Opening Reception: Saturday, January 31st from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The salon at automatic sweat is pleased to announce American Remains, an exhibition of sculptures and installations by SeMeN SPeRmS and Nick Stewart.
The exhibition presents a collection of artifacts from a proposed mythology that straddles the indistinct line between American history and rural legend. Inspired by the decrepit highway-side nowhere towns of the southwest, the works offer warped satellite dishes and abandoned single-wide trailers as the weathered remnants of westward expansion. These ubiquitous emblems of a proud historical narrative about a prosperous America are presented alongside idiosyncratic icons of contemporary desert folklore, characterized by supernatural suspicion, eerie phenomena and UFO sightings.
Nick Stewart’s objects seek to excavate desert myth in the form of mutilated cattle hides shaped into six-pack-rings, which have been branded with a design that evokes both astral patterns and the corporate logo of an automobile manufacturer. Familiar objects such as a dented street lamp are distorted into paranormal forms, while satellite dishes specked with metal lesions , assume a watchful, almost anthropomorphic presence.
SeMeN SPeRmS sculptures reconstruct and reframe the desolate desert scape from a distance, dwarfing its earthly immensity and depriving it of anthropological context until the barren topography starts to seem post-apocalyptic, if not entirely lunar. The homespun style of his miniatures elude to a tradition of model hobbyists, while the bleak content matter disturbs the quaint escapism of toy model sets. The artists’ American desert is not an open expanse of freedom shaped by the antiquated tale of manifest destiny, but instead a barren celestial surface, a post-apocalyptic wasteland and government test-site.
American Remains considers the place of this contemporary American folklore within the historical narrative of the nation, forcing questions about the filters that parse national fact from fiction, Roswellian syndrome from national heritage. In this exhibit, the patriotic voices of the founding fathers are forced into direct dialogue with desert dwelling lunatics preaching about crop circles from the pages of the national enquirer. It is both a history text book and a camp fire story; a CNN headline and a wives tale muttered by the town drunk from his bar stool pedestal.
written by Claire Bargout
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Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on January 29, 2015