Adam Mars: NO ROCKSTARS
Appropriating aesthetic elements from an urban art context, Mars’ work blend veracious humor with the sensibilities of pop art to create forums for contemporary topics. Overlaying vibrantly colored brick backgrounds, stenciled witticisms cover a diversity of subjects while remaining relatable to an audience bound by a shared social-media experience. Mars’ work ultimately examines what it means to live in a rapidly evolving society and collectively question the ambiguity of our future.
Pascual Sisto: NO CONTENT/MONUMENT VALLEY
Pascual Sisto’s work explores the transitional and uncertain phase of subjects undergoing a rite of passage in which their normal condition and function is altered, leaving them in a suspended “betwixt and between” state. Their sense of purpose and identity dissolve, bringing about our disorientation. By placing these items into conversation with one another, they parallel the constructed, transitional identity of Los Angeles’ layered reality. Representations of the familiar, in a hypnotic dance of transition, offer an expanded experience of once immutable objects; now unmoored with no ending, resolution or ‘fixed state.’ Because nothing is off-limits, Sisto is able to create a mathematically based visual shorthand that takes the detritus of our daily life and makes it all new.
Jen Liu: THE PINK DETACHMENT SERIES
Based on her award-winning film and dance performance for the Whitney Museum, Jen Liu’s THE PINK DETACHMENT SERIES reinterprets Madame Mao’s THE RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN. This significant ballet from China’s Cultural Revolution describes the domestication of an all-women military corps whose violence has been transformed from the threatening red of military action to the soft and submissive pink of factory food production. Hot dogs, as a particularly industrial food product, integrates the “undesirable” portions with the “desirable” portions of an animal for utmost efficiency and availability to the masses, while serving as a greater allegory for the possibilities of “pinko” communism and feminine obedience: a vision of social harmony through a technologically-enabled abundance, political unification through compromise.
Martine Syms: LESSONS
Syms examines the myths of identity and memory; how they are transformed by the shifting boundaries of business and culture. Boundaries are at the very center of Syms practice: how can she best collapse them? By carefully disassembling the false truths that have been erected by society, by Hollywood, by popular culture. Syms references Fred Moten's essential theory that black radicalist tradition was born within the pauses of improvisational jazz. Similarly, Syms seeks to illuminate the white-washing of history with her own modern break. Site-specific interventions in the truest sense, Syms' semi-autobiographical, caught glimpses offer a window that is at once mundane, subversive, intimate and profound.
Barry Anderson: TOTEMIC PERSONA
The current administration is spreading anxiety, frustration, fear and resistance. One theme that is especially resonant with artists is the refusal to submit to the bigotry and nationalistic aggression surrounding immigration. In this climate, artist and filmmaker Barry Anderson examines ideas of equivalency with the world premiere of his 2-channel digital series,TOTEMIC PERSONA. By focusing on the multi-national patchwork of his students in Kansas City, Anderson underscores how significant and pervasive this crisis of identity has become; the effects of which are reflected in their unsmiling faces. But then in response, Anderson’s collage of eyes and skin and hair moves and blends together; a smooth rippling reassurance. Every individual belongs, a unique part that creates the whole. The Totemic Persona demonstrates our oneness; humanity writ large. In previous work, Anderson has explored different interpretations of totem- a grouping of similar items to create an alpha. This examination of our baseline persona illuminates any remaining doubts. We are all one.
Barry Anderson’s work in video, photography, and installation has most recently been contained within the transmedia project, The Janus Restraint, which focuses on issues of physical and cultural initiation rites with the natural landscape and the constructed environment. His work has been included in over 30 solo exhibitions and nearly 100 group exhibitions around the country and abroad, and has been collected by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Everson Museum of Art.Barry grew up in East Texas and received his BFA in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his MFA in photography and new media from Indiana University Bloomington in 2002. He is currently a professor of studio art at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Currently, Barry is represented by the Walter Maciel Gallery http://www.waltermacielgallery.com/. Special thanks to Walter for helping make this exhibition possible.
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