Monday, August 11, 2008

Circus, Indeed

Matt Relkin "Prism Building" - Acrylic on paper

Saturday night saw the opening of the much anticipated "Ringling Brothers" show at Beep Beep Gallery. The title and theme of the show play on the fact that the artists involved, including Steven Dixey, Sat Kirpal, Katie Ridley, Stenvik Mostrom, Jason Murphy, and Matt Relkin, all graduated of the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida.

I would have to say the opening did feel a bit like a circus though not because of what was hanging on the walls. The risk of bumping into people with video cameras, lights, and microphones who are attempting to conduct interviews in the middle of crowded art gallery openings is becoming fairly commonplace (and a bit strange right?)

"B83" - Acrylic, pen, ink on paper

Matt Relkin's works really popped, the sharp lines and bright colors working nicely with the richly drawn pen and ink backgrounds (which read like graphite). Not to mention the fact that it's a missile heading straight down and leaving a rainbow in its wake. Needless to say, I wanted to take this home with me.

"Wormhole" - Pen and ink on paper

And "Wormhole" (this foe-toe does it no justice) is a heavily worked pen and ink drawing, that, kind of like spoting one ant on your kitchen counter and then seeing thirty, the closer you get to the drawing the more it vibrates with thousands of writhing little worms.

Here is Beep Beep co-owner Mark Basehore discussing the large number of bloggers crowded into the small gallery space. Damn bloggers, always showing up everywhere, giving their two-cents worth.

"Mountain" - Etching

Katie Ridley had this nice mountainscape, which made me think of Jason Murphy's show at Eyedrum last year, and how it would be interesting to see those two tackle the concept of a themed show together.

Speaking of Murphy's show at Eyedrum, co-conspirator Steven Dixey had this collection of highly detailed apocalyptic paintings in handmade frames.

The biggest surprise to me about "Ringling Brothers" was how disjointed the show came across. While each artist attended the same school, and each works in an illustrative style to some degree, the similarities between the work seem to end there. The show did not feel like a circus of cohesive sideshow acts as much as six mini-solo shows - which is not necessarily a bad thing -though had all six artists played with the notion of "circus" in their differing styles it would have been an all-together different experience.

Steven Dixey "I Wish For Better Things" - Pen, ink, acrylic on paper

"I wish for Better Things." This piece is excellent. Makes me think of, well, so many things, not the least of which is the declining bee populations across the globe for unknown reasons (i.e. pollution 'n pesticides). Unfortunately, it had sold before I could get my grubby hands on it.

As did "My Beating Heart." These small works by Dixey gave me the impression of talismans, little paintings for the home to give hope (or ward off the apocalypse?).

Show up at Beep Beep Gallery until September 7th 2008 - check it out.

The circus continued for me late into the night with Judy Chicago's Dance-a-thon.

To which Hanyun and I kept the dance floor warm till the very end.

And somewhere along the way VA managed to snag the Judy's hat.


Ben Grad said...

Relkin's pieces were my favorites at that show. I forget who did it, but that one of the sailboat in the corner was also really cool.

I got a Gravity's Rainbow feel from B83.


Jonathan said...

The sailboats were Katie Ridley.

Nice reference for the B83 - I wonder of Relkin is aware of that?


Ben Grad said...

I had seen one or two GR covers that had clouds similar to the ones Relkin uses. (but I couldn't find those covers online)

In my dreams, every single person in the world has read Gravity's Rainbow and all accompanying ephemera.

Jeremy Abernathy said...

My preview was basically a big allusion to GR. ("parabolic trajectories" last paragraph, etc.) I hope it isn't tasteless to mention that.

I didn't want to put words in Relkin's mouth, because it seemed like he came up with all his imagery independent of literary influence. I asked him what books inspired him, and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee topped his list. Mostly American history stuff, which is interesting.

(For example, his tentacle mountain in the Young Blood show recalls the "Platau of Leng" in H.P. Lovecraft's story, At the Mountains of Madness. I think he even described it being at the North or South pole...)

It was a media circus, wasn't it? Although it couldn't be helped--I had no idea--I'm a bit ashamed to be a part of the sensationalism... That's not my goal.

eggtooth said...

JB,all of yr reviews are sensational.

Jonathan said...

you make be blush ET

2byoung said...

I couldnt agree more about your comment that Katie and Jason should show together. Once again, I find Jason's work to be outstanding but over-shadowed by more "explosive" work surrounding him.

Oh and, I love your blog :)

Jonathan said...

It wasn't until I was making the post that I realized I did not photograph Jason's work. Perhaps I was buffeted out of the way by the TV crew before I could get em? Either way it's too bad, they were worth photographing.

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