Weekly Update — Vox V visions

Here’s my review of the show at the Weekly. Below is my copy with some pictures.

“Vox V,” the national juried emerging art show, demonstrates that childhood memories, loss and sadness – themes at play in the art world for at least fifteen years — are still major obsessions.

Steve Cossman's Macbook animated portrait of Carrie Collins in Vox V
Steve Cossman’s Macbook animated portrait of Carrie Collins in Vox V


Selected and organized by Cerealart founder Larry Mangel and video artist Ryan Trecartin — featured this summer at the Fabric Workshop and Museum and in the New Museum’s Younger than Jesus show — Vox V continues to be “the” big emerging artist show in Philadelphia, drawing from both coasts and places in between. This is the fifth year Vox Populi has put out the call and the group received more than 400 applications from which Trecartin and Mangel selected around 100 works by 51 artists.

Cossman's animated portrait of Emily Glaubinger
Cossman’s animated portrait of Emily Glaubinger

The high point for me in a show with much solid work is Steve Cossman’s animated video portraits of local clothes designer Carrie Collins and artist Emily Glaubinger. The portraits—shown on two small Macbooks—look like paintings. From a distance you might think they were photos of two painted images. Up close you see that Carrie and Emily’s pupils are spinning like tumbling balls in the lottery wheel; their lips are twitching, and nothing at all is still. Art world gurus keep waiting for a breakthrough moment in painting. Well this feels like it, the moment where painting embraces new media and vice versa. I am very excited.



Elsewhere, video and sculpture look impressive in this sprawling show. There’s not a theme to the show but the overwhelming spirit in the gallery is of “dress up,” fantasy, and shrug-shouldered resignation. Photos by Jennifer Layzer of Barbie Dolls dressed as wrathful Salem witch hunters embody this spirit.

Jesse Greenberg's trash moderne altar piece.
Jesse Greenberg’s trash moderne altar piece.

Tyler Kline’s dangling tin-foil skulls adorned with black feather boas and headdresses greet you in the lobby and perfectly evoke thoughts of witches, goblins and Day of the Dead festivities. Elsewhere, Jesse Greenberg’s bauble-encrusted altar—made with what looks like decorated trash and a few dim lightbulbs—channels American culture’s current obsession with home decor and nesting. Call it Trash Moderne, Greenberg’s aesthetic would look great in an apartment makeover show on Bravo. It’s an artier shabby chic and a perfect counterpoint to the pervasive domestic landscape of sleek, cheap Ikea throw-aways.

Leslie Rogers
Leslie Rogers video, Blood, Rest, Void

Leslie Rogers’ video “Blood, Rest, Void” suggests a world of aliens among us. And Jonathan Monaghan’s beautiful, odd and compelling 3-D animation “Into Temptation” merges the animal and the architectural and surpasses Matthew Barney for satisfying non-narrative storytelling.  See the video at his website.

Jonathan Monaghan
Jonathan Monaghan, Into Temptation, 3-D animation

We live with ongoing wars and a looming eco-disaster and art is a reflection of those themes. What’s new here, especially in the videos by Cossman, Monaghan and Rogers, is the savvy technological package that delivers the message.

Something about Matthew Savitsky's twisted, Picasso-esque figure is fresh and intriguing
Something about Matthew Savitsky’s twisted, Picasso-esque figure is fresh and intriguing

“Vox V”: Through Aug. 2. Vox Populi, 319A N. 11th St., third fl. 215.238.1236.