For Immediate Release
CONVERSATIONAL LAG March 8 – April 16, 2005
Reception: Thursday, March 17, 6-8 PM

Featuring: Hilary Baldwin, Bill Davenport, Dana Frankfort, Peter Gallo, Jean Lowe, Martin McMurray, Jennifer Schmidt, Alison Elizabeth Taylor and Brad Tucker

Conversational Lag brings together a group of artists from New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Houston, Austin and Hyde Park, Vermont whose works prompt thoughts concerning the crisis and discovery that often accompanies one’s inner dialogue.

As a collector of language, Vermont-based Peter Gallo often employs texts from French and German writers to juxtapose the universal truths of love, injustice and belonging with disheveled materials including found objects, papers, fabrics and images. In “Where are you going my youth? Where, my life?” the ponderous handwritten phrase rests atop a vintage magazine image of a frozen mountainous stream.

Capturing that moment of self-realization, Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s “Subjects B5 & D10 at the Broch” offers an open-ended narrative featuring two handsome but lanky young men wearing only underwear. As they stand in front of a stone tower, which they appear to have found rather than built, the characters seem unsure as to whether they should employ the tools in their hands or whether there are even men at all.

For the past several years, Houston-based Bill Davenport has been devoted to painting odd, meticulous salon-sized tromp l’oeil paintings of books, birds, and fictional road-signs. Functioning as sly portraits, with references to friends, family and his own favorite things, the paintings reveal personal information only peripherally, while giving us copious commentaries on art history and indulging the artist’s own brand of irony, and deadpan humor.

Boston-based Hilary Baldwin lures the viewer with the heart-breaking phrase: “Everyone has had a piece of Austin,” which is handwritten upon a stick, which is placed upon a concrete block resting upon a piece of found Formica. As a gatherer of objects, images and phrases, Baldwin asks the viewer to create their own stories, which in this case may reveal the misadventures of Austin, whose reputation obviously precedes him.

Involved in Freudian-type adventures, Berkeley-based Martin McMurray’s protagonists are often found in psychological scenarios or uncomfortable interior settings. In “Reoccurring and Unfortunate No. 1 (The Last Night),” a decapitated, bearded head with eyes closed and mouth open rests in a fractured wooden chair. It’s our worst reoccurring nightmare carefully rendered in paint.
Exploiting the full range of possibilities of text as image, Brooklyn-based Dana Frankfort’s painted words rest on the edge of abstraction. Often centering around one provocative word, Frankfort’s paintings create open-ended narratives. In “Untitled (Lost)” the first two letters of the outlined word “LOST” have been scribbled out in a grand, expressionistic painterly moment, which gives rise to questions regarding defeat and ego throughout the historical practice of painting.

Austin-based Brad Tucker often draws from the language of street signs and the craft of sign making to create picture/word puzzles for the viewer. Not too unlike an I.Q. or Rorschach test for art-goers, the color combination in “Paper View (Cigmar Polka)” is evocative of early Modernist abstraction while the overlaid fonts are reminiscent of protest graphics. (Please remember, when viewing the paintings, it is important to come up with good answers fast. It looks particularly bad if you take a long time and give a dumb, inappropriate answer.)

The installations of San Diego-based Jean Lowe often have a purposely low-tech aesthetic, while raising questions of a deeper political and social concern. In this case, the artist has made a paper-mache replica of a doctor’s notepad with the handwritten phrase: “Pt. is guant vegetarian; very ruminative.” which offers a tongue and cheek wink to the intersection of consumerism and psychotherapy sessions.

An empathetic response to trauma, “Letters in a Coma” by Boston-based Jennifer Schmidt is a video animation of solitary tic tac toe drawings, played by the artist while experiencing a loved one in a coma, then passing into death. Through the process of playing the child-like game over and over and making simple decisions framed by an unknown outcome, the artist attempts to transfer and translate personal feelings of loss.

For more information, please contact: C. Sean Horton, Director or Nick Lawrence, Owner / Director.