Olaf Breuning’s exhibition of new work includes photography, sculpture and drawings that create idiosyncratic “re-mixes” of familiar myths, stereotypes, and cultural fantasies common to sources of mass media. Six life-size white ceramic sculptures are comically lumpy representations of the human form. Similarly shaped, each character is distinguished by a monochromatic head that Breuning constructs using his trademark household objects. Strange and funny, these works celebrate both the unique and common qualities of humankind and raise fundamental questions of the nature of our shared information, imagery and experience.
Breuning’s photographs, a mainstay of his practice, can seem strangely familiar while remaining mysterious and somewhat indecipherable. Sources as diverse as fashion magazines, photojournalism, nature and daily life all weave their way into these engaging and humorous scenes. There is a play on the impossibility of a balancing act, colorful smoke bombs, and the manipulation of a landmark into a “mammoth” image by a surreptitious maneuver. Two photographs are poignant images relating to the abuse of nature countered with a plea from the birds in the sky and a vision of our urban world set afire.
Throughout the exhibition are some forty of the artist’s simple line drawings that exemplify Breuning’s point of view and unending insights; they are deceptively innocent and poignant as they touch on biting truths.