Just Cause

May 9 - June 4, 2017

Maria Agureeva
Benjamin Brett
Juan Sánchez


A man wanders a beautiful but troubled landscape. Runs, drives, boats, and flies. He can benignly interact with many things. He can also blow shit up. (Enemies everywhere.) This person is simply on a mission, and the cause is just, because...well, just because.

-description of the blockbuster video game franchise “Just Cause.”

Black Ball Projects in collaboration with Residency Unlimited is pleased to announce Just Cause, an exhibition of three artists whose work can be viewed through the contrasting but overlapping spheres of thought and instinct. The title of the show is a play on the balancing act of committing to a “just cause” by way of conceptual concerns and intellectual reason, paired with doing something “just because”—instinctual and driven by a sense of chance and play.

All three artists are current residents of Residency Unlimited and hail from Russia, Spain, and the UK respectively. Maria Agureeva, Juan Sánchez, and Benjamin Brett explore painting, sculpture, and process in disparate ways but their work intersects where free will and “politics” collide. Politics defined here as:

the total complex of relations between people living in society

What should be considered alongside this definition is the unspoken but critical role that the individual plays in influencing and deciphering this “complex of relations.”

Maria Agureeva uses her body to cast and create colorful and dynamic sculptural forms that reverberate with a kind of organic, bodily metamorphosis. These sculpture-painting hybrids invoke our universal desires for synthetic and material plasticity alongside the want for new skins of our own.  

Benjamin Brett paints quasi-abstract, quasi-narrative paintings. Brett invokes both the “vessel” and the “Macguffin” as points of reference. The vessel points to an open-ended starting point from which the paintings can be populated by the artist’s personal and societal experience. The Macguffin, a narrative device coined by Alfred Hitchcock, describes the physical object the protagonists pursue, yet it has no intrinsic value beyond propping up the narrative to pursue it. Thus, if the pursuit is the narrative, then likewise, the painting is the concept.

Juan Sánchez employs chance and poetics through his interdisciplinary practice. Sánchez looks to slow down aspects of daily life to highlight their impermanence and perhaps, beauty. This quotidian focus often comments on aspects of labor and function, where for example, in previous works, he has juxtaposed painting’s weighty history alongside a relationship to common household cleaning fluids.