Fun Meets Formal at envoy enterprises’ “Raving Disco Dolly on a Rock ‘n Roll Trolley”

Academic meets playful in envoy enterprises’ current exhibition “Raving Disco Dolly on a Rock ‘n Roll Trolley,” a group show that exhibits a variety of works by 24 artists, ranging from painting, to sculpture, to installation, many of which integrate conceptual themes into their work through intriguing material-based processes.

Kasper Bosmans’ contribution to the exhibition exemplifies this process-oriented approach. The 24-year-old Belgian artist displays Smoke-Lichens (2013), translating to “smoke paintings,” which he created using a custom-made smoke machine. Bosmans’ procedure, which involves smoke billowing out of the machine onto cotton-wrapped mdf board, results in the subtle discoloration of cotton in varying patterns of gradation, allowing the artist to explore the effect of intangible vapor on physical material.

Displayed alongside Bosmans is Sebastian Wickeroth, whose “Untitled” series is similar in shape and size, as well as in the use of variegated tones. “What interests me is to shift the material’s appearance and texture, the transformation of these everyday objects into something precious and sublime by means of simple interventions,” Wickeroth says. While his work is visually similar to Bosmans’, their processes are drastically different. Wickeroth spray paints over wrinkled plastic wrapping on canvas, testing the results of layering physical materials over one another. Both artists contrast starkly with Charles Long’s amorphous plaster sculpture, Untitled (1993), which is displayed on the floor in between them.

Departing from the visual feel of Bosmans’ and Wickeroths’ works, but continuing the thread of creative materiality, Carol Cole invokes art history through her lively takes on Jasper Johns’ iconic “Targets” from her “Recycled” series, Crave Your Calcium (Another Target, after Jasper Johns) (2013) and Target with Nipples (after Jasper Johns) (2010). These works utilize found objects in a fun and engaging manner. Citing Nancy Grossman, Eleanor Antin, and Judy Chicago as major inspirations, Cole has said that her recent works incorporate “subconscious imagery brought into a conscious myth dealing with the pain, the fears, and the absurdity of being human.” 

 Through its conceptual pairings and focus on process and material, “Raving Disco Dolly on a Rock ‘n Roll Trolley” effectively blends formal elements with levity, providing its audience with both an appealing visual experience, and plenty of food for thought. 

Sophia Alexandrov

Raving Disco Dolly on a Rock ‘n Roll Trolleyis on view at envoy enterprises, New York, June 26th–Aug. 24th, New York, NY.

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