In this exhibition, symbols of Hollywood, leisure, and consumer culture collide with political sloganeering and campaign conceits, arriving at a complex and often humorous narrative of celebrity, politics, imperialism, and individual agency.
Andrews juxtaposes contemporary celebrity culture with iconography of heroism and political campaigning in her sculptural paintings series, The Presidents. In these works the artist establishes a dialectical relationship between nineteenth century Currier and Ives election posters and Hollywood relics, embedding the byproducts of celebrity culture within the structure of her paintings. Andrews does so with a sly understanding of the market her work is commoditized within, asking viewers to consider the ways in which artworks, presidential candidates, and Hollywood icons are similarly embraced and consumed.
A sculpture comprising lounge chairs and highly sharpened beach umbrella poles will fill one area of the urban gallery space in Brussels. Through discordant formal and symbolic resonances, these familiar symbols of leisure take on a threatening proposition in the unfamiliar context. Elsewhere, in a playful take on minimalist serial forms and early modernist fetishizations of the exotic, Andrews creates gumball machines, printing nude Tahitian women on oversized monochrome gumballs, colliding histories of consumption and perception. The seductive high gloss materiality of Andrews’s sculptures trade in cues of pleasure and desire; the artist points at our ability to recognize symbols as structures of authority, of perception, and of pleasure, creating a powerful perceptual experience in which symbolic meaning coexists with engrossing phenomenological effect.
Kathryn Andrews was born in 1973 in Mobile, Alabama, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and group institutions including The Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Kathryn Andrews: Run for President will open in November at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.