Quotidian focuses on artists that manipulate everyday objects in order to alter how they are visually and conceptually processed. Objects we see and use on a daily basis are charged with power and significance; they possess the ability to elicit strong emotional responses, reveal repressed memories, have political connotations – even become fetishized. This exhibition does not concern itself with manufactured representations but rather focuses on the power and immediacy that physical objects have. While photography, video and media art can provide a viewer the verisimilitude of life or a suspension of disbelief, these mediums replicate situations that will most likely never be experienced first hand.
The ability to see and interact with the everyday object is the crux of this exhibition, which includes sculpture, installation, painting and works on paper. These works deal with issues of corporate mentality, nationalism, identity and contemporary complacency – instilling in the viewer a heightened awareness of their daily surroundings normally taken for granted.
Though the concept of transforming commonplace objects into works of art is not a new artistic method, there are many artists pushing this idea further in a wide variety of ways. For instance, Jutta Koether and Daniel Joseph intermingle objects both dear and unfamiliar into assemblages which invite the viewer to invent an internal narrative while Mike Kelley and Thomas Hirschhorn cite popular vernaculars in order to subvert them. The latter two, working in the medium of collage, suggest that abuse and exploitation are virtually omnipresent. Gabriel Orozco and Mike Bouchet, in this instance, both use paint on cardboard to critique national identities and pastimes. Other artists such as John Bock, Bjorn Copeland, Sarah Braman, Matt Jones and Franz West use common materials in stunning compositional manners, resulting in fluid formal arrangements. Anthony Burdin, Jeffrey Porterfield and Mike Quinn offer views into deeply personal worlds, the final of which deals directly with addiction and all the forms in which it can manifest itself. Peter Coffin, here, displaying a thoroughly unaltered yet manipulated copy of Goethe’s Theory of Colors brings up issues of phenomenological beliefs and polemical gesturing. A veritable disco ball, constructed from a discarded leather sleeve, shards of mirror and a rotational device is indicative of Jim Lambie’s seamless representation of both underground music and contemporary art scenes. Claire Fontaine, an artist collective working under this singular pseudonym, exemplifies the true power of objects by using a simple, innocuous backpack, entitled If You See Something, Say Something, which, depending on its placement and context, can be the most threatening object one has encountered in one’s life.
Curated by Thomas Duncan