Scott Anderson, Brent Birnbaum, Miki Carmi, Claudia Hart, Ashley Hope, Aaron Johnson
Reena Saini Kallat, Tracey Moffatt, Shimon Okshteyn, Dennis Oppenheim, Don Porcella, Tom Sanford
Kristen Schiele, Christoph Schmidberger, Tracey Snelling, Lydia Venieri, Benji Whalen, Barnaby Whitfield
There are 18 artists in “Low Blow: And Other Species of Confusion” all producing imagery: some painting, some sculpture, some video, some photo, some installation. Ashley Hope paints realistic yet strangely decorative and impassive paintings of beautiful young women, brutally murdered. Brent Birnbaum creates shrines from modules of consumer kitsch resulting in Vegas- casino-esque spectacles that snark at imperialism. Tracey Moffatt collages film clips from camp classics like Batman where the Joker defiles Rembrandts with a particularly seductive smarm, while Kristen Schiele makes environments loaded with B-movie lesbian vampires. We visit Tracey Snelling’s miniaturized strip club seething with seedy activity, and we sneer at Tom Sanford's scathing portrait of a governor who famously fell prey to vice. Aaron Johnson's homage to Bronzino provokes the timeless notion that everything beautiful must decay, likewise explored in Barnaby Whitfield's unsurpassably perverse allegories. In Claudia Hart’s digital simulation, The Seasons, a female game avatar slowly decays, engulfed by a climbing rose vine. Curious characters in dubious acts are sculpted absurdly with pipe cleaners by Don Porcella, and Benji Whalen's disembodied arms and heaps of miniature bodies strike a chord of black comedy.
These are all but a few of the images of life in death and death in life in this exhibit. They resonate eerily of the paradoxical order that seems to emerge from the irrational and anarchy, evoking the Feast of Fools and the uncanny, the site of the collapse of opposites: the historical and literary terrain of the Grotesque. This Low Blow’s Grotesque dwells in the shadow of the Bush regime and the 2009 economic collapse, suggesting political and social decay and the fall of empires.
This exhibit is the result of a curatorial collaboration between Aaron Johnson and Stefan Stux.