Flatiron Project Space
133/141 W 21st Street
New York, NY 10011
Opening Reception: April 26, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
BFA Visual & Critical Studies and the Flatiron Project Space are pleased to present “Unsweetened,” a group exhibition of graduating VCS students, curated by Allyson Vieira. On view from April 24-May 3, the opening reception is on April 26, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., concurrent with the VCS Open Studios.
How does an artist respond to culture-at-large in a new era of multiple “truths,” when formerly-objective reality is questioned both from on high and from far below. Simple ubiquitous icons, formerly possessing a cultural stability which could be reiterated as Pop Art, now float loosely between opposed poles. In the public sphere, fluid concepts of self-identity clash with alternative facts, but both share a subject-driven relationship to truth. So what to do with all these icons, still evocative, but unmoored? Pop can be sweet, but leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Mason Wilson’s Three Bozos does just that. Bold painting of vaguely familiar logos evoke ambivalent memories of staying up way too late and someone else’s childhood. At first Pop-like and legible in bright blue and electric red, the logos muddy with overpainting: the three bozos become one. Neon ladies’ underpants, more at home as sex shop decor, are mundanely hung out to dry in Storm Ascher’s commandingly titled Hang Your Delicates. Brittney Najar’s surreal and unassuming Cigarettes quietly pack the ill-at-ease psychic punch of the uncanny. Brightly colored puffs accumulate cheerfully into haptic mats in Heru Zhao’s Touch Your Skin. But despite their inviting appearance, Zhao’s work is derived from dark meditations on psychology. Erika Verhagen’s Fence Sitting feels as comfortable as an old pair of boots, but as the wooden legs persist in their lifelessness, the body implied shifts from comfy to corpse-like and the comedy of the work turns black.