Friday, July 14, 2006

Emma McCagg: Hard Copy Curated by Raul Zamudio September 16-31 Eighth Floor Gallery, NY, NY Hard Copy is an exhibition that formally and conceptually revolves around painting. With the plethora of painting exhibitions of the last four years as well as critical writing in magazines and journals concerning the "death of painting," "the return to painting" and other reassessments of the medium, Hard Copy takes a more ironic stance towards painting by fusing formal aspects of figuration, abstraction, decoration, interior design, with readymade sculpture, works on paper and video into a cohesive exhibition/installation. Hard Copy thematically mines the media, sensationalism, the thin line between “objectivity” and fiction, and the American obsession for celebrities whose iconic status have been further propelled by recent falls from grace. Yet the paired figures of celebrities in Hard Copy are given an idiosyncratic air of respectability as well as notoriety, for the paintings simultaneously refer to academic portraiture, film studio publicity stills, police mug shots, as well as paparazzi photographs. Converging on the canvas, these disparate forms of visual culture culled from both the "high and low" are wry commentary on the American culture of complacency and the complacency of culture. The paintings are juxtaposed with works on paper taken from actual articles written by the artist when she was a newspaper journalist pursuing such cases as the disappearance and purported murder of Kathleen Durst by her husband, a scion of the Durst family. The exhibition also includes sculpture made from readymade magazines such as the National Enquirer and the Star. Rounding out the exhibition is a collage of paparazzi video taken from amateur video hounds from Los Angeles. This short video collage of Paris Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis and others, is set against the soundtrack of the 1980s hit Obsession by Animotion—Raul Zamudio

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