February 16 – March 17, 2007
Schroeder Romero Gallery is pleased to announce Lead Me Astray, by Michael Waugh, which will include large-scale drawings, video, performance documentation, original texts, and archived materials. This is his second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Waugh’s large-scale drawings are composed of thousands of miniscule words written out by the artist, with the text condensing into vast, romanticized landscapes, rife with political and religious allegory. One suite of these drawings utilizes every US presidential inaugural speech, chopped-up and re-written by the artist to subvert their rhetoric – then rendered virtually unreadable by these obsessive drawings. The speeches written for these drawings are also used in Waugh’s video, entitled My Fellow Americans. In this video, a wide range of people play the role of president, delivering dead-pan renditions of Waugh’s speeches, revealing how authority can be conveyed even when the actual message lacks logical cohesion.
The newest piece in the show will respond to a different set of texts and another form of authoritative rhetoric: the academic papers being delivered at the College Art Association’s annual conference, which opens on February 14th. And a final piece in Waugh’s show consists of an archive of art fair materials collected by the artist this past December in Miami. Waugh will present those texts unaltered along side another of his text-drawings, this one of Cabeza de Vaca, who began the first long-term exploration of what would eventually be the southern United States after being shipwrecked in Florida.
What emerges from this diverse body of work is an exploration of how history is made, how the vast stores of original documentation created every day collapse into one another as we try to make sense of and connect with the past – a task made all the more difficult as each of us tries to find our own meaning behind events, while we try endlessly to see ourselves reflected in history.
Waugh’s first solo exhibition, Inaugural-2005, comprised of text-based drawings and watercolors, coincided with George W. Bush’s second inauguration. The show received reviews from The New York Times and Art in America. Waugh has been included in the recent group exhibitions, The Nightly News, curated by Kathleen Goncharov at Luxe Gallery, New York (open through February 18) and Text Formed Drawing, curated by Barry Rosenberg at the Contemporary Art Galleries at the University of Connecticut. Waugh holds degrees in Creative Writing from Southwest Texas State University and in Visual Art from New York University.