4 NOVEMBER - 12 DECEMBER 1999
A grinning woman incessantly bangs her head on the ground for no apparent reason; renowned philosopher René Descartes strikes a pose on the cover of TV Guide with Gilligan of Gilligan’s Island; a child looks out through the holes cut in a brown paper bag pulled over his head. These are just a few of the sights to be seen in SHOUT OUTS, a group show of work by New York artists, on view at Rice University Art Gallery from November 4 – December 12, 1999. The nine featured artists in SHOUT OUTS share an upbeat, edgy style that is alternately funny, clever, thought provoking and entertaining. Inspired by a street term used to grant acknowledgment and to pay respect, the exhibition title SHOUT OUTS captures the energy encountered in these works.
Matt Marello turns the small gallery into a living room where Roseanne would feel right at home. In his highly comfortable installation sitcoms, Marello invites viewers to sit back, relax, and flip on the TV to enjoy reruns ranging from Gilligan’s Island to The Munsters. These old standbys come with a new twist, however, when Marello, in the various guises of famous philosophers, literally gets into the action.
Sean Mellyn presents curious and ambiguous scenarios in his gouache drawings of children peeking from the cutout eyeholes of paper bags. Are they in costume, or are they hiding from us? Is this a playful act or is there a hint of something more sinister? Should we laugh or be fearful?
In her hilarious one-woman video Out of This World, Nurit Newman presents five episodes revealing the compulsive, co-dependent behaviors of a woman played by the artist herself. Throughout it all, Newman, always smiling, spouts social platitudes to an invisible visitor desperate to escape her clutches.
James de la Vega brings the streets of New York’s Upper East Side barrio alive on the Brochstein Plaza. De la Vega’s temporary drawings, crafted out of electrical tape, give public presence to unsung heroes of personal or local significance. Monumental in scale, these affecting sketches of historical personas and the artist’s family members transform public spaces into outdoor galleries available and accessible to everyone.
Diana Cooper and Arnaldo Morales make technology and our willingness to succumb to its authority the object of their humor. Morales’ “electrobjetos” are formidable-looking machines that appear daunting but are in fact benign sculptures. Diana Cooper’s large, highly intricate doodle drawings made with colored pens and markers, have been compared to computer chips. From these grow even larger, whimsical three dimensional wall installations, with ever-expanding “circuits” that produce not a stream of numbers or codes, but rather a pile of colorful pom-poms resting on the gallery floor.
Nina Bovasso, Luca Buvoli, and David Scher blur the boundaries between pop and high culture in their work. Bovasso’s colorful cartoon-like paintings depict explosive galaxies of animated blobs, patterned spaces and ornately fingered branches. Incorporating an eclectic array of everyday materials ranging from foil candy wrappers to plastic tubing, Buvoli’s hanging wire sculptures are based on the adventures of the artist’s character, “Not a Super Hero,” champion of shy people everywhere. Scher’s notebooks, filled with a staggering agglomeration of sketches, many depicting darkly comedic scenes, are another testament to creative introverts.
Uniting work in all media and stretching across the gallery floor, ceiling, foyer, and even spilling into the outdoor courtyard, SHOUT OUTS presents cutting-edge pieces that combine sharp wit with thoughtful observation and make alternate worlds momentary realities.