Hubbard’s videos begin with private videotaped performances that are shot in a single take from above, so that what occurs is fixed to a plane as a pseudo-2-D composition. After a flurry of activity and extensive editing, what remains is Buster Keaton on a tabletop. The actions become a locomotive tableau of vaudevillian tropes, pre-CGI visual effects, legerdemain, and blunt manipulations of hapless objects. Joanna Fiduccia writes, “Like Roman Signer, Hubbard stages calculated destruction; but whereas Signer’s savor is in the suspense, Hubbard’s films are a decoupage of movement, a surfeit of pure, absurd doing.”
Gliding through references to such disparate genres as TV cooking shows, card games, magic tricks, performance art, and house parties, the videos operate according to their own unique logic. Each occurrence directs the next, which in turn nullifies the previous act and takes us to the next beginning. The sound in these works mixes together diegetic noise and postproduction effects, a combination that simultaneously reinforces the works’ performative aspect and unhinges the “reality” of what unfolds onscreen.
The paintings featured in the exhibition likewise result from the layering of action, taking cues from digital editing as well as tearing, cutting, pasting, and pouring. They orbit around the video works, spiraling outward into playful abstraction but returning to the direct physicality of collage.