Another show I’ve been meaning to write about for weeks is the “Note to Self” group show at Schroeder Romero (closes tomorrow). It includes hysterical self-deprecating confessional works made by artists using language and self-expression as a means to cope and understand not only the universe but the complexities of an artist’s function in and out of the art world. Each varies in covering both personal and public, political and diaristic forms and is executed in different mediums from photography and drawing to collage and comic book illustration. A few favorites follows:
William Powhida, Why I Make Art, 2008, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 15 x 12.5 in (All images via gallery)
William Powhida is the quintessential douchbag artist of the decade; He’s bloated with ego and proclaims to be a genius and brilliant artist. He hexes dealers and artists and shouts dirty words at a gluttonous art market and its social spiral stairs whilst pruning his skin sharing the same jacuzzi as these shameful art-as-money-mongers. He demonizes the entire system and points with mocking fingers the hypocrisy, the redundancy, and the illusion that spellbinds stardom hungry artists, discount obsessed dealers and pocket heavy prepubescent dealers. Although it may be obvious this is all a fictional undertaking, the character we see depicted through these paintings of crinkled paper, list making, journalistic handwritten notes reveal a softer and vulnerable aspect of this projected character, one who needs nurturing and reassurance, a stable grounding that is close to impossible to achieve in this neurotic and irrational artosphere. The artist will have a solo shows opening 4/10 at the gallery.
David Kramer, Untitled (Sense of Direction), 2008, pencil and ink on paper, 19 x 25 in
Scenic photographic moments ripped off advertisements from vintage magazines are overlapped by personal narrative texts that are pathetic and pitiful but truly reflective for a yearning hunger and nostalgia for the good old days. It’s open to interpretation whether it is the artist’s true voice or as in the case of Powhida, a projected narrative that secretly speaks for all. The watercolors emphasize ethereal quality of good times as depicted in his work: people drinking, posing in front of fancy cars, mostly moments of temporal reverie.
Jim Torok, Everything is Breaking Apart, 2007, ink on paper, 10.25 x 14.25 in
I’ve admired this artist’s drawings for years and absolutely adore the same sort of pity-me, I don’t care but I really do care and want you to sympathize and care for me-attitude that reverberated within all these artists mentioned thus far. Jim’s subjects are more varied and cover everyday experiences and list making, it also incorporates art world characters such as his subtly consistent encounters with stamp collage accumulist Tony Fitzpatrick (Powhida does this with Balincourt and Schutz). They resemble comic strips and maintain a stubborn simplicity that are as hysterical as they are pitiful. The crude sophomoric rendering is legitimately intentional and plays a vital part in depicting a (maybe) fictional character facing daily personal and public conundrums. I’ve seen photorealistic portraits he’s done that are quite amazing and wonder if he’d publicize those series.
Jennifer Dalton, (How do Artists Live) Will Having Children Hurt My Art Career, 2006, chalk, black paint on paper, 19 x 24 in
I’m running into Dalton’s work more and more often and not realizing its the same artist. I love how she incorporates self-exploration of an artist with issues facing gender inequality, logistical imbalances, and the general funny crooked business that is the art world. Her works come in the form of lists, charts, graphs, and uses accumulated and self-gathered date to produce an end product that is as revealing as it is an understatement.
There are many more artists included in the show, these are just a few favorites. It was a superbly curated clean cut show that was hysterical and fearfully telling. Don’t miss it, show closes tomorrow.