Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Scope New York Part 1 of 3 - The Art World Strikes Back

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away there lived an art fair that captured the essence of newness so deeply, so lovingly... cherished it so intensely... that all the naysayers expired and moved on to other pressing tasks at hand-- like which flight to book to the calendar's next biennial.

And so we turn our attention from Pulse to Scope New York.

I find it an arduous task to place art festivals into competition against one another, (it's very "The Most Dangerous Game-ish") but truth be told, Scope New York is a much larger three-ring-circus in terms of sheer capacity and volume than Pulse.

So on Sunday, the second to last day, I ventured forward with a newfound purpose-- to truly scrutinize what it was all about-- and I came out of Scope invigorated with a fresh new outlook on what art can mean for an individual.

(Daniel Jackson's "10000 To a Point Somewhere Blues No. 4"-- Carter Presents, London, UK)

Not only did I find the works and galleries to be quite challenging, but an emaciated tightrope was being walked by the exhibitors-- sometimes I found they fell over; aping to the left or to the right just a bit too far.

The triumph is to be celebrated by those who achieved just the right balance.

I salute Scope's spirit in its challenge to bring new thinking to the art world at large and these are some of the best of the 2007 Scope New York fair.

First up, from the above image, is London's Carter Presents Gallery and exhibiting artist Daniel Jackson.

This pulsating kaleidescopic vision is created through a series of computer code language the artist has written.

It plays upon trickery-- in fact, upon my first glance, I thought for certain there was multiple gradients of blue that kept pulling me in.

In fact, it is a monochromatic inkjet-- with each line spaced according to 1's and 0's.

The supernova effect calls to mind the special effects framework of so many science fiction films-- there is a cagelike structure to every color and texture that goes on the screen-- whether it be "Star Wars" or "Shrek."

Jackson is one of a number of artists who is whetting his proficiency in the digital realm.

After all, this being the 21st Century, isn't it refreshing to see art that will hold your interest in a format other than the traditional realm?

I give a big "cheerio" to Jackson and Carter, and to any anti-technology bollocks sayers, "That went a bit 'tits up, wouldn't you say?"

Next, a Lilliputian fantasy come true--From Seoul, Korea, Janet Oh Gallery with a fanciful presentation of miniature landscaping, through the work of Israeli artist Zadok Ben-David.

Each work is exceedingly fragile.

Upon initial inspection, it appears that the exhibit lighting is casting perfect shadows of each tiny tree.

In reality, micro-thin aluminum cutouts are put in perfect place to work alongside the lights and structure of each cutout.

These works are so dainty and special, it genuinely brings to mind how much nature is mistreated by so many.

If each and every tree were this small perhaps humanity would hold them more dear.

The human element always seems to be about triumphing over adversity-- usually something that is "bigger" than us, yet we cherish anything minute-- children, puppies, flowers.

It's interesting to think about how size perspective influences our perceptions of the commonplace.

Ben-David's upbringing in Israel has also obviously influenced his work greatly.

I cannot help but think of the Mount of Olives and so many biblical stories' inclusion of the tree in promenance.

Turning to something much different, we come across Tokyo's Take Floor 404 & 502 gallery.

We are accosted almost immediately by the colors and Tower of Babel atmosphere of Japanese pop culture.

Is it possible for a felt teddy bear to assault a viewer?

Artist Soju Tao takes elements of '70s punk culture and mixes it with objects from childhool, all the while espousing certain elements of the past.

The felt assemblages above certainly call to mind cubist structures, if not an embrace of art at its purest form-- by that of a child.

Tao's wide-eyed innocence enthralls me-- but the imagery might have the subject matter of infancy, but the expressions on the faces of the works shows a greater depth.

A striking juxtaposition.

Next up, yet another strong Korean entry into the fray-- Seoul's Brain Factory gallery.

I found myself mesmerized by the work of Tom Lee.

A graduate of the Pratt Insitute, Lee makes his home in Brooklyn.

Working with paper collage on linen, Lee crafts imaginative pieces that are geometrically at war within the confines of the perfectly square canvas.

Each color represents a precise organizational preference of the artist.

With this work, I especially found the strong purple against the light hue at the bottom right hand corner to almost represent a stage-- amidst an orchestra of the absurd playing to an audience at the left.

Once again, my Star Wars theme-- I cannot help but think of the Max Rebo band in concert for Jabba the Hut.

Part 2 of my 5 part week review will come tomorrow for more Scope.

In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy the warp speed!

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