Alternate (perhaps better) MFA Thesis Exhibition Statement

This show is about things. About stuff. About objects and objectification. About what makes an object and about things becoming objects. Fetish objects. Things I wanted to make. Things I want. Things I already have and things I love. Pure self indulgence. Nostalgia for unfulfilled dreams. Fulfilling that nostalgia. Eating the whole box.

This show isn’t informed by, dealing with, or examining. I don’t like those phrases. Art phrases. I used to like I’m interested in... That one’s pure, but it’s kind of tired now. But isn’t that what work is about? Being interested in things, thinking about them and then making something about them? This work is something, and it’s maybe about something else.

This show comes from looking, details and thinking. Isn’t that the worst artist statement you’ve heard from everyone? But it is. That’s where it all starts. That’s what you’ll find in that magazine over there. Some of the details that generate an idea. Stuff I see out in the world. I try to see a lot. I drive a lot. I shop a lot. I stop everywhere. I make new turns. I look at objects. I look at junk. I look at gold. I like thinking about the psychology behind these things. The choices people make. Design decisions. Taste decisions. Value decisions. Why this not that? Why this like that?

This show has something to do with placeholders, falsehoods, vulnerability, risk, stake, mundane interests, the everyday, the commercial, bricolage, sampling, disco, house music, my name, my image, furniture, collecting, techno functionalism, taste, the body, self indulgence, lust, sheen, finish, curiosity, voyeurism, seduction and me. I like making a grandiose statement and trying to stand by it. Argument for arguments sake I think they call it. There’s something to defending it. To be able to argue either side. The best offense is a good defense. It’s something to do with the sick pleasure of a drunken text message, one good breath on that last ember to keep it going.

This show is about rightness. I think about this a lot. I think it started to make sense to me when I started buying design. Good design’s rightness was much more obvious. I think of ideas as wholes, already as objects in my mind. A real good one has a lot of rightness going on. It’s like driving a nail in on the first strike. It’s like a treasure map with the X right below your feet. It’s like a magnet held between three poles. Pick two; I want all three.

This show was conceived of as a whole. Another bigger schematic. A plan for movement; for existing in the space. About the work being viewed and thus being activated. Your head nodding, your mind moving, your nose tingling, your butt sitting. The viewer was never penciled in, but they were always there. It’s all for you, the viewer. Or really it’s for me. My own biggest fan. My own best viewer. I think I make all the work for myself. I want to see it, and I want to see myself pull it off.

Old Artist Statement

The work comments and critiques through direct and indirect action, observation and participation.

The studio is a place of assembly; everywhere else is a place of generation.

The longer route is taken: the stairs instead of the elevator.

Self as Artist is a contextual awareness.

Dailiness is the genesis of the practice.

Uniformity, patterns and anomalies rise to the forefront; the toe becomes shiny from touch.

Jokes are important; sincerity through humor. Statements rather than gestures.

Details are important, everything is considered, and specificity is paramount.

Display, form and content come together as equals and compose a new conversation.

A reduced aesthetic is consistent throughout.

Appropriation of banal, everyday or stock ideas and objects is routine.

MFA Thesis Exhibition Statement

I’m concerned with being cool. As a kid I used to smoke pretzels to emulate and hang out with my dads art students on their smoke breaks. I think about the choices people make, and the choices made for people. I pay attention to trends, the conditions of today. Just what is it that makes the vaporizer so different, so appealing? Why has it built a lifestyle and a culture of its own? Why do I think I can spot a ‘vaper’ a mile away? Is good taste more valuable than bad? More interesting?

Moments of bricolage really turn me on in a different way. When someone has solved a problem with only what is immediately available in knowledge, taste and material. Those are the purest instances of an individual’s decision making. They’re the moments of real innovation and evolution. I’m taking all of these considerations, thoughts and observations as source material for the work.

I think of ideas (these pieces) as wholes. They are already objects in my mind, in relative completion. Very little is gleaned, or changed, through the physical production. A real good idea has this complete feeling; when everything is balanced, being pulled the right amount in each direction. It’s suspended in this perfect conceptual, material and formal position. It’s like finding a treasure map with the X right below your feet.
This show has a plan for movement, for existing in the space. Sit here, read this, listen up, walk there, smell that. It’s all for you. Really it’s for me. My own biggest fan. My own best viewer. I think I make all the work for myself. I want to see it, and I want to see myself pull it off.

This show has something to do with placeholders, falsehoods, vulnerability, risk, stake, masculinity, the everyday, the commercial, bricolage, sampling, disco, house music, my name, my image, furniture, collecting, techno functionalism, taste, design, the body, self indulgence, lust, sheen, finish, curiosity, voyeurism, seduction and me. One more breath to keep that last ember from going out.

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)