Lumenhouse is pleased to present “Lots of These Planets Are Pretty Nice,” a solo exhibition by Nathan Boyer. Boyer will exhibit three video projects, one of them accompanied by paintings. This new body of work continues his investigation into how people simultaneously embrace and subvert cultural stereotypes to create personae.
Boyer’s videos are both humorous and philosophical, referencing pop-culture clichés from science fiction, martial arts and YouTube. In each, Boyer performs a different character. In one video, set to dialogue from Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon,” a naïve (martial) artist learns from and surpasses three “masters” from art history. In another, a cocky yet lonely alien pleads for visitors and does karaoke in a video message from outer space. Boyer’s third project features “Dr. Skullface,” a bodiless alien hip-hop star who sings in a music video and appears on a late-night talk show.
Throughout, Boyer melds traditional and new-media techniques. Collaged elements and oil paintings become settings for videos whose “special effects” are high-tech yet awkward in their low production value. In one project, the two “spacescape” paintings that serve as the video’s background are exhibited alongside the video as a triptych. Here, the landscape becomes an arena potent with past and eventual action. Overall Boyer’s videos have a quirky comic appeal that belies their underlying seriousness. His themes range from the quest for human connection in the Internet age to the poignancy of our failed efforts to comprehend time and the future.
Nathan Boyer received an MFA from Yale University in 2002. This is his first exhibition with Lumen House.