I – Object: Sculpture, Performance, and Photography by Justin Hoover, Laura Boles Faw, David Peña Lopera, and Kathryn Williamson.
Royal NoneSuch Gallery
4231 Telegraph Ave Oakland, CA 94609
Sculpture, Performance, and Photography by Justin Hoover, Laura Boles Faw, David Peña Lopera, and Kathryn Williamson.
Since the 1960’s, with the rise of performance, social practice, and other ephemeral art forms, the art object frequently has been denigrated as only calling for contemplation or commodity consumption. It must be renounced, the argument goes, if we are to enjoy a more dynamic, engaged – or even revolutionary – experience. However, in recent decades, such subversive rhetoric has grown shallow. The aesthetic revolutions it once informed have been fully accomplished in the pluralism of contemporary art; and now, rather than subversive, the claim to engage the world often seems only to serve only as an excuse to embrace popular culture and affirm the status quo.
To the contrary, this show aims to celebrate and defend the art object as a site of resistance. Artworks interrupt our everyday involvements, calling for consideration of otherwise obscured phenomena. As objects, they object – articulating limits, conflicts, and failures that resist simple social recuperation. Despite their affinity with more commonplace artifacts and involvements, artworks distort or disrupt their conventional functions –providing newfound pleasures, compelling different modes of engagement, or indeed calling for contemplation! And these qualities of the object frequently persists even in art forms – including performance, video, and installation – that originally were celebrated as transcending them.
While affirming the object character of artwork, this show thus simultaneously explores the diverse forms of objectivity in contemporary art. Justin Hoover’s “Ready Made Revolution,” presents the art object as a political intervention – a bomb! – with the power to provoke panic. Laura Faw’s “Not An Exit,” challenges the cliché that art provides a flight from reality, by explicitly refusing any out. David Pena’s “Form and Function” evokes entropy and death to explore the limits marked by aesthetic and physical form. And Kathryn Williamson’s performances involve transforming herself momentarily from subject to object – simply by collapsing in public.