Antonio Puleo, Untitled, 2016, wood, plaster, acrylic paint, 46″ x 63″
Anna Sew Hoy
William T. Whiley
Co organized by Natalie Lawler and Marcus Herse
Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University
July 18, 2016 - August 14, 2016
Please join us for the artist’s reception and catalog release
on August 14, 2016 from 3 – 5 P.M.
This exhibition brings together work from Chapman University’s Escalette Permanent Collection of Art with recent selections from Los Angeles.
From the exaggerated female shape of the ‚Venus of Willenberg’ some 35.000 years ago and sculptures of genitals found throughout antiquity, to heraldic flags and corporate logos; Abbreviated depictions have always been part of the human world.
Within the last decade their importance has taken on a new dimension. Anyone who owns a smartphone (which in today’s art world is everyone) knows that the ability to navigate your phone fast determines the number of shows you will see, and people you will meet on opening night. Society has been heavily primed for this hyperlexia of signs by over a century of mass media, mass communication and the necessity to simplify the messages of corporate industry and entertainment into quickly comprehensible abstractions.
The whole world at our fingertips’ we effectively spend hours of the day looking at a relatively small excerpt of that very world. Currently at a maximum resolution of 300 pixels per square inch we’re always on the chase for the next connection, linking meanings, people, times and places. And herein lies the trickery of the device, which always only mediates world, but never becomes real itself, even when it is an essential tool to navigate reality. It’s great for administration, not so great for contemplation.
But wasn’t contemplation inextricably tied to the two dimensional surface – and to looking at art more generally speaking – until recently? William Copley said something along these lines: “Paintings are subversive, because they are silently, but insistently showing their hidden messages. They are subversive, because they’re always there.”
It takes the artist focus and time to manipulate his materials, be it on the picture plane or in space, and in some way this has to be mirrored by the onlooker, to unravel the information the artwork contains. It is the opposite of the quick, scanning glance sliding around the smartphone’s display, Netflix’s homepage, or your Instagram feed. The works in the exhibition engage in the idea of emblematic concentration and abbreviated depiction, but at a pace that invites contemplation. So, let’s take it slow this summer, like we used to, and catch our breaths at the Guggenheim Gallery.