The Fact of the Matter
Poppy Sebire gallery’s latest show brings together material and materialism: two young artists interested in consumer culture and physical form, whose work revolves around the surprising, playful and sometimes unsettling transformation of found objects.
ALI BAILEY’s work tackles advertising and branding culture. His sculpture, ‘Ralph Lauren’ (pictured above) juxtaposes a slick, luxury brand with a raw hand-made aesthetic, using the label’s ‘designer paint’ to create a billboard-shaped form with a rough, putty-like texture, and including the tin itself as a sort of bathetic logo. Also showing are works on paper dealing with similar themes: magazine advertisements defaced, reshaped and framed so we see them as much for their formal qualities as objects as for the advertiser’s intended message.
JESSICA LABATTE’s photographs also manipulate space and form. Some turn mundane objects found in thrift stores into beautiful, unrecognisable, abstract compositions that bring out their components’ essential aesthetic qualities; others shift the pictoral plane to make complex 3D arrangements appear flat. She achieves these effects entirely through the careful adjustment of light, focus, mirrors and backdrops, rather than through digital manipulation. And she maintains the tension between illusion and honesty by including the occasional playful clue for the sharp-eyed viewer: a shadow here, or a tell-tale edge there to break the spell.
Ali Bailey (British, b. 1982) lives and works in Los Angeles and received his B.A. in Fine Art from University of Brighton in 2006. He has had two major solo exhibitions with Golden and Andrew Rafacz, Chicago in 2009 and 2010 respectively. He was chosen by the Saatchi Gallery to participate in the Zoo Art Fair in 2007.
Jessica Labatte (American, b.1981) lives and works in Chicago and received her MFA at the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. She had her first major solo exhibition with Golden, Chicago in 2010. She has also exhibited in group shows at the Hyde Park Art Center and the exhibition Partisan, Art Chicago in 2010. Labatte was named as Chicago’s ‘2010 NewCity Breakout Artist’.
Top left – Ralph Lauren, 2010, Ali Bailey, wood, construction adhesive, paint can, paint, 182.9 x 121.9 x 152.4 cm
Top right – Circularity, 2009, Jessica Labatte, archival inkjet print, 50.8 x 61 cm