JESSICA DICKINSON, OSCAR MURILLO, CAMMIE STAROS AND PHIL WAGNER
A Rorschach splat wandered the streets drunk, feeling terribly misunderstood. He stumbled over a clinically depressed trash pile who moaned in agitated dismay. After a short verbal altercation, the two set aside their differences and joined in brotherhood over a half-empty bottle of Thunderbird protruding from the trash-pile’s head. “I just don’t understand how I got here,” moaned the Rorschach splat. “I mean, I understand that the subjects' perceptions are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation and complex scientifically derived algorithms, and thus I’m defined. But I really feel like I came into being Hermann’s hands back in Switzerland. I mean, really, who the fuck are they to tell me who I am?”
The trash pile coughed a few times, the cans rattling with each rasp. “But you were at least intentional, I’m an agglomeration of everything that was thrown away. All the useless detritus of modern civilization, the used, the ephemeral. Where’s the sublimity in that?”
“Well,” explained the Rorschach test, “we’re both defined really by a set of accumulated actions born. We’re not really determined by what we are but the actions that brought us into being. What’s important is that something happened, a gesture. We’re not historically or systematically defined really, but are existentially generated by motion, even maybe ideas in motion. We don’t have to mean anything really, we can just be.”
“Sounds a little abstract,” said the trash pile. “Besides, that doesn’t make me feel any better,”
“We’re present concepts, our shapes defined by praxis, but the interpretation is open really. The action was intentional, even if the results could not fully be foreseen. We’re not formal, we’re performative.”
The Rorschach splat took another hit from the Thunderbird bottle.
“Yeah, it doesn’t make me feel any better either.”
Jessica Dickinson was born in 1975 in St. Paul, MN. She received an MFA from Cranbook Academy of Art, MI. She lives and works in New York. Building thin washes of paint over plastered grounds, erasing, sanding, repainting or working in delicate gouache, pastel and graphite, Jessica is interested in surfaces and how to read traces of mark-making. The complex process of layering and erasing, which reflects the phenomenological basis of her practice, could take from six to twelve-month.
Oscar Murillo was born in 1986 in Colombia. He is currently undertaking an MFA from Royal College of Art, London, UK. He lives and works in London, UK. Employing the idea of sacrificial work, which is used as a tool to make another, Oscar perpetuates the cycle and the idea goes on, propelled by failure, beginning and ending with failure. Assimilating ideas of archaeology, collapse, ruin, and restructuring within these processes Oscar’s ouvre becomes a series of paintings and sculptural objects using a variety of materials. Folded away on the peripheries of his studio floor, rejected off-cuts of canvasses begin to show evidence of activity in the studio - dirt, dust, and fluids are marks present on its surfaces.
Phil Wagner was born East Moline, IL in 1974 and he lives and works in Los Angeles. He has received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1998). Selected exhibitions include The Moon over Miami, UNTITLED at Art Positions, Art Basel Miami Beach (2010); Henry Taylor l Phil Wagner, Rental Gallery, NY (2010); Phil Wagner, Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles (solo, 2007); Fantastic LA - University Galleries at Illinois State University, Normal (2009); Pruespress - Ritter/Zamet, London, England (2009); PRUESSPRESS, Rental Gallery, NY (2008); Atomations - Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles (2007); Oliver Twist, Rental Gallery, NY (2007).
Cammie Staros was born in 1983 in Nashville, TN. She concentrated in Art and Semiotics at Brown University and received her MFA from CalArts in 2011. Cammie is based in Los Angeles where she makes work about representation, its relationship to the body, and the failure and inadequacy that the two share. Many of her works hover in a state of tension at the mercy of the strained, heavy or fragile materials of which they are made. She plays with the physical attributes of common objects through shifts in scale, material or context, creating forms that often seem familiar despite referents too slippery to pin down.