Matt King Blister Pack
September Oct. 24th through Nov. 29th, 2008
Opening Reception Oct 23rd, 6 - 9 pm
55 Great Jones St. between Bowery and Lafayette
October 13, 2008 – New York, NY - Werkstätte is pleased to present the opening of Blister Pack, a solo exhibition of new sculpture and drawing by artist Matt King, on October 23, 2008. By exploring the poetics of quotidian objects, King presents a unique perspective of our increasingly standardized mass-market culture.
With his work, King shows us the strangeness of an individual subjectivity that is framed by a culture saturated with serially produced objects, images, and spaces. The complex physicality of his sculptures demands that they be experienced with attention, and yet, they contain dead-ends, false trails, jokes, and ellipses that thwart rational understanding. Throughout the work, fugitive meanings glance off one another, suggesting a broad condition of uncertainty and mistrust, longing and promise.
In a piece called “Shape Memory Polymer,” King presents a large torus that makes an improbable connection between freezer pops and a plastic memorial wreath. Its form suggests a dynamic event suspended in motion, the piece barely holding its own internal velocity at bay. The materiality of its components, colors, surfaces, and shape coalesce into a singular presence, and yet, like most of King’s work, it refuses to leave the viewer on stable ground. The piece explores a multitude of dichotomies, from the funny and the grotesque to the beautiful and the catastrophic, pulling the viewer into its seductive vortex.
With King’s wall pieces, the implication of an external force is made explicit. Each piece is designed around a “height indicator strip”–a ruled sticker used to record the height of would-be criminals by retail surveillance cameras. In “Crazy,” a hybrid object—part ice-cream cone, part drinking glass—is self-consciously presented as both a seductive aesthetic device and as a cheap cultural artifact created to satisfy an absurd set of desires. Mirrors invite narcissistic reflection while also allowing the viewer to literally measure his or her body as an object within an observed space.
King’s drawings explore the potential of exploiting the tools of industrial production for their latent lyrical abilities. The images for these drawings are derived from digital photographs of both funerary and holiday wreaths. The artist translates the photos into computer code and then programs a robotic CNC-machine—common in today’s digital manufacturing systems—to execute the resultant image in watercolors. He then dips the drawings in water, transforming the found image into a ghost of its earlier self.
While Blister Pack investigates a wide range of manufactured goods and processes, it is also infused with a palpable, yet absent presence of the human body. In several pieces, the vulnerability of the corporeal body is juxtaposed with the promise of the perpetually new. This is made clear in a piece such as “Tater,” where the possibility of decay is real: a sack of potatoes, which can both grow and rot, serves as a counterweight that balances the otherwise unstable piece.