Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present Objects and Everyday Goods, a group exhibition featuring works by Michael Brown, Tom Fruin, Cameron Gray, Liao Yibai, Michael Zelehoski, and Adam Parker Smith that will explore the aesthetic potential of vernacular material across a broad spectrum of social and cultural contexts. In this same vein, the exhibition aims to excite a more inclusive understanding of the creative process – one that uproots the hierarchical bedrock segregating the conceptual and physical craftsmanship of the art object.
While the work in the show may, in one way or another, elicit a conceptual relationship to the traditions of Objet Trouvé and Arte Povera, it would be far too narrow and cliché to fetter them within historical precedence. Rather than march along these well trodden paths – paved by humble materials and Duchampian readymades – that now only serve to refine the art-object binary, the show instead opens new possibilities for convergence. It weaves a fresh, multifaceted dialogue that – in many (varying) modes – fuses the straightforward with the unfamiliar. The result is a relational quandary, the lineage of which is locked into a helix of indivisibility much like a contemplation of the “chicken-or-the-egg”: Is it the familiar that becomes the peculiar, or the unfamiliar that becomes recognizable? Some works achieve this delicate marriage through an aesthetic elevation of everyday materials; others through a representational depiction of the commonplace; still others through a combination of the two – an implicit and explicit unification of artistic and standardized modes of production. But whatever the methodology, the core ideology remains the same – the everyday as art and art as the everyday. For what is a work of art if not, first and foremost, an object – a thing – that has been made and to which we apply/from which we derive abstract ideas?
Workmanship, then, plays a seminal role in this exhibition, whether transparent or cryptic. Rather than being subordinate to the mind, the hand of the artist occupies the same rank in the creative act; How something is made takes on equal significance to why it is made. For within this inseparable language of things, the works balance in a liminal space between the tangible and the metaphorical. A new potential arises from this egalitarian position – the creation can autonomously refer to the dynamic process as well as the static object.
Through these inquiries into objecthood, an omnipresent but often nebulous consideration becomes unavoidably stark concerning the location of “meaning” in art. Quite often, “meaning” is said to be found within the work, as if it were a separate entity tucked away in the physical manifestation of the piece. In Objects and Everyday Goods, nothing is hidden. There is no requisite, quasi-mystical quest for meaning. So instead of looking within the piece, one must look at it – for idea and object are unified; and art is the inextricable entanglement.