In 2008 Katy Siegel gave a lecture at School of Visual Arts titled, “A million artists, and all pretty good…” in which she examined the growing number of art students training in BA and MFA programs around the world setting out to compete for a limited audience’s limited attention span. The following year Dave Hickey commented in his SVA lecture, ‘Lately, I’ve begun to feel like
there are way too many artists…’ He went on to say that he is beginning to think of art in groups and categories rather than individual works by individual artists.
Even in the midst of an economic cull of galleries it is impossible to stay abreast of all the art on display at any given moment. Sustained looking and long-term involvement with an artist’s work are almost out of the question. How does an artist make work that gets noticed in this crowd? And how does one deal with the level of rejection that comes from viewers simply not having enough time to stop and look at everything? How does one process the barrage of images while continuing to make even more images? What new paradigm might this huge number of artists be forcing into existence that will question everything about the making of artwork and ownership of ideas?
• Crowd Scene • pulls together four artists making work that takes these questions into
consideration. Each artist working with completely different material and stylistic sensibilities shares a common introspective consideration of their place as artists within the expanding culture of art production and distribution.
Gina Dawson’s needlepoint rejection letters and fragile, cut-paper sculptures reminiscent of funeral wreaths provide consolation on the potential death of her career while simultaneously breathing new life and a bit of hilarity into it.
Eric Doeringer was recently compared to a ‘tribute band, someone faithfully providing a genuine aesthetic experience’ of another artist’s work. Eric has spent the past decade questioning an artist’s ownership of an idea by re-creating various well-known works. His identity in the art world is that of a talented artist making work that just so happens to have previously been made by someone else.
Todd Kelly is making abstract paintings that use the letters of his name or initials as an
organizing compositional structure. Viewers familiar with his practice find themselves
searching the painting for his name similar to the way modern painting might be scrutinized for recognizable imagery. Abstracting the once common practice of including an artist’s name on the work allows for artistic experimentation while providing the expected familiarity an artist must accomplish to be noticed in the current market.
Matthew Langland is painting scenarios in which multiple figures, all self-portraits, are examining, excited by, perpetuating, frightened of or overwhelmed by what they are doing. These paintings present a cyclical, unending vision that is at once hilarious and horrible in which imagery, products and logos threaten the image of the very person who continues to carefully paint them.