STEPHEN G. RHODES
Curated by STERLING RUBY. 08 September 2005 - 08 October 2005
Foxy Production is pleased to present AUTONOMY, a group exhibition that engages with Modernism’s legacy in playful and yet substantive ways. The artists astutely incorporate montage, primitivism, formalism and abstraction to produce heterogeneous and mischievous interpretations of the movement’s historical and aesthetic autonomies.
Melanie Schiff’s photograph, “Untitled” (2005), at first reveals the ethereal beauty of reflecting rays of light. On further contemplation the everyday elements of its composition become apparent: a light source refracts through a plastic CD cover placed upon an industrial carpet. The work’s abstract nature is underscored by the prosaic elements of its composition. “Untitled” smartly critiques Modernism’s spiritual quest for the sublime by highlighting another of its strategies: its introduction of the readymade into the art system.
Stephen G. Rhodes presents “Cartesian Omelette Catcher: after Beckett” (2005), an open modular structure that acts as a darkly comic “dreamcatcher”, the device the Chippewa people use to catch nightmares. In Rhodes’ work, a rubber chicken, frying pan and eggs are caught within a charred LeWitt-like grid; the traces of a disturbing dream are contained within a Modernist construct. By placing what could be props from an absurdist drama within a degraded Minimalist sculpture, the work wittily highlights Modernism’s struggle with representation.
Brett Lund’s “Matriculator” (2005) is a black wooden pillar in two parts. The top section seems to merely rest upon the base section, which is itself propped up by a small wooden wedge. Like a Barnett Newman sculpture in need of attention, the tower seems a little unsteady and its wedge may not be helping matters. Lund has created an imposing work that critiques attempts to purify form while managing to possess a radical, formal beauty. Tension is produced by the possibility of accidental actions undermining the work’s Minimalist integrity.
Nathan Hylden presents “Mirage” (2005), a black and white striped painting juxtaposed with a small image of a similarly striped bikini on a woman’s body. The reproduced image cheekily undermines Minimalist conventions, while conversely returning one’s attention to the elemental structure of the painting. This combination wryly eyes Minimalist claims to autonomy and separation by highlighting its hardwired relationship to its opposite, the represented figure. Hylden comments on absolutism by alluding to the Purist’s inevitable contamination by the wider world.
Aaron Curry presents “Forced into a depiction of evidence from Boccioni’s can (beans)” 2005), a mixed-media sculptural piece that integrates a variety of references and media: its rounded interlocking form and negative spaces recall the classically Modernist sculptures of Hepworth or Moore, while its flat planes seem to evoke Calder. Its use of twine, bead and carved wood add a primitivist note, while its incorporation of a Jessica Simpson poster and the day-glo sheen of its fluorescent resin finish point to Pop and the 1960s. The title refers to the Futurist Boccioni’s struggles with the need for representational “evidence.” These disparate elements fuse into an intense yet open work that contemplates art’s traditions while generating contemporary metaphors about the role and reception of art practice.
Aaron Curry (1972, San Antonio, TX) holds a BA from the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently an MFA candidate at the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA. Selected exhibitions include Wight Gallery, UCLA, CA (2005) (forthcoming); Paxico Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2005); Worth Rider Gallery, UC Berkeley (2004); and 1R Gallery, Chicago, IL (2002).
Nathan Hylden (1978, Fergus Falls, MN) holds a BA from the Minnesota State University and has recently studied at the Staedelschule, Frankfurt Germany. He is currently a Masters candidate at the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA. Hylden has recently exhibited at Gallery Nomadenoase, Hamburg (2005).
Brett Lund (1973, Minneapolis, MN) attended the Akademie Isotrop residency, Hamburg, Germany (1999-2000) and is currently a Masters candidate at Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA. He has recently exhibited at Galerie Nomadenoase, Hamburg (2005) and at Daniel Hug Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2004).
Stephen G. Rhodes (1977, Houston, TX) holds a BFA from Bard College, Annandale, New York and is an MFA candidate at the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA. Exhibitions include: Champion Fine Arts, Culver City, CA (2004); Entropy/James Fuentes, Brooklyn, NY (2001); and The Space/James Fuentes, New York NY (2001).
Melanie Schiff (1977, Chicago, IL) holds a BFA from New York University and is a recent MFA graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Recent exhibitions include: Modern Culture, New York (2005); Placemaker Gallery, Miami, FL (2004); Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago (2004) (solo); and Suitable Gallery, Chicago (2004) (two person).