All posts by John Coulter

The Quadrennial Greater Decatur Group Show (Review)

by Chung-Fan Chang

The Quadrennial Greater Decatur (QGD 2010) group art show, open from September 23 through November 21 held a positive and competent opening, but also proclaimed a soft gathering of works where amateur holes peaked through. Curator Lisa Alembik assembled both young and experienced contemporary local artists of varying mediums to line the exhibit. Agnes Scott embraced everything from dada, to pop puzzles, the hyper personal and culturally irrelevant. Schools and Non for profit spots seem to be holding the ball compared to the conservative kitches I’ve seen dying at for profit galleries such as the Solomon ‘projects’ recently.

Youthful and trendy, Jonathan Bouknight built an installation that lackadaisically connected many unfocused explorations of domesticity.  His chocolate handgun is as frail as its trivial concept; I saw a finer porcelain Uzi in Seattle just this year.  The connection of the pasty mint green paint prominent in the installation to time, entropy, or nostalgia was a subjective, hyper personal and a flimsy metaphor that didn’t connect with me.  The professionally presented jumble produced one object of intrigue.  A digital video of an exaggerated female portrait Forever Young was a star of the show. This portrait eerily, critically, and successfully deconstructs a face which art history and mass media have projected for ages.

Marc Brotherton ‘tags’ were another charming favorite of the show. Competently painted with a large vocabulary of marks; tiny patterns, thick pallet knife scratches and four inch swashes and text all share a single colorful canvas.  It is a playful language that likens to stream of thought, graffiti, memos, word games and puzzles.  It encourages at the least some interaction and the vibrant simplicity and cleanness doesn’t disappoint.

Susan Krause’s Iconidoku photo format brings slight interest with its the sculptural depth but its content is pop. The interactivity of the suduko was limiting to me, as I am unfamiliar with the rules of the game of recent pop fame. It seemed to help her reach one crowd, and alienate others.

Tangled in a center corridor, Chung-Fan Chang’s delicate line work looked more like pube monsters reminiscent of junior high art experiments and the optimistic neon triangles were in air of a 1980’s hair salon decor.  The presentation was shoddy; large format drawings were tacked unevenly to the wall that damaged their professionalism and cheapened them.

Claire Paul’s “sound art” Textures of White Pipes, is a minimally meditative ambient field recording of pipes outdoors processed, collaged and filtered left a small impact on me. Ambient sound art doesn’t resonate well with me, as I prefer sound to be composed, varied and baroque. The factory made leather chairs and headphones weren’t inviting me to meditate either, or transport me to the mental place projected in the artist’s talk. I will only speak on it as much as her work spoke to me.  The trend these days in ‘sound art’ seem to be minimal and digitally altered, effect based and delivered poorly.

Someone may have had an idea once, marketed it well, and Matt Haffner may have seen it and consumed it but he doesn’t understand it and he isn’t wielding it well either. Sin City rip of artist Matt Haffner’s ideas are as flat as his art. His interest in noir is poppy and empty.  His explanation of searching for personal style and technique to develop story are even less inflated and achieve an effect of a pre-teens obsession with comics and nothing near fine art. The installation sized illustrations look like they used the rubber stamp effect in Photoshop and the pulp is unworthy of the space.

Collaborators Sara Hornbacher, Hartmut Koenitz and Ken Knoespel put together a collaged video, En Transit, centered on urban themes.  The filters are recognizable to any amateur video editor as trace contoured or find edges. For art history nerds the collages relation to Walter Benjamin is amusing.

Lisa Tuttle’s savvy research presentation methods are very effective in a gallery setting compared to journalism or in an essay which might get swept under the rug.  Postcolonialkarma opens up an important historical dialogue with its audience.
Overall the opening was competent, but impotent, a softly respectable, but hardly exciting evening at Agnes Scott. The show was trendy, but the trends aren’t great.

by Matt Haffner

“Extraordinary Machine Two” Opens Tonight

Having just finished a slue of shows, complex emerging curator Kendrick Daye, has been maximizing his time with the WM Turner Gallery space. Mr. Daye has pumped out and produced four super charged exhibitions this month, and no other gallery shows are as exciting as the collaborative efforts he gathers here.

Extraordinary Machine Two is a follow up from last summers wildly successful exhibition which again hosts the multi-talented art duo Corinne Stevie and some of Kendrick’s personal photo and collage works. The show will feature an installation piece by Corinne, along with a collection of her newer creations.

Her rainbow saturated palette is as tartly smart as her lively painted figures. Corinne has an acute sense for composing lavish patterns playfully and her radiant line work is exotic and extravagant.

Kendrick’s collages are smart and sensitive; his sharp shapes call to mind Jacob Lawrence’s bold paintings. The mixed media portraits feature Mr. Daye himself and close friends and local musicians. As Kendrick is an artist and an entertainer, he has arranged for a whole mob of musicians to perform live during the reception. Along with the work and performances a variety of handmade goods, accessories, CDs, literature and a delicious artist sunglasses collection will be available for sale.

If you missed this month’s successful Super Pop! show or the FUNKshion fashion night, finish up your summer with this fantastic event, free to the public and affordable for art collectors. On Aug 26th from 7-10pm visit WM Turner Gallery at 112 Krog St NE, for a gathering of Atlanta’s finest artist and performers.

John Coulter: “Super Pop!”-Satire, Abstract & Praise For Pop

In conjunction with the release of Art Nouveau Magazine’s summer issue, stylish curator Kendrick Daye has gathered artists near and far around the topic of Pop. With Pop art’s origins in the 1950’s young artists today have decades worth of mass media to choose from satire, abstract, and praise through art.

These diverse artists take a fresh look at the world of popular media. Which today provides an infinite onslaught of inspiration to pick apart, most of which is no longer delivered directly to doors, like the newspaper strips Lichtenstein escorted uptown into the realm of painting. Contemporary artists bring concepts from worldly cartoons and online references into their fine arts.

The eclectic Mr. Daye brings together youthful, sophomore illustrator Faatimah Steven’s delicate drawings with veteran Jeffrey Pena’s uniquely bleach pale palette and Dominican American perspectives on pop culture. This circus of chic and pop also hosts collage artist John Morse’s recent work, as well as illustrators Barachan and Paper Frank.

Sometimes pop is better on t-shirts than walls, and others merely make light handed attempts to fanatically copy the commercial. Superstars Corinne and Sasha are two powerful artists that truly make this show shine. Sasha Tugolukova’s photo, magazine collages and detailed drawings are reminiscent of Goya’s etchings. Her psychological creatures, collages, and mix-ups bring humor to modern relationships, and take a complexly critical and dissecting look at how people voyeuristic-ally gaze at media. As fierce with a brush as she is with a mic, energetic Corinne Stevie breathes life into the strong female spirits she paints. Her juicy illustrations always find themselves on the finer side of art.

If your looking for something more than fluffy empty minded eye candy, head over to 112 Krog St this Thursday, for a pop explosion worth seeing. On August 5 at 7pm WM Turner Gallery in Atlanta will host an affordable feast for the eyes, created by a vibrant collection of artists immersed in the world of pop.