Peter Lamb "The Unemployed Prophet" & Laura Braciale "Propositions"
-in the project space-
Hedwige Jacobs, Animated Drawings (video & drawings)
Josephine Durkin, "Smile and Nod" (installation)
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London artist Peter Lamb will debut in Houston with "The Unemployed Prophet", a new series of highly charged and emotive 'hybrid photo/paint/print collages'. In these new works, Lamb trawls mercilessly through his and the world’s collective memory bank, unearthing fragments of hidden truth and forgotten realisations. The result is a series of newly defined and deftly designed truths that feign a sort of mystical authority for our contemporary times.
Suggesting the revolutionaries of Fluxus and the Situationist International, Lamb's sharp juxtapositions and innovative compositions recall the aesthetics of the mid-century's upheaval. These jarring yet elegant compositions are born of a process, which begins with the immediacy of a paper collage. From reproductions of DaVinci drawings to magazine advertisements and colored tape, Lamb cuts and pastes, preserves and obliterates, until he reaches a satisfactory level of lo-fi refinement that will serve as an open field for the rest of the process. A high-resolution scan is generated from the original collage, which is then digitally printed on an aluminum composite substrate called Dibond. This rigid, large-scale surface serves as a ground for Lamb to revisit his initial impulses and stylistic decisions.
This 're-visiting' is an open process that begins with paint and ultimately lends a very human, multi-dimensional element to the finished artwork. Despite the variegated process of making these works, Lamb refers to the final result simply as 'a painting' and describes the collage element as being 'contained by paint'. Whether the paint is just one more element in the collage process or the skin, which holds everything together is a matter of perception.
Laura Braciale, a Houston native and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, has a refreshingly intelligent approach to dealing with the problem of the 'blank canvas'.
Instead of drawing upon imagined or real-life imagery, culling photographic source material or letting the material qualities of paint begin the process, Braciale calls upon unsuspecting, utilitarian objects to get things started. Comfortable with the well-worn idea of the canvas as object, she introduces a second object in a precocious gesture of 'artist as matchmaker'. Whether it be a section of mattress foam, a pair of bean bags or a standing floor lamp, Braciale's decision is the beginning of a co-dependent relationship that she is then responsible for making work.
In these 'relationships' the canvas depends on the object for information and the object depends on the canvas for a means to communicate. It is as if the object is thinking about itself, its object-hood, and its thoughts are being projected onto the surface of the canvas for the world to finally see. Sometimes there are also suggestions of a physical relationship between the two objects. For example in Bean Bag Era a large vertical canvas rests its bottom corners on two beanbags. An aura bleeds from the corners where the canvas meets the beanbags, suggesting that color is the effect of pressure from, or proximity to, these foreign objects.
Some of the works in the exhibition remain as 'pure paintings'. In Shower Scene Braciale contrasts the flatly painted, rigid grid of a tiled shower wall with the strangely green thick-stroke of soap, melting in the tray. This juxtaposition of paint with itself (paint as graphic medium vs. paint as substance) provokes a similar dialogue, a questioning of the nature of space and physicality, even without the introduction of a second object. Whether the juxtaposition is between two objects or two manifestations of paint, the result is a cleverly organized symbiosis that feels immensely relevant in the context of contemporary art and society.
In the auxiliary gallery, Houston-based Dutch artist Hedwige Jacobs will present new animated projections created from her enigmatic drawings and Josephine Durkin (Greenville, TX) will exhibit Smile and Nod, an intricate installation of nearly 500 paper rocking chairs rhythmically activated by an oscillating fan.
CTRL Gallery is located at 3907 Main Street, one block south of Alabama in Midtown Houston. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am - 6pm. For more information, please contact the gallery at 713-523-CTRL(2875) or visit www.ctrlgallery.com.