She studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is set to receive her BA in 2019 in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology with a minor in sculpture. In examining what exactly it means to be human, Urban draws from her intensive natural science background as well as topics related to the social sciences. She is based in Colorado, where her work has been shown at Valkarie Gallery, the Arvada Center, the Museum of Boulder, and RedLine Contemporary Art Center.

Esther Hernandez is a self-taught interdisciplinary artist and recent resident at Redline and Platte Forum. She has worked with teens at the Museum of Contemporary Art through the “Failure Lab” program and her work has been exhibited two years in a row by Arthyve’s Archives as Muse program, she is also the featured artist for April’s Untitled Final Friday event at the Denver Art Museum this year. Through a variety of mediums such as interactive relational performance, living sculpture and video, she explores love, connection, social norms, ritual and play, with a surreal and sometimes situationist type of absurdity. So much of her work is devising situations through which she is able to examine participants within experiences she has designed. She structures performances in which the viewers show up expecting a show, but very quickly become the key players of the pieces themselves.

Megan Gafford received her MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016, and her BA from the University of New Orleans in 2011. She uses unsettling scientific materials like radiation and cybernetics as an art medium; by making those materials beautiful, she mingles eeriness and elegance together. Gafford’s research focuses on the tension between pursuing knowledge and curiosity killing the cat. She often wonders about the blind nature of science, and she uses her work as a way to ask others to wonder about it, too. Gafford's work has been exhibited at galleries and museums nationally, including David B Smith Gallery in Denver, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Backyard Ballroom in New Orleans. She is currently based in Denver, Colorado, where she recently completed an artist-in-residence at RedLine Contemporary Art Center.