When I previewed Calico Brooklyn’s show titled Born Again, featuring the works of Thomas Buildmore, Allison Maletz, and Charles Wilkin, it was easy to find the theme of reuse and reinvention in collage artist Wilkin’s enlarged pigment stained postcard prints and Buildmore’s drippy spraypaint floral still lifes, but Maletz’s sound installation called Utility Purgatory, outfitted with a telephone and surrounded by her watercolor mold paintings was harder to discern. That is, unless we consider the post-Mayan apocalyptic experience referenced by Curator Scott Chasse, which he described as “very similar to the pre-Mayan apocalypse, only we are able to celebrate the afterlife in real-time.”
When I asked Chasse what inspired Born Again he said, “I understand that appropriation and reuse of images, ideas, materials, etc is nothing new, but I think that looking at the works by these three artists as a form of “rebirth” gives a fresh, slightly different way of experiencing what is being presented.”
Sitting on a rotary phone on hold with the telephone company for so long that mold grows on the walls would leave anyone dreaming of the apocalypse, or at least the reinvention of customer service tactics.
Maletz explained that, “these services exist in theory to improve our lives, yet are rendered useless as all the various “please hold” messages loop endlessly, leaving the audience completely impotent.” But Maletz doesn’t take “hold” for an answer and presents this experience in a new way with “a new meaning, so that we might all step back as outsiders looking in, to observe and perhaps even enjoy this well known and frustrating experience.” She went on to say that she made “the Mold Paintings specifically to go with Utility Purgatory. At their core, both works are about what can grow out of neglect.” Continue reading →
Yes, there is a stupid blizzard, but a walk in the snow if fun, and so is a walk in the snow to an art show with amazing work, friends and drinks to warm you up!
I recommend this show for tonight, Friday February 8, 2013:
Born Again is opening tonight at Calico Brooklyn (67 West St) from 7-9pm and features the artwork of Thomas Buildmore, Allison Maletz & Charles Wilkin. The show follows the theme of reuse and recontextualization in the work itself but also in the new techniques and styles presented by artists.
It will be so moving that you might begin trembling and speaking in tongues.
The way images move through a photo studio, it makes sense to put a collage show in one in order to symbolically organize all the flashing fragments. Picture Farm, one such studio, will be housing All That Remains, a group exhibit presented by the local, yet nomadic project called Ugly Art Room.
Before the dreamlike and poetic mosaics land on the studio walls, they’ve collected in the Greenpoint apartment of the show’s curator, and one of 28 participating artists, Charles Wilkin. The stored works seem to mesh naturally with Wilkin’s own workspace and personal collection.
“My discovery of collage was accidental” the artist told Greenpointers. “Running late to a drawing class with an armful of photos from the previous class – but without pencil, paper, or drawing materials – my teacher suggested that I just do collages.” Wilkins is also a graphic designer and that history honed his understanding of the medium. “It’s all scraps that came from the graphic arts, reassembled by artists. And that’s where the turning point came for me. A career commercial artist, good at it but almost bored with design, I took the collages I was doing at home and was able to apply them in a design setting.”
It’s just that blurring space between “fine” art and illustration that this collection makes work. “David Plunkert was the first artist I saw that was doing that similar style that was illustrative without being illustration”. Wilkin’s casual and informed manner echoes All That Remains’ mix of canny and imaginative creativity. “Design, illustration, typography, to me its all art. It’s all composition. One thing that collage did do was free me from the constant problem solving of making a logo.”
Talking to Wilkin in his home and around his own collection and studio space, it’s easy to see why he sticks with the physicality of the LIFE magazines and discarded photo albums he’s gathered over the years. Only a few pieces in the show are digitally produced and he reminds himself that the work is reused print. “I love the tactility of paper and the physical act of cutting, gluing, and arranging paper. On the other hand digital collage frees the image from the size restraint of the found object. It can be bigger.”
“With the norm of sound bites and the world shrinking and cultures clashing together this show becomes more relevant. I wanted to show what’s going on now but the work I found was never overtly political.” Looking at the work only bolsters Wilkin’s excitement for what he has unearthed. He’s done a good job at collecting the collected.
“I think this kind of work has always been on the fringe, so now is a good time for the show. When you look at the work here, even though there are different styles, there is an underlying theme of mystery and uncertainty that’s very relevant to what’s going on now. It pulls from the past to analyze the present so that hopefully we can move to the future. That’s the beauty of collage.”
UGLY ART ROOM PRESENTS: ALL THAT REMAINS
October 21st – November 19th, 2011
Ugly Art Room (via Picture Farm)
338 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Opening Reception: 7-9pm, Friday, October 21st, 2011
Mathilde Aubier, Paul Burgess, Cless, Virginia Echeverria, Fred Free, John Gall, James Gallagher, April Gertler, Ashkan Honarvar, Colin Jenkins, Gordon Magnin, Clarita Mata, Jeffery Meyer, Tom Moglu, Randy Mora, Julien Pacaud, Lilly Pereira, Dave Plunkert, Ciara Phelan, Eduardo Recife, Kareen Rizk, Javier Rodriguez, Valerie Roybal, Katherine Streeter, Leigh Wells, Charles Wilkin, Lionel Williams, Bill Zindel