It's hot out, but it's worth it
by Lauren Adams
Picks from New American Talent 24
Arthouse, through August 23
If you ever found yourself wondering if picturesque landscapes, cutesy, yet highly mutated porcelain figurines and Hannah Montana clones could happily co-exist together in one exhibition, the answer is within your reach. New American Talent, juried this year by Hamza Walker, includes the work of 26 emerging artist from around the country, and while the work is highly varied, there are a few gems in the show.
Deadfall, a near life-sized, 3D landscape by Jenn Figg of Richmond, Virginia offers a poignant tableau of today’s environmental crisis. Using vinyl, Figg produces somewhat realistic, yet highly artificial, impressions of bark, leaves, vines, and grass, while utilizing the natural texture, appearance, and color of cardboard to recreate the rough innards and rings of a tree. It is yet another take on the age old question: If a (cardboard) tree falls in gallery does it make a sound?
The tiny porcelain creations of Debra Broz of Austin (Polycephelus, Kitty Deity, and Serpentine Geese) evoke the small collectables cherished by many a grandmother as well as the miniature religious statues that have been kept in homes throughout time. The figurines— a two-headed lamb, a six-armed cat, and two geese with elongated, intertwining necks—successfully combine the terrors of Greek mythology and Eastern religion with the adorability of Precious Moments Figures.
Stephanie Bernstein of Tucson, Arizona graces the exhibition with The King of Hearts, a Tim Burton-inspired, friendly nightmare made of masking tape, paper, clay, Beanie Babies, plaster, found objects, resin and acrylic paint. The King himself rides dejected and backwards on his steed (in this case a giant blue fox) grasping his bouquet of captured hearts. As they ride away the creature delicately steps over a crumpled, broken figure laying between its spindly legs, the latest victim of the King of Hearts.
Cruz Ortiz: Ice Cold
Art Palace, through August 5
Inside the walls of Art Palace lies another universe created by Cruz Ortiz. Within the blue, star-studded walls are a web of words, a haphazard shifting of Spanish and English which leaves one spinning through space. Confusing at first, the images leave the viewer wandering from wall to wall, from room to room, unable to decipher the meaning of the words. When the confusion has passed, you realize the exhibition elicits the bewilderment experienced by a visitor in a foreign land, echoing the feelings of Ortiz’s intergalactic character Spaztek, newly arrived on Earth.
Also at Art Palace: double your fun with the photo show in the Project Room, I am not so Different, reviewed in this week’s issue.
Colby Bird: Cold End
Okay Mountain, Opening Reception July 11, 7-10pm
Trained photographer, hip-hop aficionado and emerging sculptor Colby Bird opens his solo exhibition, Cold End this week at OK Mountain. Bird is known for examining the different social spheres that both surround and entrap society. In Cold End, Bird combines pristine photographs, paintings, and sculpture to explore the theme of “honest work” and “situating oneself on the continumm of global commerce and class.”
Lauren Adams is an intern at Fluent~Collaborative.