Locks Gallery is pleased to present Catch as Catch Can, a group exhibition curated by Fionn
Meade. The exhibition will be on view February 13 through March 30, 2013. There will be a
reception for the artists on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 from 5:30–7:30 pm.
Viola Yesiltac will perform from her script Taking a Hike with the Lift Operator at 6:30 pm.
Artists in the exhibition include: Will Benedict, Kerstin Brätsch, Tom Burr, Michaela Eichwald,
Nicole Eisenman, Jutta Koether, Nick Mauss, Francis Picabia, Shahryar Nashat, Lucy
Skaer, Kianja Strobert, and Viola Yesiltac.
Catch As Catch Can inhabits a gap between parody and seriousness, consorting and mingling
with sculpture, film, graphic design, and poetry, but always with a wry yet beholden
eye towards painting and its terms and limits. Taken from the nickname for wrestling match
entertainments of the early 20th century, Catch As Catch Can embraces a “no-holds-barred”
attitude of reinventing genre, medium, and persona via available means.
Inspired by the presence of Francis Picabia’s painting of the same name—Catch As Catch
Can, 1913—the exhibition engages a prying apart and emptying out of stylistic investments, critical prompts, and polemical stances in order that these tactics be revitalized with a restless
comic gravitas. Painting as a genre and idea of mobility and mimesis—moving readily
between graphic optical forms, versioning of the artistic self, and gestural pose—is explored
in contemporary artistic practices that embrace a spirit of rupture, allowance, and divided
Made just after the succès de scandale of the Armory Show, which opened in New York, February
17th, 1913, Picabia’s Catch As Catch Can is an emblem of divided desire, existing between
the lyrical embrace of Orphism’s colorful abstraction and the diagrammatic noise of the
mecanomorphs, disassembled figuration, and embedded commentary that were to ensue.
Conflating the artist’s memory of a dancer’s risqué routine aboard a transatlantic voyage
with a no-holds-barred wrestling match Picabia viewed with his friend Apollinaire and first
wife, Gabrielle, Catch As Catch Can insists and interprets simultaneously, offering up a critique
of its own seductive advances. Mixing up the French words étoile (star) and danse
(dance) in the lower right hand corner, the painting deflates yet asserts its own rhythmic
abstraction, and brings together the filmic collapse of two indelible memories.
From the Keatonesque pratfalls of Shahryar Nashat’s film Modern Body Comedy, 2006, to
Lucy Skaer’s filmic portrayal of an encounter with the elderly Surrealist painter Leonora Carrington,
Leonora (The Joker), 2006, the language of cinema as the least faithful art form recurs
here in the exhibition in the cinematic ability to frame and repeat heightened moments,
inverting dramatic tension and revealing illusion and viewer expectations. As with the two
rows of movie seats facing each other in Tom Burr’s An Orange Echo, 2012, the mirror of
cinema inverts, fragments, and upends our memory through impossible repetitions, forever
altering the imprint of the constructed, painted encounter along the way.
A similarly uneasy, dismantled approach to portraiture and interiority is animated in the
work of Jutta Koether, Nick Mauss, and Will Benedict, as they hold equally to the effects of
advanced abstraction and décor while taking apart art historical context and social behavior.
While the line and language of satire embedded in the work of Viola Yesiltac and Nicole
Eisenman puts forth an unresolved dialog between caricature and lyricism, Kerstin Brätsch’s
optical distortion and rotating display tactics resonate with Kianja Strobert’s staccato substitutions
and Michaela Eichwald’s writhing and recalcitrant compositions to further rouse the
spirit of distribution, mutation, and mischief carried forth within the exhibition.
Locks Gallery is located at 600 Washington Square South in Philadelphia, PA. Gallery hours
are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For additional information, please contact
Locks Gallery at 215-629-1000, fax 215-629-3868, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.