Alter Space presents Practice in Paradise, an exhibition of new work by William Emmert and Joey Enos. Each of their sculptural work is largely rooted in illusion, a material deception that speaks to the adage ‘things are not always as they seem.’ The exhibition title mirrors this sentiment, referring to a generalized belief in California as an ideal location for artistic innovation and inspiration. In Practice in Paradise, Emmert and Enos point out the absurdities and necessities of such a quest while considering the reality of maintaining an artistic practice, and the dubious nature of the studio.
The studio environment is a fundamental element in Emmert’s work. It’s a self-referential loop where everyday studio objects become stand-ins for the strength, humor, and fragility of the process. With subtlety and a high-level of detail, Emmert uses paper, paint, and glue to recreate the items from his studio including a 16-foot extension ladder, books, cups, paint canisters, and an entire painting rack filled with wrapped and stored artwork. In addition, Emmert display’s a series of ‘paintings’ made with felt and paper which gesture to and pull from current Bay Area protest language.
Channeling a Disneyesque vibrancy and the Emeryville Mudflat sculptures, East Bay native, Enos, takes into consideration the politics of aesthetic and the power of the façade. His polyurethane foam sculptures depict bricks, chains, tires, nails, wood, and other detritus - feigning to their perceived weight and authority. Enos’ unwieldy assemblages are reminiscent of junkyard scavenges, yet with their high-gloss, brightly colored surface, they radiate a refined absurdity. Enos questions this allure of form, face, and attraction while suggesting a further examination about what lies on the other side of this cartoon lifestyle.