Thursday, April 13, 2006

Two Solos at Catherine Clark

The two artists currently showing at Catherine Clark Gallery address the public sphere, often by means of intervention. In Packard Jennings’s work, corporations are a favorite target, as they are in this show. One series of pigment prints employs the graphic style of instructional pamphlets to depict a revolt by corporate workers. The action starts with a man throwing over his desk (photo above, from gallery website). Other images in the 16-part sequence show general mayhem, toilets used as crop farms, and a hippyesque nirvana for the final panel (photos below, from gallery website).

The graphics are engaging, but what sort of critique is this? You could read it as satire on naïve dreams of revolution, with the final panel as a grungy Sixties dead end. But Jennings is usually taking potshots from the Left, not picking apart the Left’s weaknesses. Maybe it's just a riff designed to refresh awareness of the artificial, locked-down atmosphere of corporate life—and the potential for subversive action. I gather that Jennings is planning to send copies of the images to corporate addresses. For this purpose, he has placed a receptacle in the gallery where visitors can deposit postage-paid return envelopes from junk mailings.

The other artist, Felipe Dulzaides, has been placing photographic billboards around San Francisco that reproduce details of the area in which they are placed. I enjoy seeing these around town but the photo documentation presented in this show seems a bit flat (example above). Also on view is a video by the artist that I did not have time to absorb on the first visit.

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