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Love of the Common Man

A few weeks ago Samuel Boehm unveiled Love of the Common Man, the inaugural show in his new project, Gazebo. Gazebo is a series of exhibitions hosted by several galleries and specially curated by Boehm, but we’re going to do a full write-up about the project so let’s not get caught up on that quite yet.

I first want to talk about the curating of the show, how it was set up and then I’ll get into the work itself. I think that group shows, especially ones in small spaces, tend to feel overcrowded, like they just wanted to get as much work on the walls as possible and no one’s work is shown off, it’s just slapped on the wall. Sometimes less is more in small spaces and I think this is where Boehm flexed his curatorial muscles. Each artist’s set up allows you to break away from the space and experience their work separately. This isn’t just a collection of work crammed into a space, it’s a series of displays that show off each artist’s ability and style. Boehm really created a special display and it’s a sign that the rest of the Gazebo shows will be quite the collections as well.

Now let’s get into the work itself, starting with the work of our friend, Daniel Giordano. Giordano has 3 pieces in the show, two pieces from the series Self Portrait 150 Years from Now and his sculpture Family. Family is reminiscent of a lot of work we’ve seen from Giordano, a large cast aluminum structure with a collection of random objects and resins poured into it. Set in the part of the room cut down by the staircase, the viewer has just enough space to interact with the piece as it dominates the small portion of the room. The two pieces known as Self Portrait 150 Years from Now show off a new side of Giordano’s work, limp wire jutting out of the wall holding moisturizing facemasks, a 24 karat gold mold, and Giordano’s textbook sprinklings of wild materials. Something about a used facemask is haunting, it appears skin-like, reminiscent of Leathface’s mask from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. This paired with the odd placings of the work, one on an odd exposed brick section of the wall and the other mounted above the stairs, makes it feels like the work could almost be missed but when you see it and dive in, all else seems to disappear and the work takes on an image that tells quite a haunting story.

Moving on, we have Sam Siegel whose work is comprised of a series of chromogenic prints, which is a wild photographic process I was totally unaware of. The images themselves feature crystal paperweights, with images lasered into them (you’ve all seen these things at the mall) set in a deep black background. The process Siegel uses to create the images paired with the white walls, silver frame and white matting really enhances the depth of the black and forces the few colors in the image to pop. There’s an eeriness to a barely visible image set in deep black and the arrangement of the images on the wall creates a very deliberate flow and narrative. I’ve always been a fan of images that literally suck you in and Siegel’s images certainly pull you closer as you feel the need to pick up every minute detail of the work.

Finally we have Russell Barsanti who’s collage work has a very hand done but refined feel which I thoroughly enjoy and think is often lost in modern collage. The two large images are comprised of vibrantly colored women’s faces peering out of rips in a black and white hot stone massage ad. The scale of these images is what sucks you in, the vibrant colors create the face and stand out, but the small details you get in the rippled black and white image are what keep you looking, trying to piece together what this image in what feels to me like the foreground actually is. I think pieces with such detailed layers of information are the ones that really stick with us, keep us questioning why each aspect is there and how they relate to each other. We often forget about collage as a medium in modern art, it’s nice to see someone doing it so elegantly.

Overall, this show was a dynamic display of three up and coming contemporary artists, excellently curated to really display what each artist has got. I very much look forward to what the future holds for these artists and the Gazebo project itself. I’m going to keep a keen eye out for what’s to come from them and I think you all should too.


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