Brad Tucker & SnackProjects
Brad Tucker: Pressing News
Inman Gallery, Houston
April 13 - May 19, 2012
Austin-based artist Brad Tucker’s playful sculpture, installation, sound, video and flat works have been a welcomed addition to exhibitions in Texas and elsewhere for years. In this, his fifth solo exhibition at Inman Gallery in Houston, Tucker continues his idiosyncratic examination of the themes recognizable to those familiar with his work. Bagdad Bass Club features record players, a TV, painted abstract forms, looped bands and speakers spread out in the gallery space. The lo-fi sound, VHS videos and recordings of friends and children plunking notes on a piano or strumming a guitar, create an ambient soundscape that respond aurally to the visual objects around them. A series of abstract paintings made with hand-cut rubber stamps and ink pressed into stretched canvas make their debut in Pressing News. They extend the themes of approximation, call and response and copying that are established within the sculptural objects and their installation. Unpredictable, layered and irregular, the improvisational rectangular shapes within the paintings create patterns that are delightful formal investigations and a relatively serious collision between the mechanical and handmade. It would be tempting to approach Tucker’s casual approach to materials, ideas and methods with a suitcase full of deployable media-theory and art historical references. As appropriate as that would be, it's best to let yourself wander in Tucker’s work—moving from object to object, sound to video, installation to painting—letting connections (theoretical or otherwise) form and dissolve on their own terms. This has always been the crucial and rewarding part of seeing Tucker’s work for me, and one I wouldn’t pass up participating in again.
Eric Zimmerman is an artist and Editor of ...might be good.
SnackProjects, the art morsel brought to you by Michael Guidry and Robert Ruello, is the amuse-bouche of the exhibition world that you can have any time you want. Originally conceived in New Orleans, Guidry and Ruello sought to enhance their local art scene by taking a more participatory and curatorial approach. While a formal exhibition space was out of reach for the two artists, a miniature space was not only manageable, but also offered a unique flexibility that the life-size versions did not—thus SnackProjects was born. After relocation to Houston post Hurricane Katrina, SnackProjects finds itself in its third season of serving up delicious arty nibblets. The 11 x 22 x 13 inch space travels to different host sites, currently at The Menil Collection Bookstore and previously, the Lawndale Art Center. Invited artists get free creative range and because the space itself can be manipulated, each artists’ installation turns into its own art object, making de-install a snap and creating a physical archive of each exhibition. The malleable nature of the portable space tears down the traditional approach to exhibiting and the results are refreshing, exciting and downright amusing. In the inaugural season, Rachel Hecker created a literal peanut gallery, using the space as a stage and animating a handful of peanuts with the use of magnets. Bill Davenport utilized the space to activate viewer participation with his exhibition, Take what you like - Leave something better, in which the audience was prompted to take whatever object was present in the gallery space and replace it with another. In SnackProjects' second season, Cody VanderKaay turned the space into a “drawing machine” in which he packaged sharpened pencils pointed at a blank sheet of paper inside the gallery and put the whole thing in the mail, the paper documenting the in-transit process. Currently exhibiting is Eric Schnell, who takes a diaristic and process-driven approach to architectural installations. Surprising and ever changing, keep an eye out for what (and where) SnackProjects may come up with next.
Emily Ng is an artist and Production Associate at Fluent~Collaborative.