Epic at Southern Exposure
This exhibition review was published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. It can be cited here as: “Epic at Southern Exposure,” www.clarkbuckner.com. Web. Day, Month, Year the post was accessed.
WORK by MARK LEE MORRIS, ERIC LARSON, NAOMI MILLER, ENGELBERT
HOLDEN, KIMBERLEE AUSTIN, TRACEY SNELLING, TIM SULLIVAN, YIN-JU CHEN & JAMES T. HUNG, and SHAWN SMITH
The juried exhibition at Southern Exposure, Epic, featured works by Northern California artists that evoked a sense of heroic adventure, and drew upon narrative tropes from novels, comic books, and films. The entire show was accompanied by the soundtrack to Mark Lee Morris’ video Transformations, which mimicked the fanfare of a superhero’s theme while a man changed suddenly into a cape,
mascara, hot pants, nylons, and heels. The combination of drag and super hero theatrics both parodied the homoeroticism of comic book mythology, and made this otherwise silly piece a sincere celebration of the heroics of coming-out.
In Mathematics of an Alter-Destiny, Eric Larson depicted the adventure of space travel a drawing of a space capsule on a distant planet, which employed pointillism to capture the distortions of digital pixilation. And Naomi Miller found heroism in the everyday through a chronicle of posed photographs of the crew that gather weekly for Thursday Night Basketball at the Potrero Hill Courts. In his In Another
Desperate Attempt To…, Engelbert Holden set the stage for nearly every noir thriller by simply conjoining that title to the taped outline of a body on the gallery floor, and instantly transforming the show into a murder scene.
Kimberlee Austin similarly provided the essential ingredients for a novel with only Four Documents, including photo-booth pictures of a man in a cowboy hat and a woman in a white lace top, an Albuquerque bus ticket, and a book of matches stamped with a birth announcement, “It’s a Girl!” And, in West, Tracey Snelling situated her audience in the midst of a great American novel with a miniature sculpture of a flashing-neon “Go West” sign over snow, trees, and a shed.
Other noteworthy pieces in the show included: Tim Sullivan’s Shoot 2004, a photograph reconstructing Chris Burden’s celebrated performance, with filmmaker George Kuchar, cringing in the place of Burden; Immigration 2004, by Yin-Ju Chen and James T. Hung, which presented a terrarium of ants crawling and dragging dirt over a piece of white chocolate cut in the shape of the U.S.; and Shawn Smith’s Newspeak Library: Orwell Records, which featured bound copies of George Orwell’s complete works translated into 1984’s “Newspeak.”