Meg Cranston & Todd Gray
Presents section of The Armory Show, New York March 7 - 10, 2019. VIP previews Wednesday, March 6th, by invitation.
Pier 94, Booth P8
Meliksetian | Briggs is pleased to present Glue All new works by Meg Cranston and Todd Gray made especially for the Presents section of The Armory Show 2019. Through collage, both Cranston and Gray shift the rhetoric of the image from the declarative to the interrogative.
Todd Gray selected quote:
“Culture is the way we make sense of, give meaning to things, the world. Culture is a system of representation. . Reality does not exist outside the process of representation.”
Stuart Hall, “Representation and the Media”, dir. Sut Jhally. Media Education Foundation, 1997.
Meg Cranston selected quote:
“If collage has been one of modern art’s major techniques, the reason is that its technical forms obey a more fundamental aesthetic-political logic. Collage, in the broadest sense of the term, is the principle of a “third” political aesthetics.
Collage can be realized as the pure encounter between heterogeneous elements, attesting en bloc to the incompatibility of two worlds…. Conversely, collage can present itself as that which brings to light the hidden link between two apparently foreign worlds…. The issue here is no longer to present two heterogeneous worlds and to incite feelings of intolerability, but, on the contrary, to bring to light their causal connection linking them together. “
Jacques Ranciere, “Problems and Transformations of Critical Art: Aesthetics and Its Discontents,” 2009.
Meg Cranston’s work California collages images of pain medication and plastic chairs taken from a supermarket flier, with an image of “some girl” (her mouth doubled and with face obscured by a greatly enlarged drain cover), some onion rings, and the word California. The aesthetic logic is tightly controlled. It is a bilaterally symmetrical composition with echoing bilateral pairings using a split compliment color harmony.
The work seems funny because the obvious aesthetic logic is so weirdly paired with its pathos. Cranston says, “I often use a rigid formal or visual strategy as neutral starting point. I add elements to the composition that fit the “neutral” organizing principle versus selecting things for their literary or political content. For whatever reason, the work that seems most “political” never starts there. I try to create sameness and harmony through visual similarities but in so doing uncover discord - strange political and psychological connections.”
In Todd Gray’s work, through his use of collage, multiple narratives are offered for the viewer to engage and untangle, resisting a single iconic narrative. Gray uses frames gathered from South Los Angeles and Johannesburg thrift stores as a structural device to contain his photographs. The used frames carry historical markings from domestic spaces and are signifiers of taste and class. Stacking framed photographs on top of each other provides a physical depth and optical depth causing shifts in perception, destabilizing the inherently fixed nature of the photograph and it’s ability to freeze time.
Gray’s works exist as low relief sculpture, the angle of view effects what is revealed or concealed in the piece, encouraging the viewer to actively engage the work visually. Partially obscured images he made of Michael Jackson, taken from his own archive appear extensively in the work. Jackson is the most recognized black man globally - in Gray’s work he represents blackness and the African diaspora. The pop culture icon is an opening, usually the first point of entry into the work for many viewers. The pop culture imagery is combined and contrasted with the timeless African terrain and images from the Hubble telescope, representing AfroFuturism, (these appropriated images of the cosmos in Gray’s work are the only ones not his own) in a critical visual dialogue.
Meg Cranston on the title “Glue All”
The title is a reference to collage and is it collaged from elsewhere. I always liked the name of this Elmer’s glue product. It reads like a command – Glue All! It would make a great bumper sticker.
More recent exhibitions include solo exhibitions at the Kunstverien Heilbronn, Germany in 2015 and LA><Art, Los Angeles in 2013. Recent group exhibitions include Post-Studio at the Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Welcome to the Dollhouse curated by Rebecca Matalon at the Museum of Contemporary Art / MOCA, Los Angeles, Class Reunion: Works from the Gaby and Wilhelm Schürmann Collection at the MUMOK / Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Los Angeles - A Fiction curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran (Astrup Fearnley Museet), Thierry Raspail (MAC Lyon) and Nicolas Garait-Leavenworth at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, which toured to MAC / Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, France (catalog), L’ image volée curated by Thomas Demand at the Fondazione Prada, Milan (cat.) and L.A. Exuberance - New Gifts by Artists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Afghan Carpet Project at the Hammer Museum curated by Ali Subotnick, the biennial Made in L.A., also at the Hammer Museum (cat.) and Hans Ulrich Obrist’s ongoing Do It project. As well, Cranston co-curated with John Baldessari, and was included in the group exhibition This Brush for Hire: Norm Laich and Many Other Artists at the Institute of Contemporary Art / ICA, Los Angeles in 2018.
Among her publications, Cranston is the co-editor of the JRP | Ringier books More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About John Baldessari Volumes 1 and 2 with Obrist. A monograph on her work Hot Pants in a Cold, Cold World also published by JRP | Ringier is available. Cranston’s work can be found in major public collections including those of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
Todd Gray (b. 1954, Los Angeles) received both his BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts). In 2018 he was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include The Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, and Light Work at the Syracuse University. Group exhibitions include shows at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, Made in L.A. 2016 at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and the Maier Art Museum, Virginia, as well as the Renaissance Society and the Studio Museum, Harlem. Gray’s work is included in a number of museum collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, the Studio Museum, Harlem, the Minneapolis Art Institute, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Canada.
Gray’s work is currently included in the touring group exhibition Michael Jackson: On the Wall curated by Dr. Nicholas Cullinan which debuted at the National Portrait Gallery, London toured to the Grand Palais, Paris, and opens in March at the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn followed by the Espoo Museum, Finland in late 2019. Gray’s work is also currently featured in a solo exhibition Pluralities of Being at the Palm Springs Art Museum through April. In late 2019, Gray will have a solo exhibition at Pomona College Museum of Art, Pomona, California and Gray has been chosen to participate in the 2019 edition of The Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York opening in May.