The World is Not a Calm Place
Thursday, April 14th, 2011 » See more posts from From the Curatorial Fellows, Interviews, Studio Visits
Artists: Steven Frost, Soo Shin, Ivan LOZANO, Jesse Butcher, David R. Harper
John Baldessari’s remark, “Life is not always calm,” provides inspiration for the title given to the selected works of this group of artists who, through brazen gestures of resistance, seize contextual objects and fibers to manipulate them for their own poignant commentaries. Purposely charging themselves with the challenge of responding to that which they cannot control, the artists take on such weighty source materials as folk and religious tradition, queer aesthetics, American iconography of sport and pop culture, and the natural world–alive and in mortality.
Removing and repurposing the detritus, debris, and other ephemera of their built environments, the artists are afforded the opportunity to attach strong statements, both personal and cultural, to the rules and the systems they see at work in contemporary society. The variously rendered monuments that arrive as quiet protests channel their hijacked imageries through employing techniques such as exaggerated scale, distorted color and simple transposition. Provided is a clever trickery that forces the viewer to pause at the uncanny and reflect on the possible intent for new meanings.
John Baldessari is quoted in Ben Bamsey’s article “The Sum of The Parts Equals John Baldessari,” Artworks Magazine (Winter 2007).