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MIDDLE CHILD – Solo exhibition featuring Van Tuico Middle, referring to the in-between, represents a sort of precarity and insecurity. This state, in contrast, also refers to the center – center of attention, center of familiarity, center of thought. In Van Tuico’s new set of works, he parallels the idea of the middle in birth order with innocence and play as in child-like. As an artist who mostly works with readymade incorporated with industrial materials such as concrete or metal, his new assemblages conjure more familiar feelings and memories activated through the use of inexpensive toys. Consistently placed in the center, the trinkets are encased in plexiglass and are combined with found and made objects, while some were recreated for tactile engagement.
Because of Tuico’s art-making process, it is not surprising that he accumulated à sizable number of items that he finds fascinating even if not as art materials. These things are mostly attached to remembrances of friends and loved ones and are memorialized by making them part of his currently displayed assemblage works. The importance of each is elevated to becoming immaterial – with living presence and endowed with agency. As the artist creates interesting sometimes quirky and unexpected compositions, he also reminds us of the simple joys of our childhoods. Though this is his way of decluttering from a personal collection, even maybe a purging or letting go, Tuico hopes for more viewers to enjoy and contemplate about these objects as reminders of lives lived and conveyors of meaning.