Stripped-down essentialism will never go away and never go out of style. People will always want to get back to the “roots” of something, or “cut the b.s.” and get back to basics. In the folk revolution in London and America in the late 50’s and early 60’s, this attitude was central, at the fore—if only for a short while.
"What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid,” the debut album by Donovan, marked the crest of the folk movement in the U.K. The songs, entirely consisting of acoustic guitar, mouth harp, and voice, are mainly modest interpretations of standards, with a few originals penned by Donovan in which he muses on such everyday trivialities as a car, a watch, and a puppet.
Such things are pregnant with meaning (who made them, how they were made, where they were made and of what materials). The artists in this show amplify the meanings of these types of everyday subjects though the creative act—often, by reducing the object to its essential form, or omitting information so as to leave the image open to interpretation. Some artists like Stacy Fisher and Molly Smith morph objects so that their traits are almost human-like… pushing the concept of an object’s “personality” and how it can connect with its owner. Artists like Michael Zahn and Roger White on the other hand, record everyday things in such a way as to open them up to the history of painted objects. Periods as varied as French Realism and Post-War Abstraction for instance, are illuminated via their relationships to the history of craft and design.
Whether the artists in the show are concerned with personal narrative or social narrative is somewhat irrelevant to this work: they are both intrinsic. Style is also immaterial to their approach—the varied level of realism, subject, or material does not deter from the fact that these artists aim to describe meaningful objects through the filter of their own perception, cognitively breaking down the object to its fundamental parts and rebuilding it as they see fit.
Carl Ferrero, Noah Sheldon, Molly Smith, Brent Steen, Michael Zahn, Addie Juell, Roger White, Stacy Fisher, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, Brad Phillips, Josephine Halvorson, Brian Belott