The Lack of Desire

January 17 – April 20, 2008

Joseph Shahadi,
Garotte (sex doll), 2006, digital c-print, 20 x 30 inches

The Lack of Desire 

BAC Gallery
111 Front Street, Suite 218,

Curator: Scott Henstrand

Thursday, January 17th, 6-8 pm

Thursday, February 7, 6-8 pm

Speakers include the artists, curator Scott Henstrand and Janet Thormann, Lacanian theorist and editor. More Info

Thursday, March 6, 7 pm More Info

View Exhibition Images

about the exhibition

The Lack of Desire seeks to visually represent, from a side glance, what our desires intimate: the universal lack existing in the multiple recesses of our psyche from which our fleeting and never-ending desire springs. The artworks chosen for this exhibition offers the viewer a way to be present with lack rather than escape into the endless feedback loop of desire.

In many ways, human beings desire to keep desire from being fulfilled. Without it, we would be empty, our Self would disappear. We hunt and create objects that articulate desire, but simultaneously point to its inherent lack. In fact, lack is revealed as the positive object and desire becomes a nebulous abstraction.

How do we experience this lack? Desire drives narrative. We spin our tale around desire. Lack is the absence of this narrative and reads as a 'block,' a loss of narrative and direction. This is manifest in an individual viewed from behind or the smoke of an ambiguous fire. It is disclosed in the incomprehensible blankness of a doll, inanimate and pre-language.

about the artists

Photographers Carey Denniston, Gary Heller and Joelle Jensen give us interiors of human design but without human presence; highlighting the objectness of the artifacts we collect in our demand to fulfill our insatiable needs. In the only direct sexual references in the show, Carl Gunhouse and Joseph Sahadi reflect on the mundane drive of sexual desire, while Carol Radsprecher hysterically looks past signs and the signage of gender. With the work of Sara Katz and Hyo-Jeong Nam, we are left wondering about a demand that is never filled, either in celebrity or the reading of a newspaper. Jill Magi and Heather Willems point to the obfuscating nature of language itself in the similarities of a book rent of its usual signs and one overfilled with the redundantly scribbled phrase 'I love you.' Other attempts at representing lack include work by Miya Andostanoff, Lisa Dahl, Joshua Edwards, Lee Heekin, Luke Herron, June Kim, Maria Kondratiev, Jennifer Lehe, Ayanna McCloud, Richard Snyder, Carlo Vialu, and Janna Washington.

Two evenings during the exhibition will be devoted to further exploration of the Lack of Desire. On Thursday, February 7, 2008 BAC Gallery presents a discussion about particular works and the overall theme of The Lack of Desire with the curator, artists and Janet Thormann. Ms. Thormann, representing the San Francisco Society for Lacanian Studies, teaches English at the College of Marin in California, is an editor for the Journal of European Psychoanalysis, and has published on Old and Middle English poetry and contemporary writing using Lacanian theory. On the first Thursday in March, there will be a viewing of videos, including Freund Hein by Elizabeth Smolarz.


Scott Henstrand considers himself just another artist producing more artifacts, filling Place in an attempt to glance under the defective matrix. His most recent exhibition, The Ambiguity of the Social Hysterical Revelation is on view at Duke University, December 10, 2007 - January 13, 2008.

Download The Lack of Desire Press Release Download The Lack of Desire Press Release Lack_of_Desire_Press_Release_FINAL-2.pdf