Housed in the closet-sized space of Napoleon, “Pleased to Meet You” is an apropos name: The three artists, whose work occupies the room, provide a brief, concise introduction to their style and inspirations, just that, nothing more. The choice of pieces on display is a teaser, a carefully-selected sample of what defines each artist.
Alexis Nutini, Christina P. Day and Matt Ziemke — three new members of the artist-run space — are all skilled at repurposing symbols, but each approaches his or her work with a different objective in mind.
Christina P. Day’s work is the first point of contact for visitors. A white-washed, immaculate Polaroid camera sits on a pedestal in the middle of the room. Among her influences, the visual language of architecture is notable. She approaches her found art constructions like a carpenter, and it shows: the Polaroid has the antiseptic appearance of a small-scale architectural model.
Her other piece, “Blue Brick 45,” is a found 45 case whose interior is done over with wallpaper that recalls a 1950s kitchen. She uses objects with clear nostalgic significance.
Alexis Nutini’s prints are impressionistic collages of his early life. With a background spanning Mexico and the U.S., he uses stencils and paint on wood to combine images that represent his transitory upbringing. These pieces are charmingly eclectic and unmannered, with ink that bleeds over lines and borders speaking to his cross-cultural background. There’s also meshing of organic and manmade images, but it’s never immediately obvious what any of the images are supposed to be – and herein lies the one stumbling block in his work. The pieces are not terribly inclusive of the viewer; since everything in these busy prints on wood is so open to interpretation, the viewer is left guessing at what she is looking at and what it could possibly mean.
Well aware of the conflict of finding manmade structures beautiful, Matt Ziemke goes with it regardless. His 3D miniature pieces use shapes and structures found in oil rigs, roads and bridges, and transform what are essentially cold, utilitarian forms into something more playful. The works don’t concern themselves much with the impact the real world infrastructures hinted at here have on the land. Although, pieces like “Conglomerate No. 2” are aesthetically attractive, neon-bright, and – most tellingly – precarious in some way, which suggests he is diminishing their authority. It’s a neat way of breaking their power. There’s something cleverly evasive about his approach, because it eliminates the imposing nature of these structures in the service of rationalizing his fascination.
“Pleased to Meet You” effectively makes use of the limited space available to present a distilled version of what each artist has to offer. It’s a minimalistic, but no less thorough, introduction. The show is up to Aug. 31.