Bodega’s show “Mobile Device” is one that meets at the intersection of absurdity, crudely constructed DIY work and conceptual process. Much of the show, which runs from Sept. 2 until Oct. 2, is difficult to wrap your head around, but the challenge in this case is half the fun. The mood is playfully reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp, and, upon entering the gallery, you initially question yourself, “Am I missing something? Did I miss the memo?”
As is often the case in life, if you find yourself asking a question like that, you did in fact miss the memo. There is a little background to be laid out that makes “Mobile Device” much more approachable. The exhibit was an ongoing exchange of ideas in which a few artists shared their artwork with other artists as the starting point for their work. Think of a giant game of Whisper Down the Alley, but with art. It’s kind of like that. The end result is 16 artists showing related, yet seemingly dissimilar art in the same space. A sense of humor is definitely a prerequisite.
One sculpture by Derek Frech, entitled “Slimed 3D Pyramid,” doesn’t need much more of a description than its name. A Giza-style pyramid stands solidly on the wooden floor and oozes with drips of slimy, lime-green paint. It’s the brightest beacon in the show and brings to mind “Ghostbusters” references, as well as the pseudoscientific musing that perhaps aliens built the pyramids. It may be wise to don Joel Holmberg’s “3D Safety” glasses in case the neon color is too much.
The apparent cousin of Frech’s pyramid in the convoluted “Mobile Device” family tree is Mia Goyette’s “Dream Date.” A piece of plywood stands propped against a cinder block behind and a Chinese-looking vase in front. On its surface is painted a black triangle which mirrors French’s work. To the left of the triangle lies a pastel parallelogram (say that three times fast) and to the right the wood is cut into a set of more triangles in the appearance of stairs. Chichen Itza, eat your heart out.
Artie Vierkant’s jarring video “New Weaves” is also fun, in the way that seizure-inducing flashes of images and scenes of violence are entertaining. Come to think of it, that sounds like most of what plays on cable TV, and people still watch that. Georgia Gray’s “Woman Who Lost Her Pet” is a sculpture, which draws to mind a distraught woman. Part surrealist homage, part movement study, the sculpture’s simplicity helps convey its impressions. Jason Hwang rounds out the show with a truly trying piece “Untitled (I’ve Seen That Face Before),” which consists of a clock radio plugged into the wall. Hwang’s work is clearly pertinent if you need to check the time.
All in all, this show is not for the mild-mannered. It takes a degree of imagination and tongue-in-cheek analysis and is perhaps more impressive in hindsight. Stop by Bodega and be confounded.
Bodega is located at 253 N. Third. St. in Old City; email@example.com.