March 1 – July 27, 2012
Can art be critical and humorous? BAC Gallery's current group show explores different approaches to using humor in art. Artists include Ernest Concepcion, Katy Higgins, Beth Krebs and Iviva Olenick. Curated by Courtney J. Wendroff.
View Complete Exhibition Slideshow
DUMBO 1ST Thursday Event:
Selected Videos by Beth Krebs
Thursday, April 5, 6-8pm
There are many theories of humor which attempt to explain what it is, what social function it serves, and what would be considered humorous. Artists sometimes use humor to question relationships between art and everyday life, but, using humor to deflate the pretentiousness of the art world is not a new concept. One can say that ever since Marcel Duchamp placed a urinal on a pedestal, artists have been mocking the conventions of art and the artworld.
But can art be critical and humorous? Undoubtedly, humor is subjective, and not all of these artists are even trying to be funny. Artworks that go for the obvious joke can be easily dismissed as insincere or worse mere entertainment, but humor can also be used as a tactic, a way to help the audience digest serious ideas.
Ernest Concepcion, originally from the Philippines, works in painting, sculpture and installation. He uses conventions of photorealism and landscape but employs fantastical elements to explore alternative universes - from a meeting of yetis and sasquatches in an arctic landscape, to a clash of safari animals and robots from pop culture, to an epic battle between the holy priests and the divine praying mantis. Concepcion uses concepts of war in the process of painting itself, strategically invading the landscapes by drawing armies on the surface following topographical formations, eventually turning tranquil natural scenarios into potential battlefields. Concepcion exhibits in the U.S. and abroad, and has had four solo shows in the last two years. He is currently at work on a graphic novel.
Katy Higgins’s work explores the complicated relationship people have to the natural world, and the tension between the natural and artificial found in representations of landscapes and living things. Her work examine how people choose to shape, re-create, and/or represent the natural world to fit various needs, from comfort and convenience to meeting ideals of beauty, abandoning the natural in favor of artificial facsimile. Her work has been shown locally and nationally including at Smack Mellon, Rush Arts, the DUMBO Under the Bridge Festival, the Florida State University Museum of Fine Art, the Currier Gallery of Art in New Hampshire, and at Marlboro College in Vermont.
Beth Krebs’ drawings imagine a new possibility in a real, and often ordinary, place. While a fully rendered drawing might present a world as a declarative statement, Krebs is attracted to the simplicity of line drawings as proposals for what might be. Her work celebrates the botched but nonetheless heroic efforts at human transcendence. Her videos, a selection of which will be featured in the gallery on Thursday, April 5th, bring makeshift magic to unexpected places, using basic materials to make extraordinary interruptions in ordinary spaces. Her work encourages a suspension of disbelief and asks people to notice where they are and, with humor, to imagine what else might be possible there. She has exhibited extensively around the New York City area including Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Bronx Museum of Art, The Jersey City Museum of Art, Smack Mellon Gallery, the Cue Foundation, Real Artways and the Elizabeth Foundation Project Space.
Iviva Olenick’s hand embroidered pieces include text and illustration on scraps of fabric. For this exhibition Olenick has whipped up what she refers to as a selection of “wry post-its.” Also on view is Olenick’s Brooklyn Love Map, which includes snippets of love stories she collected for her project, The Brooklyn Love Exchange. For this project, funded by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Olenick collected stories from current and former Brooklynites about their romantic encounters and relationships and turned it into an embroidered artwork. Olenick also works as a textile designer and teaches at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, the Pratt Center for Continuing and Professional Studies in Manhattan, and the Center for Book Arts.