Shoshana Wayne Gallery

OLIVER MICHAELS: Museum Postcards

OLIVER MICHAELS: Museum Postcards

oliver michaels’ museum postcards

Oliver Michaels’ Museum Postcards

Saturday, March 6, 2010Saturday, April 3, 2010


Santa Monica, CA USA

Opening reception: March 6th, 5-7pm

Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased present its second solo exhibition of new work by Oliver Michaels. This new show takes the form of an installation of seven new sculptures, each structure acting as a stage for the projected videos. These videos animate images of sculptures taken from museum postcards so it appears the figures are talking. An act that simultaneously reveres, abstracts and defaces the chosen works, he hijacks the objects’ forms to create his own theatrical appropriations.

The scripts for the sculptures’ voices are composites of fragments taken from sourced texts that form into disordered aggregates. In Lover’s, a black bronze bust of Lincoln asserts a monologue composed of hundreds of descriptions of objects, a male version of Gertrude Steins' Tender Buttons creating a perpetual procession of descriptive statements. In ‘Something Else Out There’, a small figurine gives endless directions that take the viewer on a peripatetic conceptual journey through ideas of contemporary place. The resulting dichotomy between the object and the conjured images traverses the line between figure and landscape.

In Chorus Line, we are presented with four projections of white marble busts that resemble a religious ceremony or Greek chorus. Their dialogue is a made up of texts that are invested in the melancholic: literature ranging from the poems of the Graveyard School to horror writing by unknown authors. Their interaction plays out as a sermon we can only partially follow, centered-around the story of a torturous spiritual voyage of enlightenment. The theatrical am-dram performances give the sculptures a perverse fallibility and a political polemic.

Joe’s Farewell presents a man in an ornament that depicts the scene of a young couple at a hearth. One partner is stuck engaging in an over-personal word association in front of his inert stoneware counterpart. Like Frankenstein’s monster, the subjects seem to have suffered a loss of mental faculties in their reincarnation, and are now engaged in their own detailed maniacal transactions. And within this, there is an unseemly comedy of inappropriate behavior.

Although the subjects in Michaels' work present themselves with a type of authority, they are broken and impossibly fragile. It is in this defectiveness that the works seem to hold an odd insight or promote the possibility for compassion. Dark and dry and ever questioning, these new videos show people defiant and vulnerable...

Oliver Michaels lives and works in New York. He received his BA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins School of Art, London. His work has been shown at P.S.1, Long Island City, NY, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, the Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Amsterdam, the Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, France and the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Spain to name a few. In 2005 Michaels’ work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Herzilya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel. Michael’s videos are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, and the Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Krefeld Germany.