Guttation, 2023

A solo exhibition by Dan Lam 
16 December 2023 - 06 January 2024 

NEW YORK CITY—Some might find the textures and hues of Dan Lam’s solo exhibition Guttation at Hashimoto Contemporary visually challenging, but that’s the point. This new series of alien-like sculptures was inspired by a peculiar yet vital purging process for vascular plants and fungi called “guttation,” where plants expel excessive nutrients in their system. Continuing to explore the tension between desire and disgust, the Dallas-based artist suspends the attractive and 

repulsive aspects of natural oozing, seeping, weeping, and gushing through her chaotically controlled studio process. Exploring guttation through over one sixty works of various sizes, Lam suggests that something necessary might be vile; something vile might be beautiful. 

 Known for her colorful drip sculptures, the techniques used to create this body of work mark a new period of studio exploration that resulted in fresh textures and colors. With the sensibilities of a mad scientist, the young artist mixes and pours elixirs of artificial and natural plastics, including resin, polyurethane, foam, and acrylic, to conjure her bizarre, grotesque forms. Adding dots of blue, purple, red, or brown under a translucent epidermis, Lam pushes familiar materials into unconventional embodiments, daring viewers to confront their own entitlement to a “beautiful” art object. 

 While Lam took inspiration from all types of guttation, she revered the Devil Tooth fungus: a mushroom that weeps glistening tears of ruby-red moisture during periods of rapid energy release. Like the Devil Tooth, Lam’s sculptures exemplify how all forms of life adapt to environmental circumstances in ways that might be unappealing to other life forms. Though inspired by something remarkable, the blend of textures and pigmentation might provoke the same feelings of unease or disgust aroused from a glimpse of the bleeding, unpalatable mushroom. Occupying a sweet spot between ravishing and revolting, the works in Guttation reveal an ugly truth—survival isn’t always pretty. 

Hashimoto Contemporary is a contemporary art gallery originally founded in 2013 by Ken Harman Hashimoto. In 2023 the gallery announced two new partners, Dasha Matsuura and Jennifer Rizzo. Our roster consists of an eclectic blend of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists working. Hashimoto Contemporary provides a platform for artists whose identities and subjects have been historically relegated to the margins, as well as artists whose practices fit neatly into the canon of art history. You can find us at the Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco), the Lower East Side (New York City) and Culver City (Los Angeles) where our three spaces organize new exhibitions monthly.