A national juried art show is back for a fifth year.
“Vox V” demonstrates that childhood memories, loss and sadness—themes in the art world for at least 15 years—are still major obsessions.
Selected and organized by Cerealart founder Larry Mangel and video artist Ryan Trecartin—who was featured this summer at the Fabric Workshop and Museum and in the New Museum’s “Younger Than Jesus” show—”Vox V” continues to be the big emerging artist show in Philadelphia, drawing from both coasts and places in between.
This is the fifth year Vox Populi has put out the call and the group received more than 400 applications, from which Trecartin and Mangel selected around 100 works by 51 artists.
The high point in the overwhelmingly solid show is Steve Cossman’s animated video portraits of local clothes designer Carrie Collins and artist Emily Glaubinger. The portraits—shown on two small Macbooks—look like paintings. From a distance, you might think they were photos of two painted images. Up close you see that Collins and Glaubinger’s pupils are spinning like tumbling balls in the lottery wheel—their lips are twitching, and nothing is still. Art-world gurus keep waiting for a breakthrough moment in painting. This feels like the moment where painting embraces new media and vice versa. It’s very exciting.
Elsewhere, video and sculpture are impressive. There’s no specific theme to the show but the overwhelming spirit in the gallery is of “dress-up,” fantasy and shrug-shouldered resignation. Photos of Barbies dressed as wrathful Salem witch-hunters by Jennifer Layzer embody this spirit.
Tyler Kline’s dangling tinfoil skulls adorned with black feather boas and headdresses greet you in the lobby and evoke thoughts of witches, goblins and Day of the Dead festivities. Elsewhere, Jesse Greenberg’s bauble-encrusted altar—made with what looks like decorated trash and a few dim light bulbs—channels American culture’s current obsession with home decor and nesting. Call it Trash Moderne: Greenberg’s aesthetic would look great in an apartment-makeover show on Bravo. It’s an artier shabby chic and a perfect counterpoint to the pervasive domestic landscape of sleek, cheap Ikea throwaways.
Elsewhere, Leslie Rogers’ videos Blood, Rest and Void suggest a world of aliens among us while Jonathan Monaghan’s compelling 3-D animation Into Temptation merges the animal and the architectural and surpasses Matthew Barney for satisfying non-narrative storytelling.
We live with ongoing wars and a looming eco-disaster. Art is a reflection of those themes. What’s new here, especially in the videos by Cossman, Monaghan and Rogers, is the savvy technological package that delivers the message. n
For more on the Philadelphia art scene go to theartblog.org