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Parrish Road Show 2014 features installations by Michael Combs and Evan Desmond
Outhouse 2014, 2014. Wood and paint, 21’ x 13’ x 99”. Courtesy Michael Combs. Photo: Hallockville Museum Farm.

WATER MILL, NY.- For the third year, the Parrish Art Museum is presenting its off-site creative summer series, Parrish Road Show, featuring temporary projects by East End artists in unexpected places. This August, the two featured artists are Michael Combs and Evan Desmond Yee. Combs’ project, Outhouse 2014, will be on view from Thursday, August 28, through Sunday, September 28, at the Hallockville Farm Museum in Riverhead, with a public reception on August 28 from 6 to 8 pm. Yee’s installation, The App Store, will be presented at GeekHampton in Sag Harbor from Saturday, August 30 through Sunday, September 28, with a public reception August 30 from 6 to 8pm. Admission to both installations and receptions is free.

Parrish Road Show is designed to deeply connect creativity to everyday life by presenting exhibitions and programs at alternative locations—from public parks to historic sites—across the region. Curator of Special Projects Andrea Grover states, “Road Show aims to broaden the traditional understanding of the function of an art museum by bringing art outside and into the community.” In the past, the series has included related public programs like an art historical bike tour, outdoor movies, guided meditation, local food tastings, and live music.

Michael Combs, who is descended from a 17th century line of fishermen, duck hunters, and maritime tradition bearers, has a deep interest in the history of bayhouses—isolated structures built from discarded materials as base camps for hunting and fishing. These traditional fishermen’s shacks have dotted the marshlands of Long Island for the last three centuries.

“As a young boy, I would spend my summers down at our bayhouse on the Great South Bay. These houses were a place where men, and only men, stayed when they were hunting or waiting for the day’s catch,” wrote Combs. “Outhouse 2014 replicates the actual primitive latrine that was located at the end of an old dock behind our family’s bayhouse. Initially, I feared visiting it late at night, but later in life I found it to be a place of solitude where I could hide and contemplate the feelings I had about hunting and killing and the stress that we placed on our natural environment. This way of thinking wasn't praised around the bay house… it was safer to keep those thoughts to myself, hidden, in private.”

For Outhouse 2014, Combs recreated a free-standing sculpture of a full size wood outhouse with a 17-inch elevated dock—a reference to the architectural style of a bayhouse. At the Hallockville Farm Museum, Outhouse 2014 is sited in proximity to a wood carving shop used for decades by Combs’ father, and donated to the Museum by the Combs family. Outhouse 2014 is the working model for phase two, Self-Portrait 2015, an outhouse fabricated in aluminum and mirrors, for production in 2015–2016.

For The App Store, artist Evan Desmond Yee is creating a mock Apple computer retail space that displays the artist’s sculptural interpretations of iPhone apps and digital icons. “The idea is to design The App Store with the contemporary feel of Apple’s retail environment, displaying physical reiterations of apps as art objects,” said Yee. The App Store will be in the education room of the GeekHampton space.

Yee’s art objects are utilitarian, having uses that reference their digital counterparts, but with paradoxical material, weight and scale. Viewers will walk into the installation and interact with a video interpretation of SIRI that will describe the sculptures available for view and/or purchase. One example is a CD-size Pinwheel of Death—stickers and magnets of the circular rainbow that appears when an application is not responding. Yee describes Pinwheel of Death as a symbol of hopeless waiting.

According to the artist, “With the tremendous popularity of the app, virtual environments have eclipsed ‘mechanical,’ utilitarian objects. They blur the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds. The App Store will motivate users to question our progress towards a ‘virtual utopia’ and to reevaluate our obsession with contemporary design as a panacea for the trials of modern life.”

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August 28, 2014

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