Unfortunately this exhibit at the Guadalupe Gallery is just about finished (June 25th). But there is still time. In its interest:
Trans/Action consists of four artist: Kimberly Aubuchon (San Antonio, TX), Margarita Cabrera (El Paso, TX), Máximo González (Distrito Federal, MX) & Ester Partegàs (New York, NY).
The gallery statement of the exhibit says:
TRANS/ACTION presents four artists’ investigations into economics, corporate models and current marketing practices. These artists take a fresh look at how we view money as an indicator of value, power and love.
In some cases artists have assigned a new aesthetic value to the visual imagery of logos, currency and brand elements. In other works, the artists have taken common corporate marketing practice and offered alternative creative transactions based not he buying and selling of art. In all cases the artists of TRANS/ACTION highlight our culture’s growing preoccupation with materialism and consumerism.
Cabrera’s folkart work includes a video of her workspace, which conveys her focus on the process of creation (work) as well as the utility of that creation. Even her more conceptual pieces like Arbol de la Vida (Pala/Shovel) are linked to the nitty-gritty of an everyday manual labor life. Lovely work.
The pieces that most directly address the statement above are Partegàs’ defaced black and white photos. They feature shoppers (shopping bags recur throughout her work including Shopping Heads, which was also displayed and is one of a series [the only one at Guadalupe Gallery]) whose heads and faces have been obscured by spray paint and/or overlayed with ads (made up?). Impersonal and humiliating, these photos indicate what is really important.
González’ shredded and woven peso rugs (Untitled, Magma XX-I & three called Weave in Progress), hang intentionally unfinished on the walls, creating patterns in their incompleteness that ruminate on both the physical (visceral — though this money is out of circulation, it still somehow stings to see it all cut up) and immaterial nature of monetary systems.
The coup de grâce, though, belongs to Aubuchon (director of Unit B) whose piece entitled 500 Stieren Street, Unit B recreates the studio (which is actually a room in her house dedicated to showing art). And I mean that it has walls and a door and on the walls inside the room inside the gallery there is excellently curated art (like one of my favorites from a couple of artists, Matt Irie & Dominick Talvacchio, who I got to see talk at Palo Alto College years ago and who’s Potentialities #1 is a sheet of college ruled notebook paper with all sides “torn” from a metal spiral spine). Different video installations showed at interval throughout the exhibit on a small TV. The entirety, tucked away at the back of the gallery, is a loose recreation of the actual Unit B and questions, rightly so, the boundaries between gallery and living room (even: behind the installation around a wall in the gallery a backyard replete with charcoal grill and chairs).
From her artist statement: “Aubuchon becomes a Texas version of Gertrude Stein, mixing high art with sofa chats; and intellectual discourse with backyard bonfires and cold beer.” [Is there anything better? Absolutely not.]
The installation is more than a singular effort (as so little really is) and Aubuchon gives credit where credit is due: Chad Dawkins curated the art work; Amy Austin interior decorated; Jeremiah Teutsch drew the the faux windows and doors. And “all the while the artist drank beer and played basketball in the backyard.” I love this refreshing modesty, honesty and self-deprecating humor.
If you haven’t had a chance, check it out. Well worth it. And don’t forget the Unit B at 500 Stieren Street.