May 11 – July 1, 2018 Opening Reception May 11, 8-11 pm
Central Park is pleased to present Before Everything Give It Perfume, a survey of paintings and papier-mâché by Keith ALLyN Spencer and Scott Eastwood. The work on view for the artists’ second project with the gallery addresses scale and the artists’ tendencies to muddy the perimeters between their home lives and studio practices.
Selections from a series of circular watercolors that feature patchworks of flash illustration and fan art mesh with works in papier-mâché, similarly dappled with floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in Eastwood’s contribution. The work is a departure from the immersive sculptural installations that previously defined the artist’s practice. It centers in large part on intimately-scaled and tactically-rich wall reliefs that invite close viewing.
By mixing varying consistencies of papier-mâché and applying them to objects, Eastwood effects a technique enjoining his interests in painting, sculpture and cooking. For his newest piece in the exhibition, Zebra Rug, Eastwood concedes his penchant for working in large format, reproducing a full scale, tanned zebra hide. The work reflects also Eastwood’s growing preoccupation with twisting together modes of production in the studio and his domestic environment. Describing working with large batches of papier-mâché as at times like kneading dough, Eastwood’s on-going series of pelt rugs are humorous, “budget-versions” of would-be status objects in the home of the American gentry. Making an analog to the bear skin, and using a playful technique, Eastwood domesticates an exotic object with Zebra Rug. And through the dark tinting of the material, the viewer is treated to the same confident line work and psychedelic patterning of the watercolors on view and that is characteristic of the artist’s earlier illustrative works on paper. Eastwood attempts to merge as many of his interests as possible when working in the studio. The ability to work quickly using the whole body with the papier-mâché recipe, at a place in between drawing, painting, sculpture and baking, engages that pursuit.
In terms of new and old, pinning Keith ALLyN Spencer’s work to a timeline is a challenge. Dates are often chosen for their personal meaning to the artist rather than for the time in which they were executed. Some appear to have been made in Spencer’s infancy and others, although apparently complete, may not manifest for decades. Consistently challenging confines of the medium, the artist’s recent large scale paintings are sandwiched between layers of plastic sheeting. Like Ab-Ex Ziplock Bags, the plastic melted to itself, trapping the paint in between and producing a frilled crepe-paper-like veil. The sheets are mounted on magnets hidden behind by domestic debris or the kind of things one would find in the center console of one’s car.
Spencer’s earlier works incorporate groups of painted wood and ceramic elements loosely attached, or carefully balanced atop one another. The elasticity of their installation necessitates that they actively contend with and reflect the site in which they’re installed. Over time, this has included: the side of a barn, behind a vending machine, in place of a placard in a community rec center.
For works that are meant to be viewed horizontally, Spencer often co-opts the closest, white object at hand to function as a pedestal- a stack of printer paper, a mini fridge, slices of Wonder Bread. The artist takes a similarly casual approach with vertical works, preferring to place them on and amongst existing architectural features in a space in lieu of plotting points on the wall. Practically, this reduces the number of installation choices Spencer can make. It keeps him from getting in the way of the work, and reaffirms the work’s relationship with where and how it is shown. Given their variable size, Spencer uses the body for scale- sizing works like t-shirts from XS-XXXXXXL. This is particularly fitting for the paintings made from his sons’ recycled clothing, which like Eastwood’s reliefs, exemplify the fluidity with which the perfunctory materials of domestic life that come with cooking, cleaning up, being a partner and being a dad, find their way into the work.
Keith ALLyN Spencer (b.1979 American Southwest Border) lives and works in Granville, Ohio. He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of the Design and is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting at Denison University. Recent group exhibitions consist of Skylab Gallery (Columbus), Present Company (NYC), New Galerie at Yves Klein Archives (Paris), Simon Oldfield Gallery (London), and BigMedium (Austin). His solo shows include, Ditch Projects (Oregon), The Composing Rooms (Berlin), Welcome Screen (London), Juicys Gallery (NYC), OFG.XXX (Dallas), Target (Indiana), and Domino’s Pizza (Rhode Island).
Scott Eastwood (b. 1978, Framingham, MA) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2011. He has had solo exhibitions at Mass Gallery (Austin), Box 13 (Houston), Deep Sleep (Philadelphia), and Nonesuch Gallery (Richmond). Eastwood has been included in numerous group exhibitions and produced several large-scale installations and environments in Los Angeles and elsewhere nationally.