Exhibition Review:

Nick Schleicher's 6 Paintings 9 Sculptures at Grease 3

At Grease 3, Nick Schleicher presents 6 Paintings 9 Sculptures, on view through September 2nd. Nine pedestals fill the center of the room in orderly rows, topped at chest-pass-height with hand built and hand painted basketballs resting on rings of tape. Six ‘skin’ paintings hang on the surrounding walls.

The paintings appear to be about the process of painting for someone who does not, themselves, paint; in a sense, the opposite of ‘painter paintings’. The casualist move of acrylic paint skins loosely adhered to the surface is the dominant visual theme. These are accented with hesitant marks referencing the light, shadows and folds of their constructions. Slick, shiny and fairly large scale, these provide a nice setting for the rows of sculptures.

The sole crossover work, and strongest wall piece in the room, is Busch_Bucks_Basketball.skin, which appears to be a mix of a beer case and basketball quickly flattened onto a surface rather than wrapped around a sphere. It’s deliberate marks and text stand out from the rest of the wall works immediately, and bring with them a host of varying content. On one hand overly trendy, with reference to cheap domestic beer, appropriated camouflage and a 1990’s brand on the verge of regaining an ironic trendiness; on the other, a strange and authentic contemporary collaboration between brands in an aim to reward customers. With this one Schleicher has latched onto that weird middle ground, emphasizing that blurry line between sincerity and reality. It’s the sort of work that I hate that I love.

The basketballs, though a somewhat tired subject, are quite nice. Each one unique in design, with variation in branding, seam pattern, league and color. They appear to be perfect copies from afar, perhaps even just readymades, but toe the line of believability when confronted up close. The artists hand is evident in all, with painterly marks identifying these as new handmade objects rather than athletic equipment, and his signature coyly added in places native for text. Perched perfectly atop rings of tape, another studio-material-reference, the balls stand with the poise of a trophy room, almost as if Schleicher is disclosing a secret accomplished athletic past.

In the center is SPALDING skin, a ball different from the rest appears draped in it’s covering rather than tightly wrapped. It stands as a link to Busch_Bucks_Basketball.skin, as if Schleicher had been producing in two separate assembly lines that accidentally got crossed for a moment. One basketball, NITE GLOW, is particularly good. The only one with a matte finish, the most evident brush strokes and its odd realism for anyone that balled on a playground in the late 90’s, it is uncannily familiar.

In all the show is clean and tight, focusing conceptually on the process of painting through materiality, form and non-representational imagery. The most successful moments seem to be where Schleicher perhaps let that go, and got distracted with constructing basketballs and toying with nostalgia.

Exhibition Review:

Brandon Bandy’s Connie Kreski And The ’69 Shelby GT500 Mustang in Playmate Pink at/and Grease 3

Grease 3 was quietly opened by three friends a over year ago and has slowly evolved into what it is now. Conor Murphy maintains a studio in the private back room and handles art programming. Brittany Boynton and Julie Rechtien began Butt’n Booty several years ago, selling hand drawn and assembled custom buttons, and head up the shop section of Grease.

The Grease 3 shop occupies a front room, the floor of AstroTurf tiles, selling Butt'n Booty buttons, vintage key chains and other old or new handmade objects with a decidedly less artisanal character than similar offerings on Cherokee. The main room, a white rectangle with grey wood floor and newly hung led lights, is more abstract. It has served as a studio, hosted a prom, a bachelor and bachelorette auction, a New Years disco and finally an art exhibition.

Part store, part clubhouse, part gallery, part event space, part studio. I once jokingly referred to Grease as a postmodern hybrid concept store and that defined it about as good as anything. Grease 3 is so unclear about its current sate and what it aims to fully entail that it remains extremely exciting.

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In the main room, Brandon Bandy presents his first solo exhibition, Connie Kreski And The 69’ Shelby GT-500 Mustang in Playmate Pink, from January 4 – February 4, with hours by appointment. Three sculptures, two on pedestals and one on the floor that strains to maintain the same eye-level, create a line down the center of the gallery. Images nicely adhered to plywood panels in states of disarray and display with several cinder blocks line the perimeter in various relationships to the walls and floor.

The panels themselves are quite nice and seductive objects in all honesty. The fusion of image and panel is so seamless; they appear to have been produced as one from some fantasy machine. Readymade products I didn’t know I needed or wanted to purchase until they were in front of me.

The sculptures, decidedly less so. A pair of engine parts (full disclosure, I’m not sure what exactly they are) rather clumsily painted pink and adhered to cinder block sits on one pedestal perfectly sized to match. Yet another cinder block leaning on a glass Squirt bottle occupies the other. These are the sort of fast-trendy-ironic-readymade-assemblage-sculptures that are made before the first idea is thrown out. In-between the two, another panel is ratchet strapped to two automotive jacks. This borders on the sort of sculpture above but is somewhat saved by its panel, a nice view into a Mustang, only to let me down with a blank backside that fails to reverse the view back out of the windshield.

The strongest piece in the room, for me, was also the most out of place. Topps 122, a Milwaukee Brewers baseball card reproduced at roughly three feet by two feet. The only panel in the room that was double sided and on mdf half as thin as the rest, it sprang to life in a Honey I Shrunk The Kids/Claes Oldenburg kind of way. Leaned up rather haphazardly on the corner of one of the sculpture pedestals, it felt as if any sudden gust of wind would lift it cartwheeling into the air.

The real content of the exhibition lies in the accompanying zine. Excerpts and screenshots from forum posts by car guys and soft-core porn enthusiasts alike hint that, in fact people do know and care about this car and Connie, in a bizarre and oddly serious manner. What to make of this micro-niche Bandy has discovered? He hasn’t given us a clue.

We are shown Bandy’s strong image making skills throughout the room. Though with a 60’s playboy as source material for re-photography, the beach ball has been lobbed right through the strike zone. It is a promising debut for the young artist. Content, finish and ambition; all the notes are hit. Yet despite everything in the room and the zine, I wasn’t truly convinced Bandy was interested in Connie Kreski, her pink mustang or the June 1969 issue of Playboy, and more importantly, he didn’t sell me the idea that he was.

Topps 122 & Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, And Dennis Hopper Riding Motorcycles (installation view)