June 18 - July 23, 2016
A group show, curated by Howard Sherman, featuring Matthew Bourbon, Beau Comeaux, Rachel Fisher, Bradley Kerl and Abby Sherrill.
Essay by Howard Sherman
Bulbous. Weird. Funky. Unsettling. Raw. Progressive. Effortless. Bravado. Chops. These are words I love. Saying them is fun. Seeing them is the best–especially in art.
People like to label things for all kinds of reasons. For me this classification within the arts is an impetus in creating an open dialogue about transcending labels. Is there an opportunity to avoid clichéd and shortsighted terminology–often associated with my art– and reflect on individual things that interest and inspire me? This is a question I have been yearning to answer for quite some time now. I want to analyze the different elements that I use in my own work and admire in others. I also wish to comment on items that impress me in art, even if they don’t take on a major role in my own artistic creations. After much thought, I felt curating a show of such work would be the best way to do this.
Matthew Bourbon’s paintings keep getting better and better. They’re weird and unpredictable. Bourbon makes a conscious choice to not choke the viewer with obvious narrative. Instead, he uses a combination of unexpected vignettes sprinkled with strange iconography. This creates surprising stories within the artist’s work, allowing one to come to his or her own conclusion. The omnipresent grid “character,” regularly shown in his work, is used in such a peculiar way that I find refreshing.
Rachel Fischer’s sculptures are bulbous wall mounted objects with fetish finishes. You’ll want to laugh and lick them. Their unorthodox use of seemingly disparate materials leads to a completely unexpected originality. I initially respond to the humor, but I stay for the surprises. Fischer always leaves you excited by sexing up the incongruent.
Bradley Kerl has a cool casual feeling in his paintings. While his touch is deft, it never feels forced. Kerl’s play on formal perspective and Modernist art history is intriguing. His execution is distinctive, even on the most familiar subject matter, which is the mark of strong work.
Beau Comeaux’s moody nighttime images present architecture in a novel way that explores grids and other geometric patterns. The viewer becomes an eyewitness to destruction and construction. These places are in dark transitional phases and cause one to pause. Additionally, geometric abstraction in contemporary art has been a long-standing interest of mine, as well as finding ways to subvert the grid’s rigidness in my own work. Comeaux’s images capture this clearly, while taking on other issues such as gentrification and displacement.
Abby Sherrill’s use of raw materials is something I’ve been exploring in my own recent paintings. However, Sherrill has a more conceptual take on it. Repositioning items in unexpected ways, she takes culturally loaded subject matter and propositions it for a fresh analysis. Her installation also has an unusual reference to drawing and grids.
The work in this exhibition is meant to bob and weave like a prizefighter. Threads reoccur in this show while each work stands its ground. If you end up punching the air or shouting out loud, you won’t be penalized.