To Scale at The Print Center

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To Scale, the newest exhibition at The Print Center is a real gem. As the name implies, all of the artist’s included in To Scale create work that, well.. use scale as a definitive formal consideration. In his curatorial statement, John Caperton refers to the way the work in the exhibition operate with a 1 to 1 relationship with the real world and reference among other things the 19th century tradition of tromp-l’oeil painting. The exhibition includes the work of: Jenn Figg, Talia Greene, Kay Healy, Gary Kachadourian, Nichola Kinch, Joseph Lupo, Taylor McKimens, Roy McMakin, Caitlin Perkins and Shelley Spector

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Upon entering your eyes are quickly drawn toward Taylor McKimens Plant series, brilliantly produced and editioned by Cerealart.

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I’ve art-crushed on this McKimens’ work for years. There is something very compelling about the deft graphic/comix language combined with the subject matter that seems to focus so clearly on the signifiers of a sad sack life.

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To the left of McKimens’ work is the first out cropping of Kay Healy’s wheat pasted prints of antique-looking furniture. Her work seems in conversation with McKimens, and many other artists in this show, who find inspiration in the mundane artifacts of modern existence. In the smaller downstairs gallery, Healy’s prints seem a quirky intervention, upstairs in the exhibition (later in this post) a larger collection of her work will be showcased to great effect.

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To the left of Healy, Joseph Lupo‘s print sit on the wall, at first giving the impression of very small, traditional prints (etchings and screen-prints), with some kind of minimal, possibly textual grid of information.

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This mirage of tiny Brice Marden prints gives way as the image sways into focus, and you find yourself staring at a collection of very painstakingly reproduced sales receipts. The idea that someone would spend the labor monumentalizing this most mundane and ephemera of everyday printed matter is enough to bring a smile to your face. Lupo, unlike many artists in this exhibit, is troubling the nature of print from within the institutions of the fine art printed edition. He’s a fox in the hen house.

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Gary Kachadourian’s Gas Station Shrub hangs on the wall like an after thought. The large format photocopy demands none of the attention the other objects and images in the first floor gallery, and therein lies it’s brilliance. If you manage to stop moving long enough to actually look at this work, it’s all ready too late, you’ve been sucked into it. The very carefully understated rendering, the folds in the paper.. It’s just great.

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Caitlin Perkins’ Recording Barometer combines lithography, monoprinting, and some kind of 19th century instrument to play on our expectations of the relationship between meteorology and the delivery of intimate messages.

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Roy McMakin‘s Eight Photographs of an Angel Wing Begonia are beautiful and minimal. And they operates as an accessible entry point to an artist whose work is as conceptually challenging as it is rewarding. If you have any interest in having your understanding of the boundaries between art, furniture design, and architecture shredded read more.

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Jenn Figg‘s Dead Fall (canopy gap), a sculptural work built out of cardboard and clad in a vinyl print, is the real show stealer in this exhibition. Figg, based out of Baltimore, is project based artist, whose work is ranging in form and material and often operates with a complicated, collaborative structure. This crazy woodland intervention is a great introduction to her work if you haven’t seen it before.

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Shelly Spector‘s Fossil Fuels series of odd sculptures, are three oil or fuel cans made out of prints, or more accurately formed out of the stacked paper that seem to have been printed on.

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Besides the overt formal beauty of these objects, the very nature of it’s construction make it’s actual materiality a mystery.

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Talia Greene’s Weaver Colony mixes whimsy and whit as her line of marching ants moves across the gallery drawing the viewer along the periphery like some lost entomologist.

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Like much of Talia’s work there is something vaguely nineteenth century about the work, reminiscent perhaps of ticker tape coming out of old telegraph machines, only in this case the binary has taken on a life of it’s own.

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Around the next bend, another outcropping of Kay Healy’s work  as attached itself. The titles here place the objects in specific peoples homes, for example, Kim’s Grandmother’s Radio (below). The effect is unnerving, not so much because the viewer is implicated as a voyeur but the work does take on a sincere, if sad cast. If modernity has taught us that success is framed in terms of new things, what do these old things have to offer? Nostalgia for times past perhaps.

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Welcome to someone’s living room!

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This detail shot will give you a better sense of the screen printed line-work. Someone please invite this artist to make a large etching in your shop, I’d love to see those lines extruding off the page.

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Healy’s wheat pasted prints are very satisfying, and in this gallery context these prints seem like the next logic step in the small school of the Drawn Quotidian, of which Joan Linder is probably the best known practitioner, but truth be told, I think Healy’s work really shines in it’s original context – on the street. Here (below), her work takes on haunting quality, what in the gallery reads as a kind of sincere nostalgia, in this context blooms- making even stranger and more complicated connections; these images of intimate household items when pasted on the outside of buildings begin to turn the city inside out in a collision of memory and constructed notions of space.

The back wall of the gallery features a great visual conversation between two of the bigger, bolder works in the show, Kachadourian’s Jersey Barrier with fencing, asphalt, and cinder blocks and Nichola Kinch’s House.

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Some detail shots of Gary K’s beautiful artifact.

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Kinch’s piece (an exempt from a larger installation)  is a photographic digital print adhered to a carefully cut-out sheet of fiberglass. It reads like a slice of reality from another dimension, almost making you dizzy as circle it, watching it’s reality flatten out. It’s also this quality that made it nearly impossible to photograph for the purposes of this review. You are interested in photographic work that moves easily between sculpture and installation, definitely keep an eye on Kinch’s work. It’s red hot.

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Categories: Exhibitions


4 Responses to “To Scale at The Print Center”

  1. christine says:

    this show looks great!
    hopefully we can make it up and see it in person.

    FYI Talia is spelled w/o an h.

  2. amze says:

    *wince* Thanks Christine. I need an copy editor intern.

  3. I’m with Christine- its great to see print jumping out of the frame and occupying space. This is a good excuse to take a trip to Philly.

  4. Jeff Shapiro says:

    Everyone’s right, and more. Great review, needs editing …[and more] good-better-best photography with review most welcome.