March 25 - April 29, 2017
A group exhibition featuring Les Christensen, Jo Ann Fleischhauer, Joe Mancuso, Mari Omori, John Runnels, and John Salvest. This show is sponsored by Sculpture Month Houston and is part of an ongoing effort to spotlight the sculptural medium in Houston.
Essay by Volker Eisele
The title “Fetish” was chosen in order to explore the transition from an ordinary, everyday object to a complex work of art through the obsessive and - at times - repetitive manipulations of the artist. The word fetish derives from the Latin facere (to make) and is primarily used in an erotic context. Yet fetishes in animistic or tribal societies were manmade objects or images that were attributed inherent value or magical powers.
A newly emerging consumer society in the 20th century focused its energies and desires on the acquisition of material goods. “Consumer fetishism” became the slogan of the day to describe the cult like phenomenon. Artists in the past responded to the new culture by exploring the aesthetic possibilities of functional objects and mass-produced commodities. They embraced the idea that Art and Life are inseparable and “heightened meaning” could be found everywhere. Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes then set in motion the successful run of Pop Art, the first art movement to cater to the stylish tastes of the art consumer.
Since the object took center place as an independent medium, it spawned an explosion of creative experimentation and novel images: from the early Fluxus-kits to Chris Burden’s “Reason for the Plutonium Bomb”, an installation with 50,000 nickels and matches, from Jason Rhoades densely packed interior spaces to Jo Ann Fleischhauer’s “Library of Babbel” with 39 table lamps and curling scrolls. This new art shifted its “identification from the landscape of nature to the new American landscape –the object” declared Aaron Kuriloff, an early pioneer of the new minimalism.
All the artists in this exhibition have enthusiastically embraced the exploration of everyday objects. They have created their own private fetishes and they are happy to share them with the searching viewer. They also elevate their humble objects to works of art of great emotional power.