Sam uses they/them/theirs pronouns.
sam Mack’s work draws from conversations about institutional critique: who dictates the boundaries between institutions and bodies, how are divisions made between them and who enacts or receives force. Mack’s work exploits the pedestal, iconography of the gallery and museum, and positions various methods of display to complicate the narrative of the gallery or museum as neutralized space. The pedestal, a form of display furniture often meant to disappear, is activated in Mack’s work, declaring importance or threatening destabilization of the art object it is intended to serve.
Mack’s installations provide a grammar of material that utilizes coded languages of institutional spaces, traditions of queer-coding, charged word-play. Ceramics objects are fragile and necessitate care. The three-handled ceramic vessel references the Ancient Greek pottery form of the hydria, a three-handled water jug. the three handles representing the alternative, the third option and a non-binary approach to hold an object. Mack reinterprets and remakes the hydria constructed with holes or bottomless forms, breaking the expectations for how a utilitarian vessel should function. They exploit an intentional wrongness of craft and material highlighting the form’s failure by breaking itself or causing breakage. The hydria serves multiple functions in their work as a stand in for the body, a marker of institutional influence, and as point of fragility.
The precariousness of the installations forces the viewer to give care to the objects in the exhibition space, asking them to respect the boundaries of the objects and of the exhibition or not— causing the objects to break. As the viewer navigates the space of the exhibition, they are made aware of their physical and theoretical body—implicating them as well as the artist in the work.