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Psychotic Reaction

KS Art
73 Leonard Street, 212-219-9918
Tribeca / Downtown
September 27 - October 29, 2008
Reception: Saturday, September 27, 7 - 9 PM
Web Site

This group exhibition draws its inspiration from the psychedelic/garage rock hit from 1966, Count Five’s Psychotic Reaction, the often-covered song about depression and unrequited love. The song derives its disjunctive, angular, emotive power out of a hypnotic concoction of raw, but deeply felt manipulations of distortion, repetition and noise. The simple, but powerful success of this do-it-yourself musical aesthetic is an analogue to the diverse visual strategies of recent artists working in a variety of materials whose work develops its own raw power not so much out of the rational aesthetics of the beautiful, but rather out of the psychic underbelly of colorful noise, extreme disjunction, and discordant materiality. Contributing artists are Bill Adams, Ele D’Artagnan, James Hoff, Les LeVeque, Beverly Semmes, Philip Travers and Penelope Umbrico.

Les LeVeque’s recent silent video re-edits of opening show tunes, including The Sound of Music and Oklahoma, simultaneously speed up and delay iconic song-and-dance numbers by filtering them through computer algorithms, flipping and flopping the source imagery into hallucinatory, kaleidoscopic forms.

Penelope Umbrico’s contribution is a fragment of the artist’s “Suns From Flickr” series (2008), an installation of hundreds of 4×6” amateur photographs of the sun downloaded by the artist from the internet, printed, joined and repurposed into a colorful, hypnotic grid.

Bill Adams colorful, densely layered paintings on paper combine cartoon imagery and real political figures (including Barack Obama and Abe Lincoln); these explosive crowd scenes depict interior and exterior worlds simultaneously being built and falling apart.

Through their collapse of classical forms, Beverly Semmes’ deceptively crude, brightly glazed ceramic anti-vessels conjure up the return of psychic chaos and irrational contours. Semmes’ hand built, deliberately wonky forms avoid tradition and resist classification.

James Hoff re-purposes a self-published, 28-page zine by Raymond Pettibon, transforming it from a signed and numbered edition into an object of everyday life: a children’s coloring book. On view will be framed selections from this series having been augmented with crayon “colorings” by an anonymous three-year old accomplice.

Ele D’Artagnan, a trained actor who worked with Fellini was also a self-taught artist who floated in and out of the Italian surrealist scene. D’Artagnan made drawings which employ a cosmic sexuality and psychedelic line that anticipate the work by numerous young artists today.

Philip Travers’ drawings re-examine the occult through a combination of pop cultural and personal conceits, including his own “fictional” adventures through Alice In Wonderland. His contribution here is a drawing / assemblage of a spiral, optical pattern placed on top of a rotating, 78 rpm record about self-hypnosis.
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