“Bad on its Own”
Technically, a tree falling in the woods doesn’t make a sound unless the resonance has an eardrum to bounce off of – an argument that only stands under the assumption that the “anyone” in the famous question is a human being. Yet the crash displays independence even within its own nature. The tree falls despite our ears and despite its own roots.
Art also provides an example of an imaginary sentience, and “Bad on its Own” is a particularly mischievous one. Pairing the malleable found textile patterns of Amanda Browder with “nature” paintings by Martin Esteves, the show demonstrates a pretend awareness through a more puckish spite; but art isn’t actually aware of itself, so the line treads wearily between a straight face and a smirk.
Browder’s oversized installations create optical hallucinations from the simplest found sources. Her materials have been freed from all practical intentions and aren’t afraid to let you know it. Esteves’ paintings highlight the fact that nature is mean spirited already, regardless of human interferences such as greenhouse effects or global warming. Both artists’ mix of beauty and farce are what gives this show its title. The word “Bad” here means an intentional state.
“Bad on its Own” plays Browder’s lively environment against Esteves’ more traditional containment. The playful tension that results is welcoming to the public – while an actual need for the public is another story…