Opening October 15, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Freight+Volume is excited to announce Mar-A-Lago Sunsets..., an exhibition of recent work by David Kramer. Comprising a collection of paintings, drawings, and hook rugs that grapple with the palpable sense of a fading reality, as well as explore the question of faith in a more pleasant future - or at least a return to normalcy. Recontextualizing sunsets and beach scenes by juxtaposing them with snatches of “biting yet ambiguous” language, Kramer transforms otherwise placid imagery into mirage-like reflecting pools of our collective psyche.
As the notion of a central, undeniable truth disintegrates, formerly concrete objects take on a new mutability, a slippage of meaning underscored in Orange Planet, one of the hook rugs on display. Ostensibly depicting two runners before a sunset, it juggles simultaneous associations with the wildfires ravaging the West Coast and vintage advertising; “It is what it is”, the overlaid text, adds yet another dimension of meaning, referencing Trump’s controversial remarks on the COVID-19 death toll, which continues to rise under his guidance - or lack thereof. In the realm of Mar-A-Lago Sunsets - as in our own - cultural memory, political theater, and the unique circumstances of lockdown and quarantine merge into a technicolor netherspace in which nothing is certain, replaced with a sort of perpetual deja-vu. The text of Collective Shrug and Cautious Optimism project a similar air of flat assurance, reflecting frustrations about uncontrollable situations. While it feels like we are living half-lives, marked with Zoom conferences and inorganic, social-distanced daily life, these works highlight the collective strength of the human spirit. In a similar vein, Epic Memories takes on an almost defiant tone, imbuing our ability to endure with a sense of heroism and placing the frustrations of current life in the framework of an “epic” human struggle.
Kramer’s choice of hook rugs as a medium is itself noteworthy, as their intensely corporeal nature and repetitive, labor-intensive process of creation stands in stark contrast to the diffuse layers of meaning contained within. With its associations as a cathartic, relaxing activity, weaving itself takes on a new significance in the context of Mar-A-Lago Sunsets, presenting as an almost revolutionary action of doing in the face of social disruption. Kramer exploits this seeming contradiction of concrete physicality and enigmatic meaning, and in turns visually dazzles the viewer and compels them to question the images’ satirical text. Emblazoned with the words “None of this is true”, Mar-A-Lago Sunset riddles the viewer, forcing one to reflexively question both the meaning of the work itself as well as the mechanics of their own role in viewing.
With its nostalgic, saccharine vistas and biting textual commentary, Mar-A-Lago Sunsets treads the line of escapism and pointed self-awareness. Mindful of his own powerlessness before global catastrophe and socio-political tension, Kramer’s work is intimately attuned to the absurdity and tragedy of contemporary life, and positions his practice as a resolute middle finger in the face of stagnation and powerlessness.
David Kramer (b.1963, NY, NY) received his BA in Fine Arts from The George Washington University and his MFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute. He has exhibited widely both internationally and domestically, including solo and group exhibitions at Aeroplastics, Belgium; Galerie Tanit, Munich; and Galerie Lauren Godin, Paris; including a collaboration with the Celine store in Paris. He has participated in several residencies in both the United States and Czech Republic, including most recently at the Yaddo artists’ community in Saratoga Springs.