Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Strange Days" Show at 600 Townsend

Our current exhibition, "Strange Days" juried by Tara McDowell, curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, opened June 9, 2005. Tara gave a wonderful talk about her experience chosing the work and spoke with the attending artists included in the show.

Tara's curator statement:
In the process of viewing slides submitted for this exhibition, I was deeply struck by the emergence of a particular sensibility that pervaded much of the work: a kind of self-aware, at times cheeky brand of surrealism that appeared more often than not, begging the question of further examination. This strain of surrealism is far removed from that of the 1930s, though certain works share with those classic examples an uncanniness that led Man Ray to describe them as “disagreeable objects.” Rather, on view here is something that taps into the uneasiness, abjection, disillusionment, and absurdity that is the flip side of a society obsessed with homeland security, primetime titillation, brand-name belongings, and Stepford values. With this substrata of daily life informing the work of each of these artists—either consciously or not, an element of Pop often emerges by use of, for example, materials such as giant Lincoln logs or flags. Equally present is a latent, though sometimes dark, spirituality evident in angelic wings that also resemble lungs or the grotesque yet beautiful portrait busts of goddess figures. Perhaps what unites all of the works in the exhibition is an engagement with the symbolic and an ability to, as Hal Foster once described the not unrelated work of Robert Gober, sustain enigma.

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