Archive for February, 2016

“Utopia Parkway Revisited” Opens 2/26/16

Matthew Waldeck Jr.

Matthew Waldeck Jr.

Christian Schmit

Christian Schmit

Matthew Waldeck Sr.

Matthew Waldeck Sr.

Jeff Casto

Jeff Casto

Marc Lambert

Marc Lambert

Joseph Cornell is one of those peripheral and yet totally important figures in contemporary art history who haunts and informs a lot of what is made and seen today. He passed away in 1972, and yet his influence and the scope of his ghostliness illuminate a lot of what has happened artistically and aesthetically in the 20th and now 21st Centuries. “Utopia Parkway Revisited: Contemporary Artists in Joseph Cornell’s Shadow” (opening February 26, 2016 with a reception 6 to 10 pm and closing April 9, 2016) features beautifully and incidentally Cornell-inspired works by Jeff Casto, Marc Lambert, Christian Schmit, Matthew Waldeck, and Matthew Waldeck Jr. They all make art that both mimics Cornell’s approach (collage, sculpture, assemblage, and appropriation), as well as the spirit involved in his vision, creating and recreating an aesthetic universe based in nostalgia, obsession, and pop culture. Casto’s works are the closest in spirit and materials to Cornell’s boxes, but he also has his own sense of deadpan whimsy and ache, as if he’s taken in Cornell’s need to make something out of nothing and pushed resources and dreaming to their limits. Lambert’s works featured in the show respond to Cornell’s use of everyday materials (Lambert paints on ceiling tiles), and also to his starry-eyed sense of cinema and history. Lambert meticulously recreates universes collaged from movie-scenes and folklore, juxtaposing Sasquatches with pyramids, pterodactyls with UFOs, a psychic boyhood embellished with a sense of sentimental ache and poetry. Waldeck, Jr.’s drawings have that same sense of longing for Utopian context. Executed in magic-marker on 8″ X 11″ sheets of paper, they function as a sort of illuminated manuscript informed by television, solitude, and a search for more than is there. Waldeck, Sr. creates funky, frenetic dioramas (and other contraptions) made from machine parts and other junk. They playfully reference space-travel, carnivals, and miniature civilizations, in a Cornellian flourish and flicker. Schmit’s one piece in the show is truly masterful, and acts as both a comment on, and a rapturous biographical portrait of, Cornell, constructed with a painstaking accuracy and ingenuity pretty much akin to everything Cornell accomplished.

 

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