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Andy Coolquitt, chair w/paintings

Lisa Cooley
107 Norfolk Street, 212-680-0564
East Village / Lower East Side
March 30 - May 6, 2012
Reception: Friday, March 30, 6 - 8 PM
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Lisa Cooley is thrilled to announce the opening of Andy Coolquitt’s new exhibition, chair w/paintings. This will be the first solo show in our new location at 107 Norfolk Street.

Andy Coolquitt will present a dense arrangement of 35 sculptures thatexplores the continuum betweenenvironments and discreet artworks, and between public and private realms.Coolquitt transforms found objects and assemblages into sculptures. His choice of scavenged materials – plastic lighters, discarded straws, striped fabrics, hands making rude gestures, beer cans, and metal pipes – suggest metaphors for energy and spark various social dynamics. This exhibition, his third with the gallery, illuminates qualities of togetherness, a constant motif for Coolquitt. The title chair w/paintings suggests objects gravitating towards each other, an object casually placed against the wall, or multiple works functioning as a whole.

In 1990, Coolquitt abandoned his studio practice to work at the Texas School for the Blind, an experience, which re-ignited his interest in sculpture as a medium for facilitating social connections. Works such as A nice soft place (2010), a fluffy wall mounted cushion, encourage viewers to physically lean up against them as a way to foster conversations. In his current exhibition, Coolquitt extends this concept further in counter – a wooden pedestal that has thin sheets of Plexiglass bolted to the face and sides, creating the effect of a store counter, perhaps one found in an old hardware store.

Coolquitt’s counter suggests a gathering place, a leaning place for both people and objects. He views it as the central element in the exhibition and as the best vantage point to view the works placed against the walls. It simultaneously evokes connection, transaction, display, and commerce, while infusing his minimalist vocabulary with overt suggestions of the human figure.

Another iteration of togetherness radiates from the works, 2fer and 3-way. The former is composed of two separate works, o--|—oand king raashiid, which have their own titles and can be displayed separately, as long as they occasionally reunite to be shown together, one nesting inside the other, analogous to interwoven human friendships and identities.

Togetherness also factors into Coolquitt’s dense exhibition arrangements. He places finished artworks next to “somebody-mades” next to “in-betweens” – scavenged objects, which might one day become sculptures but are not quite realized. Density, for Coolquitt, also concerns socio-economics. He utilizes a haphazard sense of what-we-got-to-do-to-get-by versus the let-them-eat-cake-emptiness of luxury boutiques.

This exhibition continues ideas explored in Coolquitt’s recent large-scale sculpture, +, which was shown at Locust Projects, Miami this fall. Comprised of four transparent Plexiglass walls in the shape of a plus sign, this work features four quadrants that are populated with Coolquitt’s vertical sculptures, somebody-mades, and in-betweens. In +, Coolquitt successfully inverts the role that his sculptures have traditionally played in relation to the wall by carefully balancing them against a larger sculpture which acts as their sole support. The exhibition chair w/paintings continues to explore various framing devices in works such as this vitrine don’t work and crackcident. The former is a collection of found and manipulated objects that are enclosed by a thin steel cube. In the latter, found lighters collide and are housed inside a handmade Plexiglass vitrine.

While Coolquitt’s sculptures may appear to be minimal from afar, inspection reveals an earnest, haphazard touch. Family tragedy, a seemingly simple wooden box, actually houses a family of dead baby squirrels, a monument to an unfortunate accident in the artist’s studio. Far from the austere gestures of Minimalism, the sculptures embrace humble materials and possess a humanistic quality. They lean against walls and each other; wind their way around the gallery, and congregate in groups. 2fer and 3way are composed of individual sculptures, which may ultimately be shown together or apart. Coolquitt’s somebody-mades similarly travel from one exhibition to the next, ostensibly acting as a stand-in for the artist himself. The transient nature present in much of Coolquitt’s work not only questions the way in which we define an exhibition, but also challenges the very divide between product and persona, art and life.

Andy Coolquitt was born in 1964 in Texas and currently lives in Austin. He is perhaps most widely known for a house, a performance/studio/domestic space that began as his master’s thesis project at the University of Texas at Austin in 1994, and continues to the present day. A major survey of his work, titled Attainable Excellence, has been organized by the Blaffer Art Museum and will open at AMOA-Arthouse in Austin, Texas in September 2012. It will then travel to the Blaffer in Houston, Texas in spring of 2013. A 167-page monograph, published by UT Press will accompany the exhibition and will feature essays by Rachel Hooper, Dan Fox, Matthew Higgs, and Jan Tumlir.

Please note our new location at 107 Norfolk Street, just one block east of Essex Street between Rivington and Delancey. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. The closest subways are the F/M at the Delancey/Essex stop and the D at Grand Street.
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