Press Release

David Corbett, Alex Felton, Kristan Kennedy, Sterling Lawrence

Half/Dozen is pleased to present an exhibition looking into contemporary abstract works through a lens that gazes away from power, high status, and the sacred, which has demanded monumental and sublime expressions that elicit submission. It focuses instead on what Edmond Burke taught us long ago: overwhelming sublime spaces are best left obscure, and the intentionality of mere objects has no place in the transcendental as a call for exodus into a more democratic realm for artistic production. These artists find cultural contexts and language to animate objects into something more than items for financial speculation or mere amusement, embracing an ethos to not allow signs and images to vanish into an abyss of indifference or commercial oblivion. Here artists have acknowledged the criticisms in the history of abstract art associated with spectacle and empirical structures, and used them as a foundation to work away from on a conceptual level.

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Curator’s Statement

The Quadratic Logogram of Almost Everything looks into contemporary abstract works through a lens that gazes away from power, high status, and the sacred, which has demanded monumental and sublime expressions that elicit submission.  It focuses instead on what Edmond Burke taught us long ago: overwhelming sublime spaces are best left obscure, and the intentionality of mere objects has no place in the transcendental as a call for exodus into a more democratic realm for artistic production. These artists find cultural contexts and language to animate objects into something more than items for financial speculation or mere amusement, embracing an ethos to not allow signs and images to vanish into an abyss of indifference or commercial oblivion. Here artists have acknowledged the criticisms in the history of abstract art associated with spectacle and empirical structures, and used them as a foundation to work away from on a conceptual level.

The work borrows the aesthetics of past movements and co-opts it into iconic symbols of the everyday.  They have not only defined borders within third-generation appropriation but have also reclaimed an aesthetic and transformed it into a discourse conducted and interpreted in everyday terms on content including the Internet, car culture, construction, burgers and refuse. Returning abstraction to iconic metaphorical meanings built using language rather than bewitching viewers with promises of the transportation of form into content, allegorizing power into little more than reduced subjectivity.

Visual literacy is increasing with the advancement of technology, and visual saturation.  Seeing objects as constant under myriad conditions, and recognizing the identity of these things is something people do without noticing.  This group understands that and attempts to make art that does not undermine its subject.   Using aesthetics and visual signifiers to make connections that locate the oddness in the ordinary where the remarkable and the casual often coincide.  Allowing the ordinary to triumph over art again, but with meaning rather than the skepticism of the past.

 

Biographies

Derek Franklin

Derek Franklin is an artist and curator based in Portland, Oregon.  He received his BFA in printmaking from Pacific Northwest College of Art.  His work has been exhibited in many galleries including PDX Contemporary, Pulliam Gallery, and New American Art Union.  Projects of his are held in the collections of The City of Seattle and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

David Corbett

David Corbett received his MFA from Rutgers University and his BFA from San Francisco State University. He lives and works in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared New American Paintings, Portland Modern, and White Columns online registry. He has exhibited his work at various galleries including Fourteen30 Contemporary in Portland, OR, 65GRAND in Chicago, IL, Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago, IL, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL, and Disjecta, Portland, OR.

Alex Felton

Alex Felton lives and works in Portland, Oregon.  He received his BFA for Pacific Northwest College of Art in Printmaking.  He has shown at numerous galleries including Small A Projects.  He was a finalist for the Henry Gallery’s Brink Award for Contemporary Art.  He currently has multiples at Stand Up Comedy in Portland, Oregon.

Kristan Kennedy

Kennedy is an artist and curator, represented by the Elizabeth Leach Gallery. She is the co-founder of the hibernating artist collective Swallow Press (x2), along with artist Topher Sinkinson and their temporal public projects have been presented internationally. Their printed ephemera is held in several book collections, including the Museum of  Modern Art, Dartmouth College and the New York Public Library. She received her BFA from the New York State College of Art and Design at Alfred University, Alfred NY, with a concentration on Printmaking and New Media.

Sterling Lawrence

Sterling Lawrence currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago (SAIC) and is currently a 2010 MFA candidate also at SAIC. His work has been included in exhibitions at Pacific Northwest College of Arts in Portland, OR, Portland Community College in Portland, OR, Apartment Gallery in Portland, OR and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL.