Fried Gold and Patent Portraits

Co: Modify” Culture Laboratory Collective @ Nave Museum, Victoria, TX
Dec 8, 2011 -Jan 22, 2012

2 new series developed for “Co: Modify” based on the theme of “commodification as a form of validation of life concepts.”

Part I: 

Fried Gold: Best Idea Ever
battered and deep fried gold plated necklaces [2011]

Anything can be made better by deep-frying it.

And nothing is better than gold.

Taking a decidedly “State Fair” approach to increasing the value of gold, the piece considers the nature of wealth as a commodity to be digested. And our efforts to increase that consumption.

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Roving Galleries on Dragon St.

Students From Two Universities Take Alternative Spaces To the Design District

Dallas, TX, 11/21/2011
published by D Magazine: Front Row

UNT's Art Rover-sign

Times of late seem ripe for taking to the streets, and last weekend, two Dallas-area universities did exactly that, though not in protest.

The taken street wasDragon St., that unofficial Dallas arts district, and the venue featured two moving trucks posing as art galleries. Lights ablaze, the alternative art venues signaled a cooperative stance of community inclusion by the area’s commercial galleries. Embracing these temporary venues fosters a symbiotic relationship between the local rent paying, bricks-and-mortar galleries and the fresh ideas and exploration of energetic students. Capitalizing on the sustained efforts of the gallery owners to draw a crowd, the student-initiated projects also provide the district with a quirky spectacle and infectious enthusiasm while further bolstering the already significant cluster marketing.

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Attraction

Attraction
gunpowder, acrylic, gold leaf, wood_ 36″x 48″x 5″

A new direction based primarily on some architectural theory I have been reading. I have been using this pattern for a while, but more recently the idea of architectural fidelity and the space it protects/forms have become something I see as a political manifestation. I am referring to it as the “politics of the void.” (2 previous works dealing with this topic are Incursion I and II.)

I have become interested in how much effort/power it takes to stabilize vacuousness, how architecture is part of the constructed stability of space and yet, interior design and temes tend to disrupt/distract the space itself to present a more socialized view of this power discourse. Dealing not only with the forces that attract towards the void, I have attempted to symbolize the restraining architecture, essentially highlighting the warping of space by presenting stability. The singed edges of the circle are a physical manifestation of this power, at once exploding outward, expelling, as the vacuum pulls discourse ever inward. (In black holes or gravitational fields they call this edge an event horizon, where escape is impossible.)

In many ways this is about interdependance. The forms rely on each other to create a dynamic form of tension, stabilizing on their own power and continual interaction. I am simply trying to visually represent this complex set of symbiotic forces.

* Since winter 2010 I have been painting a bright color on the backside of my works. This allows for a glow of color to reflect onto the wall in order  to mingle with the shadows. It is part of “Attraction” but is also noticeable on “Fulfilling the Void“, “Disruption/Seduction“, and “Connected: Laocoon.”

REVIEW: Fresh Meat

500X Fresh Meat: College Expo
Jurors: Cris Worley and Erick Swenson
500X Gallery, Dallas, TX
Oct. 15- Oct. 31, 2011

published by D Magazine Front Row

Fun adverts, two hip art world jurors, and the 500x openness to experimentation has created an exciting college art exhibit. Jurors Cris Worley—owner and director of Cris Worley Fine Arts in Dallas— and Erick Swenson—international art star— selected 43 from 900 pieces, presenting a strong exhibit of what turned out to be primarily Metro-plex talent. Occupying both floors and resisting the “more is better” tendency, the show has a sprawling, spacious quality. The majority of pieces display a figurative inclination and graphic strength conveying resolved consideration, yet there are also several surprises including some accomplished ceramics.

Not surprisingly one work resembles Fresh Meat: chopped logs filled with silicon representing muscle, fat and sinew. Amputee by Rachel Muldez [UD] is an anthropomorphized and didactic reminder of our planetary destruction yet remains disgustingly, darkly humorous, overcoming it’s preachiness through craftsmanship and humor.

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Connected: Laocoon

Connected: Laoccon
66″x102″x5″
gunpowder, graphite, acrylic, wood. [2011]

This is a continuation of a recent theme: re-purposing powerful or violent historical characters that have been immortalized in sculpture. This piece is especially poignant as the father struggles to free himself (and his 2 sons) from a serpent, which I have conveniently removed. Without seeing the deadly serpent the characters are fragmented, ripped apart by an unknown force.

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REVIEW: Gaffes and Informations

Kevin Todora and Jeff Zilm
Gaffes & Informations
TCU Fort Worth Contemporary Art, Fort Worth, TX
September 17 – October 30, 2011

Published by D Magazine’s Frontrow. (Oct 12, 2011)

Zilm and Todora present a darkly droll, anarchistic mash-up of images, sounds and texts at TCU’s Fort Worth Contemporary Arts. Presupposing contemporary art world savvy, the exhibit blatantly obscures intention while providing an abundance of information.

Todora’s digital prints on foam core, vandalized with plastic and paint, are coupled with Zilm’s choppy, declarative sentences aligned on paper or canvas (“hit. hit. kick. destroy. hit. kick. kick. kill. loot.”) suggesting an exhibit redolent with angst. Further confounding the intent are light-boxes containing unknown objects, a series of chopped 8mm film stills neatly stacked on the floor, and a video projection featuring a shifting character with esoteric cartoon bubbles set to a jarringly loud computerized ‘boing’ every few seconds.

Viewing Gaffes and Informations is like reading “Infinite Jest” or deciphering Sigur Ros lyrics: the show needs a user’s manual. Luckily, Gallery Director Christina Rees hosted an artist talk with the gentle, quirky Zilm and Todora. As the artists expounded on topics brought up by Rees, the exhibit could be seen as the site of personal experimentations and conversation, allowing the audience access to the concepts and actions that informed the work.

For instance: Zilm’s textual narratives, blunt and minimal, are derived from ‘video game cheats’ found on the Internet. A ‘cheat’ is a set of instructions allowing the player to achieve a goal in the most efficient way possible, the concise text of the ‘cheat’ mirroring the purpose. Zilm takes a niche audience’s local, digital dialect and presenting it as if it is understandable or reasonable – like cockney slang for gamers. His pieces embrace these new linguistic structures, removing context and presenting a minimal, brutal form of poetry as imagery.

Todora’s works offer a similar re-contextualization as a print Michele Bachman on Newsweek is drizzled with red, white, and blue plastic goo: the advertised image becomes substrate for mock nationalistic vandalism, desecrating the image as a path to a more personalized and sculptural art form. Todora also displays a series of five hamburger prints cut to expose a red-pink circle, at once a pun and also reminiscent of Baldessari, the images further reference photographic iconoclasm.

Presenting niche dialects as common knowledge, the exhibit disrupts normative gallery viewing, intellectually and visually, while remaining somehow humorous and self-deprecating despite the violent overtones. It’s primary success, however, is the lack of transparency: the exhibit does not pander to the audience. Simultaneously alienating and a call to arms, Gaffes and Informations provides a challenge needed to foster a healthy, experimental arts scene.

Ryder Richards