Unseemly Creases

unseemly

Unseemly Creases

May 30 – June 1, 2014

Noah Breuer and Ben Garthus

The title for this exhibition derives from a shared interest in literal folds as signs of wear, fake creases that masquerade as real material textures, and metaphorical creases or glitches in reality caused by optical trickery.  Both Breuer and Garthus utilize these aesthetics and ideas in their current work.

Ben Garthus has installed an 11-foot tall stack of postal boxes on a shipping palate wrapped in marbled contact paper, which appears ready to be shipped off to its next location. This monolith of commercial shipping conceals a hidden door which, when opened, transforms the tower into a mobile point-of-purchase kiosk setup with a computer and office supplies and ready to sell “Beer Veneers,” vinyl cling-wraps that adhere to cold beer cans and disguise them as the the farcical soft drink “Pepthi.” Expanding on the theme of camouflage and false fronts, Garthus has also included a pair of Kaki pants that he has disused as blue jeans through a meticulous blue ballpoint pen drawing.

Noah Breuer has continued his sampling and remixing of the offset halftone dot pattern found in baseball cards of the 1980s, a topic that has engaged him for the past two years.  He uses cards made in 1989, the year the Oakland Athletics, Breuer’s hometown team, won the World Series.  His process involves digitally scanning the cards, screen-printing an enlarged dot pattern, then laser cutting both on the surfaces and through the pieces, and then re-assembling them.  Breuer thus deconstructs and rebuilds the baseball card images by using some of the same print techniques used to create them.

noah

The central piece by Noah Breuer, entitled Exquisite Hitters, is a 9 by 15 foot grid composed of 18 panels that depict a series of right-handed batters in various stages of swinging their bats.  The images are arranged to show progressive stages of the swinging action, as frames in a cinematic sequence.  This activates the individual batter’s stance, bringing the players themselves and the commercially reproduced cards out of obsolescence.  Additionally, several of the batters have been cut apart, with the extracted segments replaced on different bodies.  Limbs, heads, bats and texts end up in unusual configurations, affecting a reference to the exquisite corpse parlor game.  Screen-printed layers of the enlarged half-tone dot patterns are applied, as well as laser etching, which further investigate the constructive aspects of the cards and the formal poses of the athletes.  The broad zig-zag bands of magenta, yellow and cyan which weave across the panels create a pattern reminiscent of children’s summer textiles from 1989, the same year of the cards’ production. Besides its references to print media, the subject of Exquisite Hitters stems from the common childhood idolization of athletes, and expands to comment more widely on standardized systems of image-based hero worship.  In this context, all of Breuer’s work on display here seeks to reference the mosaic tiles used to portray saints and other figures in Byzantine Churches.  The shape of the half-tone dot serves as a stand-in for pieces of ceramic or glass traditionally used in this ancient art form.

 

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