Michael Benevento is pleased to announce Everlasting Gobstopper, a group show with Spartacus Chetwynd, Hélio Oiticica, Lil Picard, Pipilotti Rist, Eva Rothschild, Cindy Sherman, and Michael E. Smith. The exhibition brings together seven artists working in video, painting, photography, sculpture, and installation that are conceptually united by mutual investments in vernaculars of trauma, psychology, appropriation, gender and sexuality. These works transform the white cube gallery into a site of possibility: an abstracted aftermath of a pagan celebration, a visceral and ritualized situation.
Amping up the scene, Hélio Oiticica and Neville D’ Almeida’s Cosmococa (1973) photographs conflate and collapse the historical relationship between cocaine, Coca-Cola, and the star-making machine, opening multiple dynamics between The Americas and capitalism though popular signifiers that threaten to erase all cultural difference. The CC5 Hendrix War photographs lace the cover image of Hendrix’s posthumous album War Heroes with lines of cocaine and a matchbook bearing the Coca-Cola brand name, while the CC3 Maileryn photographs modify images taken from Norman Mailer’s biography of Marilyn Monroe.
Offering the promise of extreme pleasure and wired through a wall of television monitors, Spartacus Chetwynd’s Hermito’s Children (2008) parodies and complicates the television melodrama while dealing with issues of transgender identity in a confrontational fictitious space laced with camp and dark humor. Not to be left behind in the headlong rush towards ecstasy, Pipilotti Rist’s Sexy Sad I (1987) blends text and and varied versions of The Beatles’ Sexy Sadie with video of a nude male body — looped to imply that his sexualized, yet helpless, body will run through this unspecified surreal forest for eternity.
Residing in the psychic space of aftermath and abandon, the sculptures and works on paper by Eva Rothschild underscore issues of landscape with alienation and melancholy. In Black Psycore (1999), a poster of a wolf is altered with black gouache, Rothschild creates a dark silhouette that is mirrored in the slick, sleek surfaces of her Black Mountainside (2001) sculpture. Melancholia, in turn, informs gestures of vulnerability with Michael E. Smith’s paintings and sculptures. Embedding paint, oil and/or resin on everyday materials including clothes and industrial foam to produce scarred or birthmark like surfaces. Smith’s work often attempts to calcify components of the remains of working-class American life into starkly emotive objects.
A documentation of the leftover is central to both Cindy Sherman’s Untitled (1987) and Lil Picard’s Burnt Ties (1968), which complete the exhibition, almost serving as aesthetic bookends to envelop the diversely dark and Dionysian environment. Displaying a wig, autumn leaves, pinecones and a pair of blood stained panties and a singed burnt bow tie respectively, Sherman’s photograph and Picard’s sculpture propels the legibility of the show, suggesting different (if implausible) relations within the current environment and the works displayed therein.
Novels are not about “teaching people how to live but about showing the
possibility of what it is like to be someone else.” – Brian Finney
Michael Benevento is pleased to present the West-Coast solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Miller Updegraff.
Based on a selection of images from the 1930s, the subjects of Updegraff’s eleven paintings on unprimed canvas speak
less to an objectivity linked to representation and instead prioritize an ethnographic ambiguity allowing for profound discourses of desire.
Reconceptualizing the gazing between a group of tribesmen and contemporaries – D.H. Lawrence, Humphrey Spender, and
Evelyn Waugh – Updegraff’s paintings engage the viewer in a visual exchange that is not ironic, wholly honorific or whimsical,
but rather opens up a discourse on what can happen when externalized photographs of a group who problematized binary sexualities
interface with a practice that questions notions of critical distance.
Using a subdued palette, the paintings evoke the nostalgia of the black and white photographs used as source references.
To read Updegraff’s paintings is not simply to identify with the subjects on the canvas, but instead to question the varied forms
of mediated representation with an understanding that stand-ins can be far more complex, if not enticing, than the “real” thing.
By exploring the strategies of power negotiations, however subtle, between men – either between subjects or in the artist’s relation to
the subjects – Updegraff abuts the implausibility of anthropologic “participant/observation” with Lacanian constructions of fantasy to produce
irresolvable responses to the enigmatic desire of the other.
Miller Updegraff earned his M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts in 2008. A Georgia native, Updegraff lives and works in Los Angeles.
Michael Benevento is pleased to present SAS, an exhibition of recent works by London based artist, Bonnie Camplin. This will be her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
Bonnie Camplin continues to provoke questions about survival, emergence, becoming and the feminine. Known for her thought provoking videos and HB drawings, SAS will consist of pencil drawings, watercolors and sculpture.
The title of the show SAS is in reference to a survival handbook written by John “Lofty” Wiseman, a former special air serviceman of the British army. SAS is an exhibition of works incorporating Camplin’s ongoing fascination with survivalism; growing up, as she did with the cold war and “mutually assured destruction” or “mad” and being affected deeply by her father’s obsession with it. She now looks at the prospect of catastrophic climate change and resource wars expressing her own sense of pessimism by taking the survival “basics” (as laid out in Wiseman’s book) and interpreting each irrationally through (significantly) the medium of watercolor. Here they express that the idea of survival in such extreme circumstances in her own case is absurd. Therefore these watercolors, in common with the survivalist culture of emergency-preparedness rituals are merely a symbolic way of processing deep deep fear.
Bonnie Camplin was born in 1970 in London. She received her BA in film and video and her postgraduate degree in advanced photography from Central St. Martin’s School of Art. She is represented by Cabinet Gallery in London and Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender in Berlin. She currently teaches film at Stadelschule Frankfurt. Her upcoming show titled Railway Mania will be held in 2010 at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.