Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Bridgeport Arts and Cultural Council "Paper or Plastic?" show opens Thursday evening

The BACC Gallery in the Historic Arcade Mall
1001-12 Main St., Bridgeport, (203) 552-4154
Paper or Plastic?
Mar. 3—Apr. 8, 2011.
Opening reception, Thurs. Mar. 3, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

When we purchase something it is usually inspired by some combination of need and desire. The ratio between the two shifts depending on our relationship to the object or service. When we buy toilet paper, the needle leans toward need, when we buy a dress the action might be primarily linked to desire. Purchasing a car might fall somewhere in between, perhaps balancing the practical needs of a family car with our yearning for a lifestyle promised in a car company’s ad campaigns.

The artists in Paper or Plastic?, curated for the Bridgeport Arts and Cultural Council by Terri C. Smith and Eileen Walsh, are in tune with the range of activities and motivations surrounding consumer culture. Their works appropriate, reference, and harness materials, branding strategies, symbols, and themes found in the market. Artists in the exhibition include: William Corprew (Web), Mark DeRosa, Diane DiMassa (Web), Jahmane, Richard Killeaney, Marcella Kovac, Philip Lique, Alan Neider, Rita Valley and Kevin Van Aelst (Web).

Everything from a historic figure to an ecosystem can be branded. With Jahmane’s "MLBK JR" and "Malcolm Exxon," images of historic figures (who are often appropriated to brand political causes, campaigns, etc.) are combined with the logos and slogans of Burger King and Exxon, reading “Malcolm Exxon” and “Martin Luther Burger King.” As a graphic designer, Marcella Kovac rebrands found artworks with stenciled letters. In the shoreline community of Connecticut, seaside paintings abound as a reaffirmation of that region’s environmental appeal. With Kovac’s piece, the word “Porn” is spray painted on a reproduced seascape painting. Through this juxtaposition the human desire to capture, possess and objectify beauty—whether the female figure or a picturesque landscape—is highlighted.

Sensitivity to the metaphorical and formal power of materials also weaves its way into Paper or Plastic?. In Rita Valley’s beaded credit cards, a seamstresses craft meets purchasing power – a durable plastic rectangle meant to be swiped, stored and swiped again becomes a fragile tapestry. With the title "Fur: Coat," artist Philip Lique cites a soft luxury item made from animals. Lique’s coat, however, is made out of the synthetic material of mass-produced insulation. It is not luxurious (in texture or look) or rare, creating a tension between naming and the formal qualities of the object itself. Richard Killeaney’s pillows are made of recycled men’s tweed suits. With these household comfort/design objects, public (work) and private (home) are joined through reattribution.

With Paper or Plastic? the signs and symbols of consumer culture are torqued, critiqued, appropriated, and recontextualized, providing new lenses through which to see the everyday activities of consumption. Of course, art is also a consumer product, as are art institutions and exhibitions, making it impossible to fully separate these artworks or this exhibition from the very systems it addresses.

There will be an opening reception for this show on Thurs., Mar. 3, from 5—7 p.m.

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