The Humidity won’t kill you at Automat but it syncs nicely with the art
Joshua sees a summer show at Automat that is right in tune with the sticky Philadelphia weather. -Artblog editors

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The current Philadelphia weather could not be more apropos for Automat’s light-hearted collective show titled, It’s the Humidity that will Kill You. Curated by Scott Schultheis and C.J Stahl, the exhibition brings together works that attempt to capture the heavy and almost tactile weight of late-summer heat. Visiting the gallery in the early evening, the air-conditionless space practically seeped with moisture from the humidity, while a hot fan blew hot air. Under any other circumstances, this would make viewing art almost unbearable; however, considering the theme, the sweat trickling down the back of the neck is not only complementary, but almost necessary to fully comprehend and appreciate the works whose sole aim seems to be to comment on or indeed mimic late summer weather conditions.

sculpture
Brian Artigue “Dead, Dying, and Nearly Obsolete”, French polished cypress, commercial bug light trap, replacement Motorola Blackberry charger, polyurethane paint

In addition to the two curators, who are both PAFA graduates, It’s the Humidity that will Kill You also features works by Jen Rickert, Darcy van Buskirk, and Elliot Walters and by PAFA alumni Brian Artigue, Justin Bean, and Scott Cooper.

Saying Ughhh to the weather

Darcy van Buskirk’s Untitled (2015) perhaps best establishes both the mood of the show and of any weather-weary person during the month of August: “Ughhh!” Created from pipe cleaners and mirrored glass, the work literally spells out the sentiment that all the other works attempt to convey. However straightforward in its execution, it is relatable to anyone who finds him or herself overheated during the summer months.

Untitled (ugh)
Darcy Van Buskirk, Untitled 13” x 3” x 66” paint on mirrored glass, pipe cleaners 2015

In the corner glows “Dead, Dying and Nearly Obsolete” (2014), by Brian Artigue, bringing together polished Cypress wood, a commercial bug light trap, a Blackberry charger, and paint. Although attached to the wall and smaller in size, the work creates the sense of sitting upon a patio during the waning weeks of summer. One can practically hear bugs being zapped; in fact, the zapper actually has a collection of dead bugs that have perished throughout the exhibition, making the work seem all the more realistic. The open windows and hot air blowing in completes the environment that the work attempts to convey.

Bug zappers and disjointed imagery for weather that can rile you

Scott Schultheis Outside there is a storm and inside there are mice 36” x 43.5”, acrylic and oil on canvas 2015
Scott Schultheis
Outside there is a storm
and inside there are mice
36” x 43.5”,
acrylic and oil on canvas
2015

In Scott Schultheis’ work, “Outside there is a Storm, Inside there are Mice” (2015) a surrealist environment is depicted with a sparse and absurd environment. Schultheis attempts to confront the banal and the personal by incorporating both generic symbols and personal memory. The canvas is overwhelmed by a desert-sand colored background, upon which is are superimposed several objects. A glass of milk spills from a tilting shelf onto a checkered tile floor where also rests a TV and antlers; above is a window, a hose, a fist, and a smoke detector. The fist incorporates both the banal and the personal — parodying the fist Emoji, it exemplifies both a generic symbol and acknowledges that Emojos are a growing form of artistic expression. Through the TV screen can be seen a beautiful bucolic landscape that can almost be considered a tease in this sparse and lame space. Here again Schultheis incorporates the banal by basing the landscape off of a Google search of “pretty landscape.”

BBQ of Brussels Sprouts

C.J. Stahl Untitled (House Plant With Stand) 28" x 16" x 8" bronze, unfired clay, steel, plastic, lamp parts, avocado pits, fabric, spray paint; stand- plywood, plexiglass, adhesive vinyl, chrome furniture legs 2015
C.J. Stahl
Untitled (House Plant
With Stand)
28″ x 16″ x 8″
bronze, unfired clay,
steel, plastic, lamp
parts, avocado pits,
fabric, spray paint;
stand- plywood,
plexiglass, adhesive
vinyl, chrome furniture
legs
2015

In C.J Stahl’s peace, “Untitled (House Plant with Stand)” (2015), the viewer is confronted with the “weirdly otherly.” Roughly taking the form of a Brussels sprout, the work is created through the direct appropriation of everyday use items and consumer culture. The furniture-like pedestal further situates it in a domestic space. The black paint that covers the entire work is indicative of a charred plastic houseplant that one would expect in the remnants of a house fire — perhaps taking the theme of summer heat to an all-new level.

There’s a famous quote attributed (apparently wrongly) to Mark Twain: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

It’s the Humidity proves that you can actually do something about the weather — make some art.

It’s the Humidity that will Kill You can be seen at Automat Collective at 319 N. 11th Street in Philadelphia. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from 2-6 p.m. or by appointment. The exhibition can be seen through August 23rd, 2015.

Tags

automat, brian artigue, c.j. stahl, darcy van buskirk, it's the humidity that will kill you, scott schultheis

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