June 27- July 19, 2015
"Do not underestimate objects, he advises Stice. Do not leave objects out of account. The world, after all, which is radically old, is made up mostly of objects."
—David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Monte Vista Projects is pleased to present A Good Wall, an exhibition of new work by Jason Kunke. A Good Wall consists of two related bodies of work, each considering how objects both submit to and resist our perception of them. Materiality is stressed and subverted in both bodies of work as a method to examine the gap between perception and the world itself, touching on issues of aesthetics and authority.
Grace Hartigan and Signature Strike are mimetic sculptures of neon signs, designed with the assistance of both neon sign and steel fabricators. Unlike real neon signs they do not emit light, but are finished in matte black to absorb as much light as possible, inverting the generous light of regular neon signs; instead of giving, the fake neon signs refuse. This refusal is emphasized in the words the fake signs display. “A Surface That Resists”, is artist Grace Hartigan’s description of the AbEx notion of the subjective mastery of the world achieved through epic, transcendental objects. “Signature Strike” is a term from the vocabulary of drone warfare, describing a method of killing targets based on certain general characteristics rather than an actual identity. Considering how Abstract Expressionism was promoted during the Cold War by the U.S. government as a testament to American cultural freedom, these sculptures connect Abstract Expressionism and drone warfare, examining their shared strategy of generating and using objects to exert and disseminate power.
Also included are paintings of Martian landscapes using a new type of paint. The artist himself makes this paint by grinding minerals containing quantum spin liquid into powders, which are then dispersed into binders. Quantum spin liquid is a state of matter that, though predicted by theoretical physicists in 1973, was only experimentally confirmed to exist in 2012. It occurs naturally in a handful of mineral crystals, including jarosite, atacamite, and cobalt aluminate. The rarity and difficulty of these paints results in a limited palette and constrained aesthetics. In 2004, a NASA robotic rover discovered jarosite on Mars, confirming suspicions that water had been present on the planet. Images from this and other Mars drones are used to create landscapes, some of which break down into abstracted gestures playing off the simplest tropes of atmospheric perspective.Both bodies of work inhabit the space between our coarse sensory apparatus and the finer, inaccessible machinations of the world, a space normally filled with intentional stances and pathetic fallacies, where we do work “(w)ith a good shovel in the good earth.”
Jason Kunke is a Los Angeles based artist whose practice includes sculpture, drawing, installation, video, and performance. His art examines how authority and aesthetics inform each other. He received his MFA from CalArts in 2007, and his BFA (with a minor in sociology) from University of Houston in 2004. He has exhibited nationally at Polvo in Chicago, Commerce Street Artist Warehouse in Houston, and 25CPW in New York. In Los Angeles he has exhibited at Sea and Space Explorations, LAXART, and Dan Graham, and recently issued a limited edition print with Insert Blanc Press. Along with five other artists, he co-runs Elephant, an artist run space in Glassell Park.