F(re)e Play

Curated by James Michael Shaeffer Jr

 
Exhibited artists include:
Conor Backman, Andy Meerow, Landon Metz, Jordan Tate, Keith J. Varadi

 

“Yes, She manage to ignore design systems—or tried to work outside systems of taste for these shows. Early on, here in Houston, when she did a Rothko show, she went out of her way to have beautiful flowers in the entryway—living flowers, planting beds. It was just a general reminder that you don’t start trying to ask why flowers are some color—you relax and enjoy their beauty. It was a very interesting reminder that viewers should not be upset with the Rothko’s if there’s no image there, no subject. What is the image of a flower? It’s just a color, It’s a flower.”


—Christophe Cherix on Jermayne Macagy.

 
The works presented investigate the cognitive experience of beauty. According to Kant, the difference between ordinary and aesthetic cognition was that in the latter case there isn’t a definite concept that fixes our intuition. Thus our imagination is granted a harmonious “free play” to understand what is beautiful, and find within it a message that pleases ourselves. With art, audiences and artists are given diverse recourses for interpreting beauty. Frequently the best approach for this examination is to peruse what is already perceived as beautiful. The flower has often times been selected for the securitization of prepossessing aesthetics. Whether a candid study of a floret or an abstraction with the ambiance of a calyx, both inquiries examine our relationship between beauty and object. While technology has revolutionized how we look at work, what is inherently beautiful remains constant.

 
Since the development of mid-century Abstract Expressionism artists have been able to provoke the experience of gazing at a flower without the literal depiction of a blossom. The ability to make something beautiful, void of concrete subject matter, gave the artist the power to manifest beauty without the restraints of physical representation. As the 20th century progressed, however, making work purely for aesthetics’ sake became passé. Artists were liberated from the confines of academic beauty, and were able to “lift the cruel burden of efficacy from the work of art” and create pieces that practiced that “‘plain honesty’ of which no great artist has ever been capable”.

 
Yet in the last few years, despite a cultural obfuscation of beauty artists are producing works akin to modern standards of aesthetics. In a defiance of popular taste these painters have rediscovered the excitement in color alone. They are, however, aware that the exercise of creating beguiling abstract works must evolve regardless of a return convention. The artists exhibited do precisely this – while the outcome of their works resemble alluring pieces of the past, their praxis are informed by the present.

 

Exhibition Images ->

Intallation View

Conor Backman, Bad Sunday, 2012

Conor Backman, Bad Sunday, 2012

Installation View

Andy Meerow, Untitled Collections 3-5 , 2013

Andy Meerow, Untitled Collections 3-5 , 2013

Landon Metz, Pushing the Stone I, 2013

Landon Metz, Pushing the Stone I, 2013

Landon Metz, Pushing the Stone II, 2013

Landon Metz, Pushing the Stone II, 2013

Landon Metz, Pushing the Stone III, 2013

Landon Metz, Pushing the Stone III, 2013

Installation View

Conor Backman, Painting Palettes no.2, 2012

Conor Backman, Painting Palettes no.2, 2012

Andy Meerow, Curtains, 2013

Andy Meerow, Curtains, 2013

Keith J. Varadi, Laurent, Jerusalem, Mug, Blow Job, all 2012

Keith J. Varadi, Laurent, Jerusalem, Mug, Blow Job, all 2012

Andy Meerow, Untitled Collections 1 and 2, 2013

Andy Meerow, Untitled Collections 1 and 2, 2013

Installation View

Installation View

Jordan Tate, Gamut Warning, 2012

Jordan Tate, Gamut Warning, 2012

Installation View

Installation View

Conor Backman, Reblooming (book), 2012

Conor Backman, Reblooming (book), 2012