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Eutopia: Vol. 1 (12x12)

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S: EUTOPIA Volume 1

BC: eutopia.us

FC: EUTOPIA Volume 1

1: EUTOPIA: Contemporary Art Review Volume 1 Spring 2014 founder/editor: Ryder Richards eutopia.us

2: EUTOPIA produces concise 100 word reviews on contemporary art, architecture and artists. Founded to increase arts writing and reading we are pleased to present the first season of collected reviews in book format. ~ Ryder Richards

3: Etel Adnan Trevor King Lauren Strahl Juliet Hinely Jesse Morgan Barnett Rain Harris Rebecca Carter Beth Cavener [Plural] Diego Leclery Erwin Wurm Eric Eley Maja Ruznic Elenor Wilson Lily Hanson Raymond Padron Apophenia Underground Pedro Velez Matt Ziemke Ian F. Thomas Brandon Kennedy Lucia Simek David Johnson | Amie Cunat Ian F. Thomas Sharon Massey Trevor King Karen Weiner Linda Ganstrom Janeil Engelstad Linda Ganstrom/Ryder Richards Ryder Richards Amie Cunat Eli Blasko Kristen Cochran Linda Ganstrom Kristen Cochran Brian R. Jobe Ryder Richards Randall Garrett Ian F. Thomas Ryder Richards Ryder Richards Ryder Richards Ryder Richards

4: Etel Adnan Callicoon Fine Arts, NY, NY April 3-May 23, 2014 Like Paul Cezanne whose renditions of Mont Sainte-Victoire cultivated the relationship between lived experience and perception, Etel Adnan oscillates between the poetic and philosophic among her recent abstract paintings. These small-scale works, numerous in quantity, inform landscapes while they symbiotically construct a condition of landscape. All of the works are untitled which direct their openness and rejection of pictorial signification. What the viewer sees is the interaction of muted aquamarine, cadmium green and flesh peach hues that connote a formal construction as much as a state of emotive happenstance. Blocks of color form the intangible relative to the way a horizon line is formed by a partnership of sky and earth. ~ Amie Cunat

6: Trevor King Anthem: Big Sound/Big Silence [2014] Tensions mount, load roaring engines scream, an indiscernible voice bellows from an announcer as a clandestine passenger waits for his self-inflicted rite-of-passage to manhood. King’s installation Anthem: Big Sound/Big Silence is the visual manifestation of the impotence faced by those searching for external validation. Here we see a video of a young man losing, almost before the demolition-derby begins. The illuminated seat acts a sanctuary, reinforcing the physicality of his experience of damnation. The strewn concrete beer cans become vacillations of drunkenness and another attempt at representing loss, solidified moments, liquid frozen as a realization of time. ~ Ian F. Thomas

8: Lauren Strahl Porn-broidery fabric, thread, embroidery hoop, 3 diameter Confronting viewers with images of uncensored pornography, rendered in thread, Strahl’s Porn-broidery brooches place in public view imagery that is typically seen only in private. Worn on the lapel clandestine interests are confessed, open affirmation falsely branding the profane as mundane. The wearer must mediate between publicly regarded social mores, while openly acknowledging their familiarity/comfort with quasi-taboo subject matter. The tongue-in-cheek embroidery technique creates fuzzy-edges and an intimate scale, drawing viewers closer as the imagery comes into focus, resulting in a more shocking, up-close encounter with the wearer. ~ Sharon Massey

10: Juliet Hinely here now their then [2014] Jam Handy Building, Detroit Blending methods of installation and documentary, here now their then is an intensive look at both distant and recent histories of the Jam Handy building. Using this space as a catalyst for investigation, twelve hanging headphones tell narratives of the buildings past and present. While a playful experience, the artwork becomes bittersweet in the context of Detroit. The intervention leads the viewer to consider all of the lost histories of the vacant spaces that inhabit the city while illuminating something too often overlooked; people are still living, working, and creating in Detroit. ~ Trevor King

12: Jesse Morgan Barnett Turbomeca [2014] Deep Ellum Windows, Dallas Turbomeca appears nonchalant in an abandoned industrial space, but reveals a considered installation utilizing architectural flukes. The requisite row of “paintings” is anything but, a rock meteor shower screwed into the wall, an overwhelmingly sad tar covered mop levitates over a plastic crate, and an Asian figurine faces the wall atop a ziggurat of boxes moping beneath a charred ejector seat photo. A cutout child figure, spilled gold paint dinosaur, and neon splat intentionally unlit offer whimsical counterbalance. This description is unfairly literal, whereas the experience is alchemical: it shouldn’t add up but does, packing conflicting emotions: pain, loss, promise. ~ Karen Weiner

14: Rain Harris Dribble porcelain, resin, silk flowers [2013] Flow, Milwaukee Art Museum Dribble by Rain Harris seduces, then puzzles, as its glittering eye candy is exposed as nothing more than plastic flowers purchased at the Dollar Store encased in resin. Presenting a fascinating enigma revolving around questions of beauty and taste, Dribble’s floral decorations run amuck and completely overwhelm the “precious” porcelain structure creating a glowing object of exquisite splendor and duplicity. Transformed into loveliness, Dribble scrutinizes the value and prestige of material, process and product. Disturbing traditional notions of the relationship between art, labor, skill, and artistic genius, Dribble hides its rich history of decorative arts behind a cheap, if sparkling facade. ~ Linda Ganstrom

16: Rebecca Carter sleep architecture and the dream house RE gallery + studio, Dallas March 21- April 20, 2014 Harmony and disorder, stillness and agitation, elegance and mess are recurring dualities in Rebecca Carter’s work. Her alluring thread drawings -lines of text from conversations and dreams, brainwaves, golden rings, and fragments of houses lived in- touch the place where our own self-recognition rests. Uncomfortable, vulnerable, at times winking with humor, she constructs domiciliary spaces that rattle memories of people, events and place. Like the lines in an Emily Dickinson poem, an Agnes Martin painting, or the horizon at dusk, Carter’s work beckons meditation and then, tension, as if she wishes to insist that dreams, homes, nothing, can protect us. ~ Janeil Engelstad

18: Beth Cavener Tangled Up in You ceramic, acrylic [2014] Tattoos designed and painted by Alessandro Gallo Tangled Up in You by Beth Cavener hangs suspended, gently swaying. Gripping a thick rope, the snake strives to consume a large captive hare depicting a conflict with no resolution, a psychological state powered by tremendous emotion. Elegant tattoo patterns illustrate this story of conflict, striving and beauty on the skin of the snake in subtle blue on blue, adding to the watery aesthetic. Requiring the intent viewer to follow the muscular movement of the snake around the tortured hare to read the tattoo, the careful observer is rewarded with secret insight as they decipher the poetic symbolism. ~ Linda Ganstrom The huddled hare, compressed and dangling within the constrictive musculature of a serpent, appears placidly composed, resigned to fate. As if stunned by the shear beauty of the tableau it inhabits the hare’s concession seems poignant, a willing partner seductively bound into complacency by a highly narrative, writhing design. A superficial ploy, the graphic storyline applied with dexterity introduces an intoxicating lure to which we fall prey. Referencing Aesop’s hare, Chinese ceramics, and Japanese tattoos the piece presents confused moral metaphors of entwined cultures, and a common conundrum: high craft as trap, from which there is no desire to escape. ~ Ryder Richards

20: Diego Leclery Me Playing Civilization durational performance [2014] Whitney Biennial 2014, New York Playing Civilization [link] six hours per day during the Whitney Biennial 2014 Leclery huddles under a bridge, freezing while casually building and destroying worlds. Recontextualizing a long-time hobby Leclery’s isolated, time-intensive act of creation has had virtually no impact on the outside world, metaphorically paralleling many studio practices. Typically a means of studio avoidance playing Civilization presents a non-art-commoditized waste of time: a selfishly pure fulfillment of creative desires devoid of art world pressure. Exiled from the galleries the outsider performance futilely besieges the museum and art productivity while it’s Whitney inclusion sublimates the former act of escapism into suspicious legitimacy. ~ Ryder Richards Photo by Autumn Ramsey

22: Erwin Wurm Kiss (Abstract Sculptures) Synthesa, Lehmann Maupin, Chelsea, NY February 28 – April 19, 2014 Presented atop gallery-white pedestals, Erwin Wurm’s figurative objects stand wistfully erect. Wurm’s sculptures allude to a cheap liaison, formally reminiscent of a kitsch dolphins statuette, triumphantly erupting out of their simulated ocean. These cast-bronze “casings”, painted with matte, fleshy-like mauve acrylic, conduct dual associations in scale and metaphor: what are franks are served up as phalluses, what are deli meats perform as human limbs. Functioning like surrealist poetry where disparate objects and behaviors are incongruously aligned, the girth of the objects’ romance is implied by the degree of the “meat’s” actual entanglement. ~ Amie Cunat photo courtesy of Lehmann Maupin Gallery

24: Eric Eley Drogue [2012] Platform Gallery, Seattle Drogue registers an aura of narrative familiarity: the works are scattered artifacts of a recently undergone atmospheric voyage. Returned are snapshots in acrylic from the upper atmosphere –the periphery of great frontiers humankind can never fully comprehend. This imagery pleads for imagination, while roughly weathered parachute-like hoods antithetically exude physical reality. These tensile objects hang, skinned in burlap and leather, like aging bodies pocked from their cryptic past. Eley’s work reveals boundaries, specifically, limitations imposed by the tangible space we inhabit. His ethereal imagery emphasizes curiosity’s perpetual nature, while the hoods resonate a subdued reminder that aspirations are vexed by corporeality. ~ Eli Blasko

26: Maja Ruznic like little miracles, they shimmered Conduit Gallery, Dallas Feb 22 -March 29, 2014 Ruznic’s intimate, multi-layered ink drawings ooze monumental awkwardness and fragility. They make me wonder if Ruznic is ok, serving as conduit for such a deluge of psychological content. Like book pages, her works on paper draw viewers in for a close read. Without glass or frame to mediate, formalize or protect, her figurative images still a multitude of animated emotional states. In them, patches of miniature pattern work offer decorative skins to otherwise fragmented and floating, decontextualized bodies; spindly limbs dangle from pools of emotion. Not automatic or surreal, Ruznic’s works are portraits that conflate our sometimes sweet and sometimes monstrous humanity. ~ Kristen Cochran photo courtesy Conduit Gallery

28: Elenor Wilson American Tourister Still Life ceramic [2014] Milwaukee Art Museum Formed of fragile white porcelain, American Tourister Still Life by Elenor Wilson displays how luggage becomes furniture to a traveler. Speaking to the fleeting nature of style, the feet of the “furniture” and the lady’s high-heeled shoes, discarded nearby, underscore the transient nature of fashion. Trends flow through time and reappear, re-imagined. The feet of the furniture belong to the Victorian era, the heels and Coke bottle connect to mid-century and the luggage to the 1970s in this object created in 2009. We form materials, but the materials we surround ourselves with have the ability to form us. ~ Linda Ganstrom photo by Bob Barrett

30: Lily Hanson a little bit exactly like [2014] RE gallery + studio, Dallas If Guston, Tuttle, and Raushenberg impregnated Ernesto Neto and had babies that were art objects, they’d look like the plump, playful, seemingly nave constructions of Lily Hanson. Hanson combines propped, pop prosthetics and wall hung soft sculptures with cartoonish paintings on cardboard. Despite their propped-upness, Hanson’s sculptural bumps on logs defy gravity. Covered in perky, spandex appendages—part painting, part sculpture—the child-sized works seem strategically protected. Hanson’s paintings, simply presented on unframed cardboard, are learning tools: schematics for adults who need a refresher course on play. Prods rather than props, these images suggest plans for cerebral loosing. ~Kristen Cochran photos by Frank Darko

32: Raymond Padrón Easy Rider Polychromed resin [2010] THE END. Martyrs, rebels, sinners, saints, napping elderly retirees. We can’t predict our earthly death, but it will surely come. Raymond Padrón’s Easy Rider serves as a freeze frame to memorize one last great physical, philosophical exertion. It marks life at the zenith. With blended associations, Padrón draws from the story of John the Baptist and Peter Fonda’s Captain America character from the 1969 film Easy Rider. Also, with allusions to cheap religious statuary, we behold only the cold artifact. So we dream. Extreme. Or not. ~ Brian R. Jobe

34: Apophenia Underground Lock All Doors television, video [2014] Precariously balanced on it’s convex glass screen the ziggurat shaped television squats as readymade dark monument. Appearing to levitate around the edges the monitor leaks spastic blue light across the floor accompanied by the chiseling ring of hammers on concrete. The video’s narrative imagery is held captive: crushed beneath the sheer physicality of antiquated technology. Looping efforts to escape are passively thwarted by film’s inert nature: broadly viewed as an active medium the light/sound barrage is ultimately passive, lacking physicality, unable to manifest an impact on the gallery’s foundations except through the sympathetic ministrations of patrons attuned to it’s distress. ~Ryder Richards

36: Pedro Vélez #DrunkDictators mixed media on paper and posters [2014] Monique Meloche, Chicago From the retail storefront at Monique Meloche in Chicago, an installation looks out on the city. Posters masquerade as advertisements, depicting women, not quite on display, and certainly not vacuous supermodels. Unretouched, natural, the empowered feminine, confident, diverse and real, they meet the viewers eye on an equal level, casting gaze for gaze, amid a sea of placards. Turbulent signs and slogans, a sea of voices no longer unheard. The critique has moved off the streets and infiltrated the tools of oppression: marketing, brand identity, mocking the authoritarian voice, turning it as a mirror back on itself. Occupy the critics. ~Randall Garrett

38: Matt Ziemke Adrift ceramic, mixed media [2014] Matt Ziemke’s recent exhibition Adrift, speaks to familiarity’s ambiguous nature through relational investigations of form. A collection of disparate objects allude to the viewer that there is a meta-narrative within the relational proximities. This ambiguity supports the work by leaving the viewer enough space to derive their own ideological understanding, while simultaneously offering an investigation contingent on an experiential similitude. Without the viewer’s memories the content of this work would render itself formal. The relational display of the objects invites us to interpret that we might have an active role within this handmade-industrial narrative. ~Ian F. Thomas

40: Ian F. Thomas Yesterday’s Tomorrow ceramic, acrylic, coal, audio device, hired laborer [2013] Yesterday’s Tomorrow presents an absurdist micro-portrait of Pennsylvania’s socio-environmental dilemma. A paid laborer, for unspecified reasons, rubs coal onto a ceramic hillock for six hours, lulled into numb complacency with generic beer and canary chirping on a digitized loop. The monotonous task completion outweighs need for cognition. This passive apathy infiltrates the gallery as patrons grow bored and increasingly alienated while the mound is gradually destroyed. The work’s clear metaphors spark both environmental/moral disgust and personal empathy, yet more contextually interesting is the painfully prolonged labor of cultural production, which was industriously ignored after an initial viewing. ~Ryder Richards

42: Brandon Kennedy NFS 1973 jaguar, private rare book collection [2013] Boom Town, Dallas Museum of Art Developed specifically for the Dallas Museum of Art’s exhibition Boom Town Kennedy’s piece proffers a seductive slap to the entrenched values of the locale. Presenting a foreign, classic automobile as a proxy for misplaced interpretations of class Kennedy drained the car’s fluids, carefully filled the car with his rare book collection, then locked it. The elegant collectibles become inert, unread and undriven, yet infinitely more valuable as such. The unmoving vehicle becomes a mummified tomb for the inaccessible collection, much as the museum grows stagnant beneath the weight of its glorified role as a cultural icon. ~Ryder Richards

44: Lucia Simek Conditional Monuments found foam and cardboard [2014] Miniature monuments. Carefully sorted and stacked, the foam inserts and protective layers form delicate constructions. At first playful and plastically cute the tiny constructs quickly become earnest, attempting to stand on their own as models for places we could potentially invest with a meaning. Yet, the humble origins and material identity refutes ambitious posing for an unpresent future. Instead, the feeble stacks mourn themselves: objects with protective custody revoked and symmetrical cavities empty. ~Ryder Richards Photo by Casey Leone

46: David Johnson 1018001 digital photograph [2012] 1018001 is a restrained commentary working through tropes of historical art, photography and architecture. Eschewing the need for central narrative the work references light as an ephemeral, perhaps spiritual, substance. While easily referencing Vermeer’s light bathed windows or the faint glow of light (the departing soul) in David’s Le Mort de Marat, the work blithely reflects modernists painting pursuits and compositions –Bruce Nauman, Brice Marden, or Callum Innes. Beautiful in its banality, the work subversively comments on the stark blandness of corporate architecture: one must enter a mindless state of abstraction to find meaning in this place. ~Ryder Richards

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  • Title: Eutopia: Vol. 1 (12x12)
  • Eutopia reviews: Spring 2014
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  • Started: almost 5 years ago
  • Updated: over 4 years ago