Thursday, March 12, 2009

Roadhouse bars, dramatic prairie dogs and lots and lots of blood-- Welcome to Scope, Part 1

One of the best things by far about Armory week 2009 was the inclusion of the Austin, TX, art galleries. At Scope's Okay Mountain Gallery, an artist-run enterprise, I felt quite at home, becoming enthralled with artist Jesse Greenberg in particular. Here, Greenberg makes sculputral constructs consisting of everything but the kitchen sink. Appearing somewhat like a jukebox you'd find in a roadhouse bar, Greenberg helped transform the gallery's booth into a sort of Day of the Dead mixed with Saturday Night Fever, all while throwing in a bit of Duel for good measure. To say his works are a bit over the top would be the understatement of the year. Greenberg's visuals challenge our perception of what can be construed as art, and examine new ways to create the new from reconstituted detritus.

In honor of this collaging of sorts, I'm enclosing the below photo by Carlos Rosales-Silva from the Okay Mountain website and Flickr to show you a bit more of what the booth looked like.

Next up, Jordan Eagles. I've been seeing Jordan's works for a while now, and his show at the now-closed Merge Gallery last summer really made me take notice. His most recent pieces on display at Costa Rican gallery Jacob Karpio seemed to up the light quotient by about 10,000 megawatts. Seemingly bursting forth into supernovas, Eagles' cow blood and resin process traps the basic element of life itself into a manmade fossilization. Having their closest resemblance to amber, he applies layers upon layers of resin until the sheen is so glossy you can see your reflection. In this work alone he uses over 14 layers, and the piece weighs 250 pounds. Note to pending collectors: make sure you properly hang this, or you'll have quite a mess on your hands.

Now for some much needed humor and tongue-in-cheek celebration of our internet obsessed culture. Hrag Vartanian called this little guy below the "new global folk art," and for good reason.

Comenius Roethlisberger and Admir Jahic have teamed up for their second collaboration of Invisible Heroes: Without You Baby, There Ain't No Us. These simple color pencil on paper drawings capture a still frame of the money shot itself-- in this case, the prairie dog giving us some major 'tude. Everyone has seen him. He's now a part of our collective unconscious. Whether we like it or not, Roethlisberger and Jahic have also entered the domain of pop culture, and "cuted it up" just a bit more. Given the need for escapism in our day to day lives in an ever greater capacity-- with YouTube leading the way-- this installation just about hit it out of the park for me.

Part two of Scope to come tomorrow. Until then, please don't call him a chipmunk.

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