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Flood: Marlborough Chelsea presents works by Mike Bouchet in newly renovated galleries
Mike Bouchet, Nothing is Everything 3 Times (Positive), 2013. Artist produced diet cola on cotton, 94 1/2 x 94 1/2 in. 240 x 240 cm© Mike Bouchet, courtesy Marlborough Chelsea.
NEW YORK, NY.- Marlborough Chelsea announces Mike Bouchet’s solo exhibition Flood. Presented on two floors of newly renovated galleries, the show brings together new colachrome paintings, Jacuzzi sculptures and a four-channel, high definition video. The artist has not had a solo exhibition in New York in 8 years, and this is his first with the gallery.

The driving forces behind this show are manifold, but coalesce into an incisive critique of popular culture that nevertheless celebrates the strange effectiveness of its machinations. An important blueprint for the exhibition is Bouchet’s observation that Surrealism was rendered obsolete by the explosion of advertising in the middle of the last century—effectively outshining the artists with a more sophisticated and depraved dream-machine.

The paintings (made by spraying, soaking and staining huge swaths of sheer cotton with the artist’s proprietary diet cola formula) make direct use of the caramel-colored gold that is one of America’s greatest symbols of youth and freedom as well as its premier health risk—an exported analogue to crude oil.

Often suggestive of billboards both in content and scale, these paintings—the newest in an ongoing and progressively refined series—are made with cut-vinyl stencils cribbed largely from the text and imagery of cola advertisements. Their seductive sepia-toned brown compounds the Madison Avenue come-ons by revealing twisted humor, utter strangeness and a thinly-veiled sexuality. Bouchet addresses historical and more recent political uses of painting, where landscape celebrated the expansion of territory, and the use of text, in the form of propagandistic sloganeering, was loosely presented as a means of self-actualization.

The artist’s Jacuzzi sculptures explore the human byproduct of this mindset, playing with certain popular New York “dynasties” in this exhibition’s selection. These cardboard and fiberglass whirlpool baths send up Minimalism and luxury (both in the Finish Fetish sense, and in the sense of the commodity that an Anish Kapoor or John McCracken work has come to represent.) These sculptures ask us to conflate two opposed lines of thinking: Donald Judd in a hot tub, or our own bodies in an attempt to reconcile the idea of relaxation with the severity of this kind of sculpture.

On the second floor, Bouchet’s colossal Untitled Video (2011) takes 20th century advertising’s suggestiveness to its most blatant and fully realized expression. Comprising 10,000 simultaneous 10-minute clips of sex footage culled from the Internet that have been exhaustively tiled into a single patchwork, the piece is an astonishing all-over composition and a Tower of Babel of kinetic frottage. As it is presented here, in an anachronistically cinematic aspect-ratio, the piece feels as old-fashioned as cut- paper collage—and precisely of our pixilated moment.

Born in Castro Valley, California, Bouchet received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from UCLA in 1994.

Upcoming exhibitions include his as yet untitled collaboration with Paul McCarthy, Portikus, Frankfurt (2014). Recent exhibitions include 356 Sculptures, 356 Mission, Los Angeles, CA (2013); Simulated Personal Rescue Enclosures at Hotel Gallery in London, England (2012); TRACK, S.M.A.K., Ghent, (2012); Made in Germany 2, Hannover Kunstverein (2012); Privat, Kunsthalle Schirn (2012) Impulse Strategies at Galerie Georges-Phillipe & Natalie Vallois in Paris, France (2011); Sell and Destroy--Redrawing the Bottom Line, Frieze Projects, London (2009); Where Do We Go From Here? Selections from the Jumex Collection, The Bass Museum, Miami Beach, FL (2011); and Diet Cola Works at The Box in Los Angeles, CA (2010); New Living, Kunsthalle Schirn (2010); Retreat, BAWAG Foundation (2010); Making Worlds, 53rd Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2009); HARD ON, Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt (2009); The New New Age Film Festival, AUTOCENTER, Berlin (2009); 16x9 Action film, Centres George Pompidou (2009).

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