STAMFORD, CONN.- Its gonna take a lotta love is a group exhibition that explores ideas about inclusivity, authenticity, and commonality in an age of anxiety, isolated individualism, and virtually lived experience. The show is on view from March 7 May 24, 2015, and is curated by Liza Statton and Terri C. Smith.
The artists in Its gonna take a lotta love avoid the detachment and slick seduction of the screen-based technologies that characterize our attention economy. Yet, rather than critiquing the sensationalist strategies embedded in the ever-expanding social media and advertising industries, they pursue modes of art-making that focus on the aesthetic and conceptual potential of societys offcuts. These artists also share a type of tragic-comic vision of contemporary culture. Humor, joy, and melancholy, among others, mix easily in their work. Such emotional credibility creates a slippage between empathy and alienation.
Some artists create this slippage by making and re-making objects using seemingly inconsequential materials. Wayne White paints witty and sometimes biting phrases on found paintings of pastoral landscapes and rustic barns. Andy Coolquitt resituates familiar materials such as vinyl records, lightbulbs, synthetic shag fabric, and books-on-tape into installations that are inspired by functions and spaces outside of the gallery. His works articulate a tension between the familiarity of our real lives and the exclusive domain of the white cube gallery. Whiting Tennis creates drawings, paintings and sculptures that pit Modernist arts fascination with pure form against an intentionally personal mode of a hobbyist aesthetic that wrestles with ideas of concealment and containment.
Other artists such as Jon Campbell, Stephen Vitiello, and Jeremy Deller create subtle interventions using everyday language and music. Dellers poster Attention all DJs takes on the form of a handwritten sign with tongue-in-cheek instructions for DJs. Jon Campbells four letter word flags brightly declare words like Yeah, Home, and Want. By inserting his word flags between country, state, or corporate flags in a city, Campbell prompts passerbys to ask if the words we all use are worthy of a public format usually saved for pagentry or branding. Stephen Vitiellos sound works in Its gonna take a lotta love appropriate commercial music from well known singers. With Dolly Ascending Vitiello slows down Dolly Parton singing Stairway to Heaven to the point where it sounds like choral music. In A.L. Steiner + Robbinschilds C.L.U.E. Part I video two women perform dance infused movements in backdrops of natural and built environments, connecting color, action, attitude, and environment in a straightforward way that includes the audience in their choreographed antics.
Two of the exhibiting artists, Andy Coolquitt and Jon Campbell, have been commissioned to make new works for Its gonna take a lotta love. In the gallery, Coolquitt, whose assemblages reconsider the materials we unconsciously engage with, will be creating a new mixed media installation entitled oo oo. Australian artist Jon Campbell has been commissioned to make new works for the exhibition. His gallery contributions include a "four letter word" mural and a set list painting, which is based on a Melbourne bands 1984 performance. Campbell extends his painting practice into the public sphere with an ambitious installation in Downtown Stamford, his first in the United States. Campbell, who is interested in representing the overlooked and undervalued, will design and exhibit flags and banners with the words: Hold, Home, Look, Play, Want, and Yeah. The works will be mounted on existing flagpoles in public parks, at Stamford Government Center, and on construction fences throughout Downtown.
Artists include: Jon Campbell (Melbourne, Australia), Andy Coolquitt (Austin/NYC), Jeremy Deller (London), Jessica Mein (NYC), A.L. Steiner + Robbinschilds (NYC), Whiting Tennis (Seattle), Stephen Vitiello (Richmond, VA), and Wayne White (LA).