The new group exhibition at Various Small Fires, Artificial Complexion, is inspired by the work of poet/artist/bohemian Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, an influential Dadaist figure who collaborated frequently with Man Ray and may have conceived Marcel Duchamp’s infamous Fountain. The show features rarely-heard Dada sound pieces played in VSF’s entryway “sound corridor”, and numerous found-object artworks by Liz Craft, Matt Damhave, Gruppo UFO, K8 Hardy, Marie Karlberg, Alison Knowles, Jason Loebs, Sean Raspet, Carissa Rodriguez, Kathleen Ryan, Amy Yao, and the Baroness herself.
From the exhibition statement:
Like the work of Freytag-Loringhoven, the contemporary practices presented in this exhibition reveal a direct relationship and sensitive perception to the unfolding possibilities of found objects. Casually antagonistic and intrapersonal, they activate change instead of waiting for explanation. Be it the textiles of Matt Damhave and Marie Karlberg, the glamorous preserved decay of Amy Yao’s assemblages, the weathered receipts of Jason Loebs, or the hanging event threads by Alison Knowles, the works avoid immediate visual clarity, instead inviting allegorical and actual connections. Here the index of association and particularity is not cloaked in a sleek veneer but floats visibly upon playful surfaces.
These surfaces are at times difficult, as in the seductive yet impossible appropriated ceramic forms of Carissa Rodriguez, and at others whimsical, as with Kathleen Ryan’s dramatic enlargement of discarded eyeglasses and post-feast detritus wine fountain. Whether Liz Craft’s toothy, smiling, greedy ceramic tile or K8 Hardy’s suggestions of a diehard future-forward existence, each piece transcends their individual elements to create a new language and relationship with the world. In this resistance to the cycle of conformity, Artificial Complexion reveals the continued pertinence of personal interventions with and against found objects.
Artificial Complexion is on view until December 20.