Catharine Clark Gallery presents two solo exhibitions, Discorporate by Walter Robinson and Deluge by Scott Greene, on view April 22 – May 27, 2017. Although working in vastly different medium, Robinson and Greene respond to similar anxieties around political absurdity, the proliferation of consumer waste, and the increasing disconnect that advanced technologies induce between people and their environments.
Catharine Clark Gallery 248 Utah Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 TEL 415.399.1439 www.cclarkgallery.com
In Discorporate, Walter Robinson uses viscerally physical materials such as wood, steel and leather as counterpoint to the flat, disengaged virtual “material” of digital culture. His intricately hand sculpted works are arrestingly surreal, employing an amalgamation of cultural references to parodic effect. Upon closer look, seemingly playful objects are presented in unsettling tableaux: a yellow hand-held juicer with the Earth in its cavity, or a pink child-sized club with a name-tag marked “Ivanka.” Robinson’s work satirizes the inanity of media-driven politics, while drawing attention to the complicated legacies of Manifest Destiny and subsequent histories of industrialization embedded in his choice of materials. In response, his sculptures invite viewers to reconsider how objects bear literal and metaphorical weight. At the same time, they encourage us to evaluate our tangible relationships to our surrounding world through distinctly material presence.
Scott Greene’s Deluge presents a correlative critique of consumer cultures through the lens of dystopic landscape. Greene’s rich oil paintings reference the traditions in American painting that effectively “advertised” the American West as a viable frontier for settlement and development in the 19th century. In Greene’s work, however, the legacies of Manifest Destiny give way to dismaying topographies covered with accumulated debris and post-consumer waste. Greene draws parallels between this inundation of garbage and the current political administration’s “torrent” of misinformation, humorously re-casting a Dennis the Menace figure as a stand-in for Donald Trump, while re-imagining Vice President Mike Pence in a Carmen Miranda-like portrait with a headdress filled with fruits, weapons and discarded toys. Like Robinson, Greene employs a distinct visual humor, positing that in a society where we are collectively flooded with fake news, the distinction between empirical truths and alternative facts becomes increasingly blurred.
Robinson’s and Greene’s exhibitions are accompanied by a media room presentation of Nina Katchadourian’s The Recarcassing Ceremony. Commissioned by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in 2016, Katchadourian’s video work tells the story of a childhood game gone awry that the artist and her brother staged with Playmobil figurines. Assembled from family interviews, historical audio recordings and a staged “reenactment” of a ceremony related to the game, The Recarcassing Ceremony offers a startling personal document of family memory.