Jim Kempner Fine Art Underground is pleased to present LICKED SUCKED STACKED STUCK: A Confectionery History of Contemporary Sculpture, a collaborative project by visual artist, Paul Shore and art historian, Nicole Root. This high-sucrose meditation on sculpture, photography and art history will feature a selection of photographs and videos guaranteed to make your mouth water and your teeth hurt.
There will be a reception for the artists on Thursday, May 5 from 6-8.
Four years ago, while discussing Richard Serra’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Paul Shore and Nicole Root were struck by the commonly overlooked parallel between candy and contemporary sculpture. Their epiphany began with Shore’s suggestion to make one of Serra’s monumental ellipses out of taffy. This simple proposal soon bred others: From Carl Andre to Tara Donovan, Shore and Root found the work of nearly every major contemporary sculptor to have some sort of sugary counterpart.
Just as Minimalist artists frequented the shops of industrial suppliers along Canal Street, Shore and Root scoured candy stores in search of new ideas and materials. In the mass-produced, modular units of Pez, Wax Stix, Good & Plenty and Hershey bars, Shore and Root saw the work of Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Louise Bourgeois and Tony Smith. Starburst and Twizzlers offered up a rainbow of artificial colors surprisingly similar to those in Donald Judd’s Plexiglas boxes and Judy Chicago’s early sculpture. Even candy in the form of recognizable objects seemed, to Shore and Root, to bear a striking resemblance to the appropriations of Jeff Koons and Haim Steinbach.
Though Shore and Root’s creations range from loose re-imaginings of an artist’s style to explicit reproductions of identifiable works, there is often a physical and cultural specificity in their choice of materials. Robert Morris’s L-Beams take the form of sugar wafers, characteristically vanilla and neutral. The dusty, muted colors of Necco wafers, intended by the New England Confectionery Company to appeal to health-conscious mothers, evoke the natural aesthetic of Richard Long. Likewise, the misshapen bodies and cloying smiles of down-market marshmallow rabbits correspond to Mike Kelley’s grotesque combinations of awkward, homemade toys.
In contrast to recent sweet-based art that emphasizes sophisticated tastes and luxurious settings, much of the appeal of LICKED SUCKED STACKED STUCK derives from Shore and Root’s use of the vernacular. Cheap candy, easily found at the local candy store or bodega, is arranged on Shore’s kitchen table and photographed. In the process, each sculpture is transformed into something at once intimate and digestible—a parody of the high-budget seriousness of much contemporary sculpture and a tribute to its original artists.
A toothpick might be the simplest device known to man, unless that man is artist Scott Weaver.
After 35 years and roughly 100,000 little wooden toothpicks, the third-generation San Francisco resident has created an incredibly intricate and interactive replica of The City by the Bay.
Titled "Rolling Through the Bay," Weaver's project chronicles life in his home city with a kinetic tour through San Francisco's sights, monuments, and history. Ping-pong balls roll down winding toothpick tracks, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and The Palace of Fine Arts, which contains a heart that, of course, was "left in San Francisco."
"I have used different brands of toothpicks depending on what I am building," Weaver explains on his website. "I also have many friends and family members that collect toothpicks in their travels for me. For example, some of the trees in Golden Gate Park are made from toothpicks from Kenya, Morocco, Spain, West Germany and Italy."
Weaver's masterpiece also features wooden models of a Rice-A-Roni cable car, a dragon for China Town, a psychedelic tribute to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the Painted Ladies (think "Full House” homes) and a miniature of the World Series trophy.
"Rolling Through the Bay" will be on exhibit at San Francisco's Tinkering Studio until June 19.
5' x 3' x 2'
50k - 60k pieces
Black, white, dark and bluish gray, clear trans and black trans colors used.
No foreign materials (wood, glue, paint or otherwise) were used – this is pure Lego.
Photo retouching used only for adding contrast and color correction & background.
Approx 450 hours to build
Second in my series of Abandoned Houses
Abandoned houses offer unique opportunities from a visual point of view. The deterioration transforms materials. Texture on top of texture. New patterns overtaking old ones. Nature repossessing. This textural aspect to deterioration and the patterns that it creates can be rich and fascinating to look at.
I also find that the experience of seeing a deteriorated house (or any familiar object) interesting. When looking at the image we see a dual image of the house – one as it is, and one as it was. You see a huge hole in the side of the house not just as a hole, but also as an interruption of the known. And so the mind seeks to recreate the known. We fill in the holes. We project. Our eyes follow the angle of the broken awning to a point, now destroyed, and we can feel the mass that was of the front 3rd floor. The same with the porch covering. This visual duality – the mind flipping between destruction and pre-destruction – is magic. It's entertaining and engaging.
Many ask me how I go about planning and building these pieces. Sadly, I tend to be a 'messy' planner, so I do not make any blueprints or basic construction drawings. Rather I just get to work. I start by researching photos I find online. Generally, I find a house feel I would like to recreate. I also look for others that have specific moments of deterioration that I find interesting. In this case, I also researched houses that have been smashed by fallen trees. Next, I take a look at other moc's to see if there are any special techniques I can use based on the subject matter.
Now for the size. I look on the buildings for objects that I would like to recreate with a piece. In this case, the scale was determined by the size of the bricks. One real life brick is almost the same size as a 1 x 2 tile – the 1 x 2 tile being a little bigger, but not by much. From here, I count out the bricks on the building to determine width and height and use rudimentary measuring tools, like a pencil or thumb held up to gauge relative proportions between the real thing and my work. In this way, I can make sure all is on track. I've tried plotting everything out on paper and using measurements, but inevitably I mess up somewhere along the line with the numbers and then have to start over again. Thus, I tend to just 'wing it'.
In this series, I am most interested in textures and the effect of layering textures over each other. To this end, the absence of color helps the viewer to focus on just this. Lego colors tend to be pretty harsh and unrealistic for my tastes, so I stick to black/white and grays. Without color, we dive right into form, which is where I want you to be.
The tree was the most difficult texture to determine. I had thought by reversing the bricks – to show backs – worked best (you can see this in my previous post with the detail of the tree trunk). But very late into the process, a friend had advised me that it didn't look as real as everything else. What to do? Spend a week rebuilding the tree and perhaps money for more bricks or let well enough be. In the end, I found that hinge cylinders worked well to describe bark texture. Strung together, they conform to all sorts of organic configurations. Additionally, they could be skinned onto the trees that I had already built so I would not have to rebuild or spend much more money. Whew! It's not perfect, and I hope to try something similar but different in future, but for now, seemed pretty effective. The branches were created with ridged 3mm hose and a variety of droid arms as well as other technic connectors to give the appearance of branches.
|Cylinder hinges were used to give the tree texture and a more organic form than bricks were offering me.|
I also had difficulty creating the burned out area coming from the mid floor's window. Lego does not provide a good variety of grays to blend, so I ended up using some trans black tiles to help smooth out the difference.
|A lever (control stick) on left used for grass and droid arm used for weeds and branches. Thousands of each of these were used in the landscape of this piece.|
From the start, the ground texture was of primary importance. I had wanted to create a dense textural experience here that would dazzle and sparkle. I ended up using levers for grass and droid arms for branches and weeds. There are thousands of each to hopefully capture the unevenness of an unattended yard. This wild growth also allowed for some nice irregularity to break free of the mass of the base and into the background void. In this way, they soften the piece a bit. The bushes on the left and right of the foreground also were much fun to make. Very quick (perhaps 30 minutes each) and effective. Each one of the four bushes must have a hundred or more droid arms!
The hardest technical aspect to the piece was the roof. In particular dealing with the seams where each of the four sides meet. For the photo, it is fine enough as the shot does not show the imperfections of the joints. Still, it would be nice to understand how to better manage it. In addition to 2 x 2 tiles, I used diver flippers as a second shingle type. It's not original, but is nonetheless, effective.
As I've mentioned before, I love looking at things through other things. So, I seek out opportunities to set up situations where there is a sort of layering and openness to structure. This to give the viewer a peek into another space. An instance of this is the way the tree overlaps the porch and then the porch contains a door which is open looking into another space. One enters, then enters and then enters again.
Hope you enjoy!
You can see more pictures and other projects from Mike at http://mikedoylesnap.blogspot.com/
Image: Orly Cogan, Little Debbie
Text: Orly Cogan, Artist Statement
The tableaux I create are inspired by relationships. They evolve from the personal mythologies of my memories. I work with vintage, printed fabrics and found embroideries made by women of previous eras. I act as a collaborator, modernizing their traditional work and altering its original purpose. The fabric becomes the foundation for a fantastical, exotic extrapolation.
I am drawn to the space between dichotomies, such as soft and tough, dirty and clean, fantasy and reality. especially as they relate to gender. My work explores common feminine archetypes and stereotypes. Such as Madonna/Whore, Pin-Up Girl, Lolita, and the Femme Fatale. Searching for that odd thing, the Feminist Beauty Queen, I mix subversion with flirtation, humor with power, and intimacy with frivolity.
In the process, I aim to provoke certain questions: What role do women want to play in society? Who do we want to be? What kind of relationships do we want? Who are our role models? I hope to ask all of this within the context of constantly shifting boundaries that define our relationships and our identities.
You seem to have a very interesting approach to process, of letting a work evolve at it's own speed.
It’s sort of nice, making something and then nothing comes immediately. That’s how it is a lot of times. You make something and nothing happens with it for years and then all of a sudden it can happen. That’s nice. That’s great.
I think the thing about making things is that you have a proof. You have some proof every day that something has been accomplished, that something’s different. If you can make something as that proof it has a lot of power. You have a lot of power if you can just take your energy. But you know, I’m also happy if somebody else comes and does something on the house to fix it up. I think, well something happened today. I realize that I’m very attached to needing a proof of something, a proof that there has been a change. Not just to think about it in my mind but to have a physical manifestation of that change. It’s like accumulating things. You know it’s kind of nutty. I’ll go out and I notice always when I go out I come home with things. I try to curb it, the tendency. But I think it’s okay today because something came in the mail. That was like some proof of my accomplishment.
A mark of your existence in this world?
Yes, it really is. It’s a physical proof that everything’s okay for a minute.
Does that has something to do with being raised Catholic?
It’s one of my loose theories that Catholicism and art have gone well together because both believe in the physical manifestation of the spiritual world, that it’s through the physical world that you have spiritual life, that you have to be here physically in a body. You have all this interaction with objects, with rosaries and medals. It believes in the physical world. It’s a ‘thing’ culture.
It’s also about storytelling in that sense, about reiterating over and over and over again these mythological stories about saints and other deities that can come and intervene for you on your behalf. All the saints have attributes that are attached to them and you recognize them through their iconography. And it’s about transcendence and transmigration, something moving always from one state to another. And art is in a sense like a proof: it’s something that moves from your insides into the physical world, and at the same time it’s just a representation of your insides. It doesn’t rob you of your insides and it’s always different, but in a different form from your spirit.
Have you read a lot in that area?
I read a little bit.
Information that floats into your consciousness comes from wandering around the world, or how?
When I was in school I was a very poor reader. It was very difficult for me to learn how to read. And so I just had to learn from looking at things. So I pay a lot of attention to things or I listen to things or I listen to what people say. I like Bob Dylan’s line, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Because he’s talking in a specific cultural connotation. But it’s true, you have to live to know what is happening in your neighborhood and in your realm of consciousness. What you’re thinking isn’t particularly unique to what other people are thinking. That’s why you can recognize things from two thousand years ago because it’s not radically different. How you’re thinking about them might have slight variations, but basically everybody has a body and they experience in them very differently, but physiologically there are certain things happening and so it’s no wonder that people think about lots of the same things.
I like learning through observation. I’m very stubborn in it too. It gets in my way a lot because I won’t believe things. I won’t believe lots of things that people tell me until I can see it myself somehow. But being observant is a good way to learn about things. And once you do know about one thing physically, at a certain point it’s easy to translate it then into other mediums and quickly understand it. Like if you have enough information in your body from doing something, you can then move it around. Like I can sew well if I need to, or I can do ceramics. I can do different things just from having enough physical experience.
Let's talk about the women on the pyres.
The women—I put them together because they have a physical relationship to one another. The women on pyres came from a photograph. I bought in an anonymous collection of photographs from someone’s notebook in the late 1890’s, from Lyon. And it’s like early collage work. From Victorian times when people started having access to cameras and started making these collages. And this person made these incredibly wonderful collages, chopping this woman’s head off and then her decapitated head sort of rolling around. And then he also made these wonderful ones of a woman kneeling on a pillow and then he collages that with a pyre, these women on pyres.
And I was asked to be in a competition last year, or two years ago, for an outdoor sculpture. And I spent a lot of time trying to do it but I wasn’t good at doing it. And I decided that I didn’t want to make public sculpture that was of other people’s agendas. I couldn’t do that. I can only do things that come from my necessity. And so then I thought I wanted to make these women on pyres, like these commemoratives for witches. I was making at the time drawings of drowned witches, of them floating with their hair in the water. And I thought these women on pyres, that I wanted to make these sculptures and that they should be in all these towns in Europe, like in each town.
There aren’t commemorative sculptures for witches in Europe. There was a tremendous amount of killing and there’s little commemoration of that. And so, so no one has needed it in their town yet, but [LAUGHS], but you know, I just make them anyway. Their arms are out like Christ, saying "Why have you forsaken me?" I had originally made some where the pyres were out of metal, but then I just bought wood for it.
And the Bodhisattva figures you've been collecting...is there a story behind those?
I like Kuan-yin because she is a Bodhisattva of compassion. And compassion is something that we’re supposed to think about a lot in our daily lives. There are relationships between her and the Virgin Mary In her iconography. The religions are all influencing one another. So there’s times when she starts showing up with a child or being like the benevolent mother. They say this is influenced by the Virgin Mary.
I’m a big Virgin Mary fan. I was raised Catholic. Lots of my work refers to the Virgin Mary and I've made a lot of pieces kind of manipulating her around different ways from my own perverse interests. Kuan-yin is a similar character in that she represents this open compassion that envelopes you but then also that you can look at as a model for your behavior in the world. Besides all that I really like the representation of her and the scale of the house or altar sculpture. Church sculpture is something that’s very influential to me. It has lots of decorative elements. It has the serene faces where they’re looking down on you always. There’s interesting things about the proportions. Often the heads are much larger than the bodies, which is something I’m always interested in. Gauguin made great sculptures. I guess you’ve seen Tahitian models for figurative sculptures where the head is about three times the size of the rest of the body. And if you think about it, Alice from "Alice in Wonderland" has that where the head’s very enlarged. In lots of the Kuan-yins the heads are much larger than the bodies proportionately.
The Kuan-yins tell me to pay attention. That’s my new excuse for everything. It tells me to pay attention and I just do. They say pierce me with your eyes. I went and saw one the other day and then it said, pierce me with your eyes. I like that because your not sure whether it’s telling you to look at it or you’re telling it to look at you. Like darsham, like being blessed. Like wanting a blessing in Catholic Church. You go touch the feet of the saint or something because you want a blessing from them. It's important to stay in the gaze of what's important to be thinking about.
The New Museum's George Condo Mental States is not a retropsective, all encompasing index of the artist's career and impact. Instead it is a tightly edited, though full to the brim survey of the major periodical shifts and paintings and sculptures that highliht Condo's historically informed and deformed approach to image making. The salon-style center piece is sometimes as entertaining as a curatiorial device as the work is. The ficional characters that make up the subject of many of Condo's recent paintings feel like inbred royalty, accurately rendered for prosterity by the would be equally mal-formed court painter.
____________Notes on George Condo from the New Museum _______________
George Condo has been a singular voice in American and European art for almost three decades. Born in 1957 in New Hampshire, he studied art history and music theory at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. In 1980 he arrived in New York, where he quickly became part of the burgeoning East Village art scene. Exhibiting at the Pat Hearn Gallery along with painters such as Mary Heilmann and Philip Taaffe, and becoming close friends with artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Condo developed a unique painting style, employing the virtuoso draftsmanship and paint handling of the old masters to depict subject matter that sprang largely from his imagination.
In the context of early 1980s New York, Condo’s paintings—which he called “fake old masters”—displayed a provocative untimeliness. While many artists at the time borrowed specific imagery from historical sources, Condo instead adopted the styles, techniques, and methods of earlier painters and applied them to subjects distinctly his own. Over the next two decades, he went on to explore an astonishing variety of aesthetic territories, from Mannerist ornamentalism to Picasso-esque Cubism, drawing from Diego Velázquez to Looney Tunes. Possessed of an enormous memory bank of art historical references, Condo synthesized these past pictorial languages and motifs to create, as he put it, “composites of various psychological states painted in different ways.”
Artist: Glenda Reed
Title: Comfort Food (Bread Bed)
Size: 6′ 5″ L, 4′ 2″ W, 2′ T
Ingredients: Fresh bread, bed frame
Nothing says home like the smell of freshly baked bread. This smell is said to universally evoke feelings of nostalgia even in cultures that don’t make and eat bread. For many, home-made bread is a simple and inexpensive comfort food that nourishes the body as well as the soul. What if food had the ability to comfort in a variety of ways? Comfort Food invites audience members to lie on and eat from an edible bed of freshly baked bread. More than a comical re-envisioning of the role of food in our daily lives, this piece asks how we are comforted and by whom? Perhaps we were first comforted by parental love and affection that caused us to feel looked after, cared for, secure – at home. Later we seek out this comfort in our friends and lovers, but whether we find it and it lasts is a another story.
Glenda wishes to extend a special thanks to Roberta’s Pizza for their ecstatic generosity.
Bio: Glenda Reed is a Brooklyn-based artist who investigates the spaces between people and how to bridge this void. She is fascinated by the conflict between the desire for autonomy and the need for intimacy. She works in a variety of media, including sculpture, performance, video and photography, though prefers to be classified by her interests rather than her means. Glenda was born in California and received a BA in Studio Art from Beloit College in Wisconsin.
Image: Laura Splan, Negligee (Slipping Into the Skin of Another), 2007
Text: Laura Splan Writings on Negligee (Slipping Into the Skin of Another) & Doilies; Artist Statement & Bio
machine embroidery with thread on cosmetic facial peel, dress form: 64"H x 16"W x 16"D
About This Project:
Negligee (Slipping Into the Skin of Another) uses a transparent plastic-like material that results from a facial peel-off mask. This bizarre beauty product picks up and retains the detailed impression of texture and hairs on one's skin. I essentially cover my entire body with the product. Once dry, I peel it off in one large "hide" so that I have sheets of "fabric" to work with in constructing the sculptures for the series.
freestanding computerized machine embroidered lace mounted on velvet 16.75" x 16.75" each (framed dimensions)
About This Project:
Doilies is a series of computerized machine embroidered doilies. The design of each doily is based on a different viral structure. The lace doily has traditionally referenced designs and motifs from nature. Furthermore, these decorative objects would be heirlooms, handed down from one generation to the next. The work explores the "domestication" of microbial and biomedical imagery. Many recent events, epidemics, and commercial products have brought this imagery into our living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Bio-terrorism, SARS, and antibacterial soaps alike have all heightened our awareness of the microbial world. Doilies serve as a metaphor for the way we have adapted our everyday lives to these now everyday concerns. Here domestic artifacts and heirlooms manifest the psychological heredity of our cultural anxieties.
My work explores perceptions of beauty and horror, comfort and discomfort. I use anatomical and medical imagery as a point of departure to explore these dualities and our ambivalence towards the human body. Viruses, blood, x-rays of bones and viscera can be at once unsetting and enticing. I often combine scientific images and materials with more domestic or familiar ones. The ornamentation of wallpaper or the design of a doily lends a sort of relief in its familiarity and pleasing pattern. This juxtaposition creates a response that fluctuates between seduction and repulsion, comfort and alienation. I try to create work that evokes a dichotomous experience with formal imagery that upon closer inspection reveals some uncomfortable truth about our cultural and biological conditions. My work attempts to challenge our constructed responses to these images by triggering a double take in which the viewer re-evaluates their initial perceptions.
I am often inspired by the inherent qualities of a material or process. I enjoy the experimentation that goes into the discovery that the viscosity of blood facilitates its use as “ink” or the materiality of remnant facial peel allows its use as “fabric”. Deciphering the narrative implications and poetic possibilities within these qualities is an important part of my practice. I am interested in an exploration into the historical and contemporary meaning that a culture projects onto an object, material, or image as well as in an investigation into its physical attributes. It is important that the work be reflexive and self-contained -- how not only the form of an object can reveal meaning but also the materials and process by which it was made.
Laura Splan is a Brooklyn, NY based interdisciplinary artist. She holds a Bachelor of Art from the University of California, Irvine where she originally studied Biological Sciences but ultimately studied Studio Art with such mentors as Catherine Opie and Daniel Joseph Martinez. She received her Masters of Fine Art in Sculpture from Mills College in Oakland, CA where she studied with Gail Wight and Catherine Wagner. Her conceptually driven work employs a variety of media including sculpture, video, photography, digital media and works on paper. She often uses found objects and appropriated images to explore the social construction of our perceptions. Much of her work is inspired by experimentation with materials and processes including blood, cosmetic facial peel and computerized embroidery. The common thread running through all her work is an examination of cultural ambivalence towards the human body as it relates to designations of order/disorder, seduction/repulsion and comfort/discomfort. Splan's work has been exhibited in a wide range of curatorial contexts including craft, feminism, technology, design, science, medicine and ritual.