irrational exuberance (asst. colors) at Sight school
Sight School, a storefront gallery, was transformed into a colorful shop-like interior, populated by reconfigured discount shop materials, illuminated pegboard displays and a text-based light box.
Inspired by discount culture and positive psychology, Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) is an exercise in pleasure, modest expectations and accessibility.
With its unabashed enthusiasm, extensive use of representation, and bright colors, Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) marks a shift in direction stemming from my 2009 Breathe residency at Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester, U.K., where I became enamored with the aesthetic, symbolic and conceptual potential of discount store culture, the decorative impulse, and the search for happiness.
In Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors), sentiment and immediacy are embraced. The exhibition’s title highlights the paradox of thinking rationally about emotional and internal experiences. Alan Greenspan coined the term to negatively describe manic speculation; I borrow it to consider the positive activity of optimism. If being optimistic is embracing selective perspectives, what seems irrational may in fact be quite sensible.
Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) follows in a Pop Art tradition of artist-created stores, following Claes Oldenberg, Keith Haring, Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas, and Takashi Murakami. Yet it shares with contemporary artist Cary Leibowitz (Candyass) an un-ironic stance and cheap and cheerful appeal.
Vinyl Ficus are potted houseplants sewn and laced from plastics. Both the tropical plant and its standard plastic pot are ubiquitous.
Plates are discs made from stickers and labels, resembling the decorative knick-knacks you can find in households of all classes.
Banners were made by styling and photographing ribbons, outputting color transparencies and layering them over laser paper gift bags. Like certificates and art found in dollar stores, they are pre-framed. Additional Banners can be seen here.
This Too Shall Pass is an edition of papercut collages. As explained by author Paul Martin, as pleasure is necessarily fleeting, even modest pleasures will suffice. I find the statement optimistic; it suggests savoring pleasure and being resilient.
Pet Recurion and Hankies celebrate the decorative impulse; the former is an inward-pointing pattern, while the latter is expansive.
Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) Peg/plex is a display of readymades and one-offs, including Cute _ Calendar, a papercut collage made of multiple calendars. It's an exercise in how endearing images can stimulate backlash. To wear round buttons bearing an arrow is to decide which way the arrow points; even orientations as simple as up or down connote metaphors integral to human cognition. The kink in the arrow refers to explanatory style, how one explains events, and crucially, setbacks.
Unbounded/Unfounded makes visual the oscillating perceptions of optimism in current media. Optimism may be a selective perspective, but that doesn't invalidate its use-value.
1. Paul Martin, Sex, Drugs and Chocolate: The Science of Pleasure. London: Fourth Estate .
2. Mark Johnson and George Lakoff, Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press [1980, 2003].
central theme in Martin E. P. Seligman's work in positive psychology.
E. P. Seligman, Learned Optimism.
New York: Free Press .
In conjunction with the exhibition, Sight School and Christine Wong Yap organized
Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) was on view at Sight School, an artist-run exhibition space directed by Michelle Blade.
Read Christine's interview with Steven Barich about Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) on artopic.org.
The artist would like to extend her sincerest gratitude to Michelle Blade; featured guests Glen Helfand, Ginger Wolfe-Suarez and Patricia Maloney; chief technicians Justin Limoges and Brian Barreto; installation specialists Dana Hemenway and Suzanne Husky; inflation facilitator Scott L.; aesthetic instigator Amanda Curreri; and the light of her life, Michael Yap.
- Installation view at Sight School. List of pictured works.
- Banners and Plates series
- Banner #1, 2010, color laser on acetate, holographic gift bag, mat board, frame, 12 x 9 inches / 30 x 23 cm
- Vinyl Ficus #3 & 4, 2010, vinyl, mylar, thread, lacing, wire, ~18 x 12 x 12 inches / 45 x 30 x30 cm each
- Plate #5, 2010, labels, acrylic stand, 8 inches / 20 cm dia.
- Hankies and This Too Shall Pass
- Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) Peg/plex, 2009–10, pegboard, laser-cut acrylic, fluorescent lights, UV fluorescent lights, asst. works, 72 x 48 x 12 inches / 1.8 x 1.2 x 0.3 m
- Cute ___ Calendar, (shown: August), 2010, collage of found calendars, 12 x 12 x 0.5 inches / 30 x 30 x 1 cm
- Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) buttons #1–3, 2010, badges, 1–1.75 inches / 2.5 x 4.5 cm dia. each
- Unbounded/Unfounded, 2010, fan, metallic fringe and light box: pegboard, wood, acrylic, vinyl, lights, paint, 73 x 60 x 48 inches / 1.8 x 1.5 x 1.2 m
- detail: unbounded
- detail: unfounded
- Untitled, 2010, site-specific durational display of latex balloons filled with helium, air and helium, and air, dim. var.
- balloon display, days later
- video documentation of Unbounded/Unfounded. Available on Vimeo.