Wingdings 12/2/2011

December 1, 2011 by SHED

S.H.E.D. Projects is pleased to present Wingdings, an exhibition of artists who look to the lowest common denominators of linguistic and visual culture as tools for erasing lines of distinction between the narrative and the simply semiotic. Often through injecting a confluence of asinine tropes into the formal rubrics of long since canonized high-art practices, the works in Wingdings seek to create a new set of ideograms, prompting a convergence of written and visual language that calls into question any previous separation of the two.   The exhibition will include works on paper, sculpture, video, and performance by artists Dan Olsen, Harry Crofton, and Matt Gualco.

Dan Olsen’s video work, like his works on paper, carefully straddles the fence between the iconic and the absurd.  He uses a hand-held video camera to film VHS era movies played on a television monitor. His edits are surgical and straightforward. Using simple loops of decontextualized cinematic events, Olsen reestablishes these innocuous excerpts as resonant, gestural, anti-narrative psychedelia. His work is at once both a bootleg reduction and an imaginative reinvention of established entertainment industry techniques.

Matt Gualco is a student in the New Genres MFA program at San Francisco Art Institute.  His work forms an illusive hybrid between drawing and literature. He injects his subject matter; the layman language of tabloid headlines and celebrity gossip, starkly into the traditional literary formats of screenplay, prose, and poetry. The Wingdings characters interspersed throughout Gualco’s writings act as both decoys and stage directions and compel the viewer/reader to determine for themselves whether these dashes, arrows and symbols serve a particular semiotic purpose or whether they may simply be placeholders, abstract glyphs alluding to some modern day Rosetta Stone.

Harry Crofton has been living and working in San Francisco since earning his BFA at Pratt Institute in 2007 and participating in the Yale Norfolk program in 2006.  His practice spans a deep spectrum of modes and materials ranging from performance art to satirical poetry and is often attributed to his alter-ego persona, “Frankie America.” Crofton’s work is rooted in choosing conflict over resolution as a mode through which he conjures a volatile platform for audience participation/instigation and provocative foolishness.