Parker’s Box is delighted to present an international group show featuring gallery artists Beatrice Barral (Spain), Virginie Barré (France), Simon Faithfull (UK), Caroline McCarthy (Ireland), Patrick Martinez (USA), Bruno Peinado (France), Joshua Stern (USA), and Gerard Williams (UK) as well as a special guest: David McQueen (USA).
While sculpture has historically been a focus of innovatory practices and multi-facetted developments, it is still all too often reduced to its lowest common denominator in contemporary art. Parker’s Box is happy to highlight some pieces that in a number of ways define certain directions in which sculpture has recently been evolving. Works by Beatriz Barral and Bruno Peinado are conventional in their three-dimensionality alone. Non traditional materials (mirrors, paint, high pressure water-jet cut aluminum etc.), and a complex mix of semi-abstract “picturality”, references to both art history and current media imagery, as well as the fact that they are wall-based, make them unique among contemporary tendencies.
A number of artists today tend to create hybrids between works of art and some of the more mundane objects and devices that surround us. In Promise (American Style), the Irish artist Caroline McCarthy puts together ready meal packages and flower-pots, mocking the fake healthiness of the products and transforming them into equally false natural elements. Likewise, in his most recent work, David McQueen associates mechanical devices, small engines, wires and pieces of sponge creating the most poetic contemporary landscapes, that are a far cry from the banality of his materials. Gerard Williams’ dressed windows may be extracted from the real world, or made to look like they are, but whichever it may be they confirm the thin line that can exist between some contemporary sculpture and objects from everyday life. Virginie Barré often creates installations that combine sculpture and environment to create a sort of total work of art such as The Dreamers. Half human, half animal, these ghostly shapes suspended in the gallery and bathed in a blue light, take viewers to another world, inside or beyond themselves.
Finally, other mediums can sometimes be used in sculptural ways just as sculpture can be used in a “pictural” way. Patrick Martinez creates strong drawings rubbing the paper with black pens until both composition and paper seem to explode or implode in a bi-dimensional effect. Sometimes also, sculpture becomes more a means than a goal. Joshua Stern sculpts and builds small environments and figurines that are then used in his black and white photographs. In Simon Faithfull’s Self-Portrait, a photograph is the only thing that remains from an ephemeral, humoristic and sculptural performance in Antarctica where he uses his own body as a reverse snow-man or a peculiar alien, in this most extra-terrestrial of environments on earth.
Perhaps these artists all exercise a kind of alien attitude, using sculpture as foreign matter that highlights the world we know by a strategy of contrast, operating both through their specific choice of materials and content.