Young Art is pleased to present Dracula Plus Plus, an exhibition of new work by Michael Rey. The opening reception will be held Saturday, October 22 from 6 to 9pm, and the exhibition will remain on view through November 19, 2011.
Michael Rey’s shaped wall works and sculptures issue from an encounter between high modernism and traces of ’80s goth culture—a collision of nostalgias that mutually undermine each other. Rather than hold up modernism as a patriarchal presence against which to mount a heavy handed Oedipal attack, Rey treats it as a source of some of the diverse free-floating signifiers from his childhood, made meaningful associatively rather than through art historical reference. Eschewing any heroic anti-heroism, the artist opts for a playful reinvention of lost objects he knows to be culturally phantasmic. Although Rey’s objects can be (partially) read as exercises in de-sublimation, they are best understood as libidinal configurations always in the process of metamorphosis and which refuse any singular fixed meaning.
The eight monochromatic wall works are panels entirely surfaced in oil-based plasticine clay. The peculiarity of this material is that it remains forever malleable even after its oil paint finish has dried. The resulting surfaces are epidermal in their fragility and suggestive of these works’ metaphoric permeability to their surroundings and to the viewer’s gaze, a permeability enhanced by the orifices that pierce their surface planes. The plastic quality of the clay, with its infinite capacity to accept impressions, hints at corporeal vulnerability while simultaneously evoking fetishistic display.
In the eight wall pieces and the floor based sculptures Big Gay Heart, 2011 and Everyword (Hors Corps), 2011, Rey supplements the austere geometry of minimalism with references to the kinkiness that is minimalism’s private joke. Instead of a modernist “truth to materials”, Rey offers the truth of materialized desire via the accessorizing of pure form with toy-like color, the iconography of Tim Burton’s Batman, and affectionate memories of ’80s minor celebrities. Defying categorization, these works opt for a transitional slipperiness that simultaneously grasps at multiple objects of unfocused desire and points at the instability of any formal fixation.
Michael Rey is a Los Angeles based artist and co-founder of JB Jurve, an artist-run exhibition space in Chinatown. His work will be included in the upcoming group exhibition Chasm of the Supernova curated by Adam Miller (2012). Recent group exhibitions include Doot Doot (D.B. Sweeny), JB Jurve, Los Angeles; Ooga Booga Reading Room, Swiss Institute for Contemporary Art, New York; Wet Paint: Ten Young LA Painters, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, Is What It Is What It Is, Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood; Sculpture Garden, Karyn Lovegrove, Los Angeles; ACCOMMODATION, Higher Institute for Fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium; Salon No. 1, Works 001 – 029, Marine, Los Angeles; and Cocktail Hour with Skip Arnold and Friends, Bonelli Contemporary, Los Angeles.
Dracula Plus Plus will be his first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Young Art is located in Chinatown at 418 Bamboo Lane Unit B, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
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