Earlier this month at Petzel Gallery’s new location in New York, Seth Price executed an amazing show that consisted of various paintings and sculptures titled, “Folklore U.S.” Price has a sense of humor which is exhibited in his written statement about his solo show, using wit that is not seen very often in the academic art world. (read statement here) It is a refreshing read into the mind of a contemporary artist. The exhibition is composed of three primary methods of creating art objects within his practice. One is his use of the vacuum mold, the second being an exploration with wood, and the third a playful investigation of textiles and the woven surface.
Looking into the vacuum mold works, Price involves the recurring presence of rope, which makes its way into every polymer bound surface adorned with a variety of materials like inkjet pigment, resin, enamel, acrylic, fabric, foam and more. A couple of the works include more evidence of the artist’s hand in his figural renderings of human subjects and anatomy which can be either a compelling addition to the work if that is your cup of tea. Some would say they are distracting from the abstract color fields and rope gestures that Price concludes in these works.
The wood works depict a dialogue between a homogenized industrial material and the objectivity of envelopes and how they operate. Envelopes can be considered as vessels which preserve a discourse until opened containing either letters from an intimate lover, or statements from debt collectors who hide within the walls of their offices as do rats in a sewer line. There are two defined pathways of exploration that Price takes within this body of work, investigating the relationship of surface serving as a backdrop and surface which is contained. Through Price’s playful explorations of the relationship between surface and subject, he manages to create a group of works that converse about depth through a language rooted in texture.
The final group of works are the textile works which price displays both on the wall and on platforms within the middle of the gallery. They hang heavily on the wall and mimic the constructions of envelopes that are folded in a variety of ways exposing internal explorations of pattern. Price uses a number of fasteners, hooks, buttons, and straps that adorn the works into an obscure dialogue between functionality and decoration. These works speak to the world of high fashion and the obsession of luxury objects. This exhibition is already closed, but it is one that deserves your attention due to Price’s expansive practice and exceptional execution in this exhibition.
-Contributed by Gregory Ito