Friday, May 19, 2006

Austin Chronicle review

I am currently in this show in Austin, Tx. and the local art critic wrote something about the show. You can see images in a previous post(see studio 107 opening below).

Slick, Furry, Lush, Line

By nikki moore, Austin Chronicle
Through June 1, 2006

“Slick, Furry, Lush, Line”, while a scintillating title to roll over the tongue, only skims the surface of the textures explored in the works of artists Young-Min Kang, Candace M. Briceno, Jeongmee Yoon and Miguel Cortez for Studio 107’s current show. Take, for example, the cultural and economic textures evoked by Young-Min Kang in the Chinese Trojan Horse, (2006). Using chopsticks, carefully broken and meticulously placed, Young-Min Kang has reconstructed an early 20th century style railroad bridge bearing up under the gallop of horse made by the same method at ten times the scale. Clearly the title of the piece looks back to the Trojan horse of war which, according to myth slipped inside the gates of Troy under the guise of a gift, and unleashed a hoard of Greeks who then proceeded to level the city. Yet Young-Min Kang also calls up the image of the work horse in his consideration of what is in play when America eagerly accepts Chinese goods and labor while bulwarking our immigration systems to a previously unparalleled extent.

And speaking of unparalleled, Jeongmee Yoon’s work for Studio 107 is a disquieting group of photographs featuring children and their collections. Far from the nostalgic and seemingly archaic bug collections and baseball card sets one might think of when pairing kids and their passions, Yoon’s photographs, including Yehyun and her pink things, (2006) and Yae Chan and his blue things, (2006) are explorations of the color-coded and primarily plastic preoccupations of children seemingly too young to own so much. While child directed marketing agencies would surely see these photos as a victory for their team, the full collection of Yoon’s work, including 20 images of children nearly lost amongst their own painfully gender coded gear is startling. The intersection of color and content in these images unveils a cultural pattern that is not easy to dismiss.

In the now more familiar medium of computer renderings, Miguel Cortez has put together what Studio 107 gallery owner Liz Joblin describes as works in meant-to-be-comforting “Martha Stewart Colors” that are nothing near comfortable. In another interesting consideration of cultural phenomena, and at the extreme of this rethink of the Jetson’s humble abode, Cortez’ sharp lined, auto-techno-scientific styled graphics point out an interesting disconnect between the false nostalgia of the American furniture and design markets – think Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware - and the high-tech industry’s state of the art.

Moving from Cortez’ artificial interior landscapes to abstract exterior landscape evocations, former AMOA 22 to Watch artist Candace M. Briceno’s Marden, (2003) uses felt on canvas to create a mass of small rolls of fabric that look so fun to touch that Studio 107 had to move a sofa in front of the piece to keep bodies and hands at a safe distance from the work. While a strong statement about both the comforting materials and their calming repetition, Joblin’s furniture move is a reminder that Studio 107 is a converted apartment, one of many at the corner of 5th and Brazos, which are newly conglomerating into a small strip of commercial galleries in Austin’s developing downtown. This growing commercial art scene is both a tangible opportunity for collectors and part of many recent and promising developments for artists who make both their home and their work here in Austin.

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