Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bruno David Gallery: Friday, 22 January 2010

SHELF LIFE: selected work by Buzz Spector
Front Room: Shawn Burkard: Phantasmagoria
Project Room: Beverly Fishman: Pharmako - Xanadu
Media Room:Maya Escobar: el es frida kahlo
Opening Reception: Friday, January 22, from 6 to 9 pm
Dates: January 22 – March 6, 2010

Bruno David Gallery is pleased to present an introductory exhibit of the art of Buzz Spector. “SHELF LIFE: selected work” includes photographs, drawings, collages, and bookworks created over the past ten years. A fully illustrated catalogue with writings by Buzz Spector and friends will accompany the exhibition.

Buzz Spector is best-known as an artist for his work with books, but his studio practice also includes photography, collage, installation,
and drawing. This introductory exhibit covers the past eleven years of Spector’s work. The selection reveals the material diversity and
intellectual coherence of an artist concerned with memory, perception, and desire. It is no coincidence that Spector is also a writer; he is constantly crafting a poetry of things.

In the Front Room, the gallery presents “Phantasmagoria,” an exhibition of photographs by Shawn Burkard. Influenced at once by horror movies,
gothic novels, and such dark folklore as the Brothers Grimm, Burkard’s work makes visible a legacy of cultural darkness. Burkard photographs scenes of his own construction, whose uncanny attributes of light, scale, and physiognomy recall nothing so much as the psychological space of fairytales—and the nightmares such tales once provoked in all of us. Within each of his photographs, Burkard creates a fantastical but convincing storybook world. The artist meticulously plans the lighting and staging, hand crafts the settings, makeup, and costumes for the bizarre characters he plays in each supernatural scene. Though the artist manipulates his film images by hand, they remain untouched by digital alterations. Burkard invites us into a realm of disturbing visions whose creative vitality is understood once we recognize how close these dreamworlds may be to our own.

In the Media Room, Maya Escobar presents a single-channel video titled “el es frida kahlo”. In el es frida kahlo Maya Escobar confronts the ambivalence she experiences as a result of her simultaneous obsession with Frida Kahlo and weariness towards her commoditization. Viewed from a tiny pinhole, Escobar, dressed as Kahlo stands before a reproduction of one of her self-portraits. With a mixture of rage, anxiety, and
complete fear, she chants “el es Frida Kahlo, ella es Frida Kahlo, el es Frida Kahlo, yo soy, yo soy, yo soy Frida Kahlo,” he is Frida Kahlo, she is Frida Kahlo, I am, I am, I am Frida Kahlo. As Escobar yells, the painting behind her begins to fall. She violently tears down her braids and smudges off her makeup while continuing to yell “I am Frida Kahlo, I am Frida Kahlo, yo soy Frida Kahlo!”

In the Project Room, multi-disciplinary artist, Beverly Fishman, presents a series of sculptures titled “Pharmako - Xanadu.” In this exhibition, Fishman delves into the cultural implications and consequences of pharmaceutical overload while enticing the audience with the pills’ sleek visual seductiveness. As an artist, Fishman has long engaged with questions of art, technology and the body. Through this work, she ponders why a seeming cure to our hectic days and emotional strain is also, in effect, a poison. Her enveloping milieus of intense fluorescent colors, repeating patterns, and sizable scale deliberately affect the viewer on both a physical and intellectual level. The Pharmako sculptures evoke the overt appeal of the chemical compounds frequently used to alter our minds and bodies. They represent a broad spectrum of over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal pills-all of which have entered an arena of quasi-designer products that combine technology with attractive aesthetics. In particular, Extasy pills display fun, pop icons that subsequently attract and associate a young user with the branded identity of the pill’s maker. Overall, the resultant array of pills is as expansive in coloration as their real life counterparts are in function. Fishman’s Xanadu Series of chrome pill sculptures takes the seduction and inclusion of the viewer to another level with gleaming exteriors that mask their dangerous possibilities. The viewer can be seen in the artwork itself through his mirrored image, thus consolidating his identity with the pill and its resultant effects. Through different angles and reflections, each of us is affected by the work in a unique manner, a visual metaphor for the varying physical and mental consequences the same pharmaceutical can have on any of us.

3721 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63108


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