Participating artists: Derek Ayres, Derek Cracco, Luigi Cicala, Michelle Handelman, Claudia Hart, Dana Dale Lee, Margaret Roleke, Rafael Francesco Salas, Suicide Artist · Sharon Thompson, Anahita Vossoughi, Aaron Zimmerman
Curated by P.P.O.W. archivist Dana Dale Lee and staged while most of New York’s culturati are on vacation, Risky Business is an art world version of the ‘80s Tom Cruise film of the same name. Brief descriptions of the casually assorted contributors to this ‘while-the-parents-are-out-of-town’ art party follow.
Derek Ayres illuminates the beautiful in the potentially destructive by sculpting a life-sized wooden sniper rifle. In a similar, yet converse vein, Anahita Vossoughi reconfigures appropriated images of Guantanamo Bay POW’s into beautiful painted images of ornamental objects. Margaret Roleke’s enormous collage of toy army-men (based on kill numbers from the war in Iraq) results in an arabesque, yet overwhelming abstract image. Suicide Artist’s red ink-stained work uses a detonative technique to investigate horror and fear.
Exposing what is universal in our vulnerability, Rafael Francisco Salas depicts a lone figure, his mother, in a sublime, psychological portrait. Utilizing religious and pop-culture imagery, Derek Cracco creates slick, resinous collages that question the differences between icons and idols, and their impact. Luigi Cicala paints action figure toys that articulate a Max Beckmann-esque humanism evoking tension and wit.
Sharon Thompson’s site-specific installations and drawings depict frightening characters in imaginary space to create tension and beauty. Claudia Hart’s video melds technology with sensuality with an animation portraying a virtual woman who gently moves in her sleep yet cycles through sequences of movements like clockwork.
Using photo collage and an exacting illustrative process, Aaron Zimmerman crafts imagery whose perversity is matched by its beauty and political awareness. Michelle Handelman’s video and photographs of masked figures lead us on a metaphorical journey whose path is illuminated by fear and amusement. And lastly, artist/curator Dana Dale Lee’s exhibits a violent, humorous and painterly exploration of the known and unknown.