“The vibe is right”, a friend told me last week of Soloway. Typically this is artist short hand for, “friends I respect are doing something new”, but it can also mean DIY budget. In this case both were true. Run by Munro Galloway, Annette Wehrhahn, Pat Palermo and Paul Branca, the gallery is open to the public Thursday evening 7:00 pm through 11:00 pm (a weekly screening takes place during this time), and Saturday and Sunday 12:oo pm through 5:00 pm. These are fairly honest hours, though I still had troubles attributing the kitty litter box placed below one artist’s work to homespun charm. But whatever. I liked the space, and will support it in the face of cat poop.
Titled “Dirty Hands”, gallery part-owner Munro Galloway curates Sadie Laska, Jessie Stead and Annette Wehrhahn into Soloway’s second group exhibition, a show that highlights both the morally ambiguous and the practice of making messy collage-y paintings. Sadie Laska offers a number of crusty abstract paintings, one of which hangs on what my gallery viewing partner dubbed “The project square”, a small painted white area on top of Soloway’s pre-existing wood veneer walls. Presumably this space is dedicated to highlight a piece that didn’t neatly match the walls, or simply a different type of work. In this case it was the latter, the spotlight device significantly improving a fairly mediocre painting.
Also included are Annette Wehrhahn’s messy sign paintings and Jessie Stead’s digitally manipulated photographs of Real Dolls. An uber-real blow up doll, Real Dolls saw their height of popularity in the early 2000s which is perhaps why Stead’s work held the most immediate interest to me. Why not use Bratz, today’s sexualized creep-out toy of choice, only for kids? Certainly it would be a more contemporary reference, and perhaps a better match with image thumbnails and file names overlaid on the photographs. Dandylion copy 22 Dandylion copy 14, Dandylion copy 2 reads the typical horizontal line of default titles, before being interrupted with words like WIDESPREAD HAZE or UN-INVITED MOSAIC. On the one hand you could argue such pointed titles are redundant, on the other, it’s still unlikely a viewer would even consider the file visualization were they not directed to. Personally, I liked that there was obviously some thought to arrange the files in each photograph, even though there’s little to no point in doing so. Talk about haze.
UPDATE: Artist Tom Moody speculates in the comment section that the photographs are likely screenshots of the artist’s desktop.