June in Chinatown – Great member shows at Vox, raucous New Dreamz at Space 1026 and more!

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I saw a bunch of good things this June, including performance, video and a wonderful installation by Kirk McCarthy at TandM Gallery on the 4th floor of the Vox building. Here’s my brief overview.

The New Dreamz, aka Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Rose Luardo and company. Here, AJW puts everyone through their "follow the leader" game. He's cold, and they all suddenly are cold.
The New Dreamz, aka Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Rose Luardo and company. Here, AJW puts everyone through their “follow the leader” game. He’s cold, and they all suddenly are cold.

Libby and I were out First Friday but because things were running late, we were too, so we only saw two things –  the 5 into 1 show at Moore (very good – congratulations to all the graduates in the show, including artblog contributors, Lucy Heurich and Veronica Perez!) and the New Dreamz performance at Space 1026 (amazing, brave and funny, with moments of eye-rolling silliness).

Sunday at the Vox building

I was sorry that Practice wasn’t open because I am curious about the mischievous “We Paint Houses” show, which does not mean what you think it means.  Meanwhile, the excellent news is that Vox Populi has great member shows this month.  Visually satisfying gems by Ben Will, Bobby Gonzales, Beth Heinly and company, and Will Haughery feature some eeriness and lots of rich, diverse content.

Bobby Gonzales

Bobby Gonzales, photo collage with archival pigment prints.
Bobby Gonzales, photo collage with archival pigment prints.

Bobby Gonzales’s photo collages, made from cut color pigment prints, play peekaboo with formal concerns and suggest a lusty as well as contemplative imagination prone to seriously dry humor. The twisted limbs of the self portrait above are so well done, and the work suggests both a Surrealist moment and some kind of new-fangled state of consciousness. The artist’s short video, made in collaboration with Catherine Pancake, “Prosperity Consciousness (Casting A Spell) 2014,” is a tour de force in which, to the sound of a tinkling bell, coins float up around the eyes-closed artist.  The magical money — or something — awakens the artist to a new state of awareness. Entwining of ideas of Zen consciousness and money madness is nicely done, calling both into question and affirming them at the same time.  This video a must see for sure (clip below).

Ben Will

Ben Will’s “Stasis Chamber” is a handsome, rakish devil, with a freakish feel of unfinished business about it. I read both sci fi (Star Wars) and dystopian architecture into those reaching, gun-like protrusions.

Ben Will, Stasis Chamber, 2014
Ben Will, Stasis Chamber, 2014

 

Will Haughery

Will Haughery’s “Chutes and Ladders” installation uses commercial display cases the way David Altmejd does — to compartmentalize the world, the past, present and future and to suggest something sinister about commerce.  As with Beth Heinly and friends’ installation, “Supernatural,” there is a gamesmanship and a suggestion of a secret society commemorating its goings on.

Will Haughery, detail, Chutes and Ladders. Compartmentalizing the past and present.
Will Haughery, detail, Chutes and Ladders. Compartmentalizing the past and present.

 Supernatural

Supernatural, installation detail, by Beth Heinly, Kelsey Morse-Brown, Oz Deshaw and Scott Wheelis
Supernatural, installation detail, by Beth Heinly, Kelsey Morse-Brown, Oz Deshaw and Scott Wheelis

If you’re not an afficionado of the television show “Supernatural,” you will be perplexed by “Supernatural.”  Luckily there is a tutorial  in the gallery that will explain if you have time.  And, next weekend, both Saturday and Sunday (June 21 and 22) there will be tours of the exhibit, which will unmask all its secrets. I believe this is about fans of the show and about fandom in general (but I may be wrong). The show, by Beth Heinly, Kelsey Morse-Brown, Oz Deshaw and Scott Wheelis, re-creates props used in “Supernatural.” The object-making is terrific, especially that toothy dagger.  And the serious, museum-ish display is successful, giving something a little silly a mock-seriousness it needs.

Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Andrea Gaydos Landau, new member at TIger Strikes Asteroid. Detail of installation.
Andrea Gaydos Landau, new member at TIger Strikes Asteroid. Detail of installation.

New Tiger member Andrea Gaydos Landau’s solo show of mixed media collages and sculptural wall pieces plays with ideas of dissipation and cohesion.  These are elegant, almost stately works.  Noreen Kress will tell you all about them in an upcoming post!

Grizzly Grizzly

With an intriguing title, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” the founding members of the Grizzly collective revisit Philly (all but one live elsewhere now) with works that range from forlorn (found contraband t-shirts from Bruce Wilhelm; shelves of matter from Matthew Alden Price depicting his art materials in the 2009 tax year) to downright beautiful, albeit puzzling (Mike Ellyson’s neon “Pereda”). The founders brought incredible energy to Grizzly and somehow that energy’s missing here. But it’s great to see the group together again, albeit metaphysically.

Mike Ellyson, Pereda, neon
Mike Ellyson, Pereda, neon

Marginal Utility

Skateboarding love is all over Marginal Utility‘s walls right now. Former Philly guy Phil Jackson’s photos of the skateboard subculture are excellent, as always. There’s a black+white film projection about skateboarding by Rick Charnoski and Coan Buddy Nichols on view as well.  Lauren Findlay will tell you more soon in her review.

TandM Gallery

 

Kirk McCarthy, detail of shelf that runs around the room supporting objects of whimsy both manufactured and hand-made.
Kirk McCarthy, detail of shelf that runs around the room supporting objects of whimsy both manufactured and hand-made.

 

Kirk McCarthy’s show “Liminal Systems” at the 4th floor TandM is a revelation. Comprised of hundreds of large and small objects, a free-standing linear sculpture, wall sculptures and things stacked and leaned up against walls, the installation is both chaos and order, like the harmonic convergence of good design, no design and serendipity.

Kirk McCarthy, detail of grouping on shelf
Kirk McCarthy, Taxonomies in Flux, detail of grouping on shelf

As you walk through the space looking down on the found and handmade objects in “Taxonomies in Flux, ongoing series,” 2011-2014, what you see on the jury-rigged shelves held up by wood chunks approximates a specimen table, perhaps from an archeological dig.

Kirk McCarthy, detail of grouping on the shelf
Kirk McCarthy, Taxonomies in Flux, detail of grouping on the shelf

The placing of objects on shelves in careful groupings reminds me of Gabriel Orozco’s displays of matter only here McCarthy seems fueled less by social criticism than by formal and materials’ concerns.  That said, some things do come in for criticism, or at least questioning, like domesticity and kitsch (or comfort) design. For example: the silver platter with a blob of poured or cast epoxy on it, which seems to comment on the worth of precious family heirlooms and rituals; and the kitsch under the magnifying glass, which is truly hilarious when you come upon it half-way through the first shelf; both instances show astute placement of objects for a purpose other than simply formal interplay of color, texture and materials.  Perhaps the use of the found object imbues the work with the social context, because those objects come front-loaded with meaning (tradition, comfort), which this new context subverts.

Kirk McCarthy, linear sculpture
Kirk McCarthy, linear sculpture

The large freestanding sculpture, what McCarthy calls one of his  “Ultraform Systems,” is a linear construction of wire and epoxy. The ghostly anthropomorphic object is like a 3D version of a drawing, perhaps made with a computer program.

The artist, who moved here from Houston with his wife, Jackie Tileston, has not shown much in town, finding it somewhat hard to “break in” to the scene, he said.  That is a shame because this is serious good work.

With a BFA and MFA in ceramics, an MFA in sculpture and an MID in industrial design, McCarthy is mixing and matching the best of all of those disciplines. The installation feels composed, and yet mutable; if you turn your back on it, it just might morph into something different. Catch it while you can.  The show is up until June 21. Contact the artist to see it.  kirkmccarthy1@gmail.com or 267.825.3109

Tags

andrea gaydos landau, andrew jeffrey wright, ben will, beth heinly, bobby gonzales, grizzly grizzly, kirk mccarthy, mike ellyson, new dreamz, rose luardo, space 1026, tandm gallery, tiger strikes asteroid, vox populi, will haughery

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