Experience my looming verticality!
Posted by cathedralofshit on May 24, 2011
Congratulations to David Kordansky who has compiled his press release for Art Basel by opening up his reader on critical theory and quoting randomly at length:
David Kordansky Gallery is very pleased to announce its participation at Art 42 Basel with a solo presentation by Kathryn Andrews in the Art Statements sector. Andrews focuses on the phenomenological experience of materiality, and its potential for creating systems, or economies, of representational relationships. The physical and symbolic qualities of fabricated and found objects exist in a dense matrix of cross-referentiality. Evocative of a nursery-like environment, Andrews’ project explores the legacies of minimalism and pop art from a post-feminist perspective.
Three sculptures fabricated from highly polished steel suggest children’s cribs or playpens, yet their materials––hard, cold and reflective––deny this implied use, and call to mind idealized forms that have historically been used within the contexts of minimalism and pop art. From the perspective of minimalism, the sculptures’ seriality and reduced geometry highlight ‘pure form,’ while the honed finish of polished steel refers to a pop sense of fetishized materiality. A vertical pole extends upward from one corner of each structure; hanging from these poles are clown suits rented from a Hollywood costume shop for a period of 100 years. The agreement of the rental marks the clown suit, and thus the artwork, as an active site of economic exchange.
These works are the latest in Andrews’ ongoing investigation of the potentials of the readymade, in which objects drawn from extra-artistic contexts are used to mark otherwise static sculptures with latent and/or potential histories. The readymade not only serves as a vessel through which materials are imported from the outside world, but as a conduit for pre-existing social relationships and symbolic forms. In keeping with this, Andrews has frequently turned to Hollywood prop and memorabilia shops as sources for artifacts. In sculptural terms, these objects have an everyday, even banal quality. However, when their true origins are made clear in the description of the piece, it becomes difficult to separate them from the images of popular culture that they connote.
The dissonance between object and image is of prime concern in a series of unique half-tone silkscreen prints framed in black aluminum, depicting mylar bows laid over fields of color. Andrew uses printmaking to explore the ways in which images function as symbols, and to examine how this communicative function is in turn dependent upon the image’s presence as a physical object. Though the prints themselves are flat, this quality is treated as a sculptural attribute in and of itself; the prints are often juxtaposed with three-dimensional elements, such as metal frames or pieces of foil that obscure parts of their images.
In the context of a nursery, the prints produced for this project seem to refer to birthday gifts. However, the absence of an actual gift (and by extension a gift-giver) forces the viewer to consider the material immediacy of the color and bows themselves. In the associative logic of the project, the patterning of color cues the striping of the clown costumes while the shiny depicted metal mimics the surface of the sculptures. It also creates a system of serial correspondences, in which forms and colors become components of a modular vocabulary whose grammar is repetition.
Such relationships are made particularly manifest by a large-scale work that incorporates both two- and three-dimensional elements. A mural-sized image of larger-than-life candles provides the backdrop for a polished aluminum chair; ‘seated’ in the chair is an ominous polished baseball bat. Furniture used as a staging device is a running theme in several of Andrews’ newest works, in which found and fabricated objects are perched on chairs and benches. The casual domesticity of these basic forms is juxtaposed against a range of props, like the bat, that demand to be read as symbols. The resulting tension forces symbols into a temporarily equalized relationship with familiar, utilitarian things. As a potential container for a body, the chair also suggests that the ultimate support for symbolic images is human subjectivity itself.
Inspired by vinyl wallpaper used in actual nurseries, the mural, like the clown costumes, opens up the project to contingencies beyond the context of an art exhibition. The candles might be the most symbolically active agents in the installation, provoking an exaggerated series of metaphorical readings. But their monumentality is in fact a decoy: they have been printed on the thinnest of substrates, and the very functionality of birthday candles––to mark time––is predicated upon self-destruction. This sense of implied violence is amplified further by the chair and the bat, whose threateningly upright orientation provides an uneasy visual counterpart to the candles’ looming verticality.