Known Gallery is proud to present Thanks for Nothing, an exhibition featuring new works by American artists Judith Supine and Alia Shawkat, curated by Naheed Simjee. The exhibition will unveil more than eighty original miniatures by Judith Supine alongside six large-scale paintings. Constructed on a base of lottery scratch cards and Newport cigarette boxes, the mini collages are portraits of contemporary American society. Each lottery scratch card work presents a mash-up of sex, class, race, culture and economy, epitomized by the ritual of the lottery. Decorative patterning and linework harks back to engravings and woodcuts by Supine and his “art gods” – the likes of Albrecht Dürer and Leanard Baskin – transported to the 21st century by an upbeat tempo of reverberating color. His cigarette box works are reminiscent of the Surrealist movement’s “exquisite corpse” – and like the name these elicit imagery like death, BDSM and other fetishisms.
Supine’s move to miniature offers an in-focus intimacy with the artist. Their proximity invites the viewer to hone in on the intricate craft of cutting, folding and juxtaposing visual triggers unearthed in a treasure trove of art books, sleazy magazines, candy packaging, phone cards, cigarette boxes and blunt wrappers. Through his technique of free association, Supine transforms his magpie collection into a tightly rendered depiction of collective consciousness: a stream of critique and reflection on a milieu that Supine sees as The Hunger Games meets the dichotomy between the sacred and the profane. His organic approach to art-making turns each lotto ticket or matchbox into a sandbox for the subconscious mind, and each androgynous brainchild an immediate expression of the sensation of a closeness to God.
Supine’s paintings on show, measuring 2.5 by 3.5 feet and upwards, reference six of his original collages. The tiny portraits are made larger than life through scale and psychedelic neon acrylics, vibrating against detailed linework. Totemistic in their opulent, hypnotic presence, they are demigods from a parallel universe. Thanks for Nothing is Judith Supine’s third solo exhibition in as many years, a testament to his palpable force as an artist on the edge of contemporary postmodern art.
Running concurrently to Supine’s show, Alia Shawkat’s latest multimedia drawings in color will be on display in the Project Room. Shawkat’s work is a comedic commentary on life, portraying a mix of humorous and absurd characters and situations that seem to say, “We're all in this together… but don't we look stupid doing it.” Drawing on Shawkat’s acting experience, her artworks have the quality of mise-en-scène, with each character and its props carefully constructed around a visual theme that tells a tale of a sardonic or satirical nature. Shawkat’s new work incorporates haphazard scrawls and color washes that verge on abstraction, while a combination of both hidden and overt characters hold true to her dark form of narrative. Others works vary in style, drawing on genres as diverse as cubism and comic strips. With this exhibition she aims to change the perception of what going to an art show could be.
Thanks For Nothing
Judith Supine and Alia Shawkat
Through September 28, 2013