Grace Schofield and Preeya Seth took stock of
the state of the art market, and decided that it simply wasn’t fun enough; the
duo are co-curators of “DREAMLAND
,” the imagination-fueled exhibition currently on view at Garis & Hahn
. As an antidote to what they see as an over-abundance of
super-polished, cerebral work and the use of luxurious materials for not much
more than the sake of luxury itself, they have gathered together eight
disparate artists, linked by their embrace of the lo-fi, the humble, and, most
importantly, a serious sense of playfulness.
—are also linked by the use of their home country, Britain, as
fodder for their art. The title of the exhibition that brings their work
together, and to the U.S. for the first time, is taken from a now-defunct
amusement park in the English seaside town of Margate. In concert, the artists’
paintings, sculptures, films, and mixed-media installations animate the gallery
space with a tattered carnival feel, urging viewers to drop the seriousness and
give in to the lusty calls of eccentricity, fantasy, and imagination.
Guy Rusha, for example, could be said to provide
a dose of sideshow freakishness with his amorphous, human-scale sculpture, Grace
S (2014). Situated in the center of the gallery, this looming non-figure,
composed of a lumpy mass of blue foam with two blue baseball caps stuck
side-by-side to its upper portion, sits precariously on a wooden plinth. It
appears, variously, as a great goggle-eyed monster, a thick cloak hiding
something mysterious underneath, or an amply endowed woman. Meanwhile, nearby,
famous cartoon nemeses Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner appear silhouetted
against a wall in Nigel Dunkley’s One Hour Day (2014). Cut from colored
aluminum, the hapless coyote is seen engaging the clever bird in his epic and
endless chase. On a quieter note, Stefania Batoeva’s understated plaster
pieces, Butt and Glass Shelves (both 2013), with their elusive,
semi-abstract marks, skirt rationality, suggesting dreamy, childhood doodles.
“You better be ready for everything that’s coming,” declares text appearing in
Sam Austen’s delightfully odd and eerie film, A Door Has Opened (2013),
recalling, perhaps, the electrifying dare of a carnival barker, inviting us to
surrender to the fantastical fun of a world far apart from the everyday.
“DREAMLAND” is on view at Garis & Hahn May 7-June 14, 2014.