In the craze of modern technology, how often do we need to stop and consult the manual? It might be nice to have a manual for life, that we might stop in the midst of decision-making and look up alternative strategies and life-saving information. Group show, curatorial Team: Torsten Zenas Burns, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy.
Artists: Dawn McDaniel ? sculpture, Kari Gatzke ? painting, Halflifers (Torsten Zenas Burns & Anthony Discenza) - video installation, Michael O'Malley ? performative sculpture/video, MTAA (T.Whid and M. River) ? installation, Cary Peppermint - performance/installation, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy - sculpture/installation, Michelle Yarnick - sculpture
In the image: 'Weight and Measure', Dawn McDaniel, 1999.
Curatorial Team: Torsten Zenas Burns, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy
In the craze of modern technology, how often do we need to stop and consult the manual? It might be nice to have a manual for life, that we might stop in the midst of decision-making and look up alternative strategies and life-saving information. "The Omega Manual" portends to be literally the last manual you will need. The artworks in this exhibition project alternative futures for the objects that comprise the show and seek to answer questions such as: Which future are we participating in? Which life are we living? Which belief system will we engage today? Will that belief system withstand the future?. The works in this show, although based on low-tech, everyday materials and objects, are transformed through their delivery as art.
Crystalline tables, exploding cakes, shopping-spree assemblage and miniature projectiles,... where is the line drawn between art and the everyday object? The artists in this group-show place this line in different places for different reasons. In the work of Dawn McDaniel, commemoration takes on an erotic reversal, intimating the total possession of or by the object. By changing the usual material, her crystalline table, wooden anvil, and wax hammer resurrect the original objects, making them newly visible. In paintings by Kari Gatzke, there is an edge between the perceived and actual utility of the object. Shallow windows onto common retail display items reinvigorate their aesthetic use as strange decorative totems calling to mind a notion of commercial cave paintings. In an inverse relationship, Michelle Yarnick's cake sculptures fight against decorative display and create objects that for all their sumptuousness resist desire in their complete inedibility.
Often, a mass-produced object is slowed down through a meticulous construction process. The show explores the process of popular craft and construction, the investigation of the "kit", or the idea of self-made technology. The Halflifer's rescue-pod transforms everyday industrial and domestic products into a parallel world in which an escape vehicle contains nostalgic communiques from a reconstituted space. Many of the artists' mechanical or pseudo-mechanical objects have the unique potential to be generative, to create themselves over the run of the show. MTAA creates technological gargoyles which collect phone messages from cryptic advertisements placed during the run of the show. In "The Omega Manual", each artist investigates the practical object as a tool of enlightenment, thoughtful manifestations towards a useful history. In the work of Cary Peppermint, these manifestations are the most direct as Peppermint spins etheric allegiances and uncertain manifestos for a hyper-sensitive DJ audience.
"The Omega Manual" also has implications for the use of technology by and for art. Rather than rejecting militaristic or corporate strategies, these artists work in parallel to these institutions by reverse engineering complex and forbidding structures such as the space program and the rock industry. Michael O'Malley's opening night rocket launches siphon the drama and activity of the "countdown" in order to convert pragmatic spaces and dormant moments into shared points of intensity. Jennifer and Kevin McCoy's tables from their "Band Rider" series display the database of products that the ultimate product, the rockstar, subsists on. By attempting the impossible, these projects re-invest metaphor into hidden production processes from command-centers and back-stage dressing rooms. They pull the forms out of their native context and at once divest them of their ostensible use and give them new aesthetic utility.
The curatorial team, artists who have collaborated in the past, is pulling together their own work with other work that was suggested by six years of conversation about technology, utilitarianism, and science fiction.
Artists? Reception: Friday, October 18, 6 ? 9 pm
Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 12-6pm
Performances: Michael O'Malley - Opening night performance
Special performance evening with Cary Peppermint: November 8 at 8pm
Contact: Kathleen Gilrain, Executive Director
Smack Mellon office 718-422-0989, gallery 718-834-8761
Smack Mellon, 56 Water Street (dumbo), Brooklyn, NY 11201