First Friday at 1026, Vox and Tiger

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The show Yesterday Today is Tomorrow at Space 1026, if described in one word, is quaint. This is not necessarily an unfavorable assessment. The artists are certainly intentional in a way which is playful and aloof, and I find that quaint.

One of Craig Hein's small clay sculptures.

Craig Hein’s small clay objects are very modest. No room-sized installations here. He molds things which are mostly recognizable – carpets, dirt piles and hand trucks – yet rather elusive. For instance, why is the hand truck loaded with mounds of dirt and a flag? These tiny, perhaps easy to overlook creations allow for an astonishing amount of possibilities in their simplicity.

John Slaby and Tobias Waite, the exhibition’s other artists round out the show in two dimensions. Slaby’s suburban scenes are composed of skateboards, hair, trains, buildings, yards and well, more hair. Undoubtedly this takes many viewers back to days of youthful rebellion and infrequent haircuts. The flat green yards and train cars reinforce the familiarity of these Anywhere-USA landscapes.

Waite’s creations scintillate between pure pattern and subject. Horde, one of the show’s highlights, shows just the weapons of a perceived mob of people poking through waves of color. Both fun and potentially critical, I think this piece is somewhat revealing of our troubled economic and social climate.

Vox Populi’s September exhibiton is as diverse as it is overwhelming. One group exhibition, Paradise, explores the recession and its impact through large-scale, documentary style photos and a video calling for the return of the Works Progress Administration of the 30’s.

Jamie Dillon's installation at Vox Populi

Jamie Dillon offers the most visually interesting, if most obtuse, work in the show. The front fender of a Dodge Magnum sits idly near the center of a room. Having previously been twisted out of form, perhaps in some past accident, it mimics the pinkish streaks of paint smeared along the four walls. If this piece has any distinct meaning, it is unapparent, but standing between the crumple zone of this car and the marks on the walls, I found myself spending more time with this single piece than any other.

Two of David Kontra's paintings at Vox

The showstopper at Vox, though, is undoubtedly David Kontra. This almost completely blind painter dives headlong into biting social criticisms and doesn’t look back. Questioning America’s overindulgence, greed and apathy, Kontra takes shots at a number of sources from the Bush Administration to the Westboro Baptists to the average American that sits idly by drinking beer and watching TV. Painting a quarter inch at a time, as if “looking through a straw” as he puts it, these gnarled images do well to reinforce his messages.

Cardboard sign from Adam Blumberg

The most amusing September exhibition I encountered was almost certainly Adam Blumberg’s Punctum(s) at Tiger Strikes Asteroid. A show of seeming refuse and witty banter, Blumberg creates some signs in the style of those held by homeless people asking for change, except encouraging the readers to “Jump! You Fuckers” or asserting that “I Wish I Had Your $Millions of Problems.” Both irreverent and relevant, some pieces are simply word bubbles on loose-leaf paper.

One piece is a plaster and wooden contraption, a beer bong, painted golden-bronze, and looking more like a broken bugle than a drinking device. The do-it-yourself, low cost, drinking-away-of-sorrows approach to Blumberg’s show make it worth a few hearty chuckles and perhaps the hankering for a beer… although I prefer a glass, myself.

Tags

adam blumberg, beer bong, craig hein, david kontra, jamie dillon, john slaby, space 1026, tiger strikes asteroid gallery, tobias waite, vox populi gallery

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