Repetition, exaggeration and processes of making are common threads that tie the works together in Face Up. The exhibition brings together particular works exemplary of each artist’s working process and practices. Each of the works are exaggerated caricatures of recognizable gestures, left open and ambiguous to override static meaning.
Done in repetition and in different materials, these works come together as representations of somewhat grotesque gestures. Lee Lozano’s serial pulling out of nose hairs is strange, funny, crude and beautiful, but the three works also register with a certain sting. Lozano captures something base and obsessive in this repeated face poking. Bruce Nauman’s approach is more comical. He is making faces, distorting himself into expressions that don’t transmit decipherable emotions. Growing out of performance works, Nauman’s suite of prints use the idea of performing arbitrary activities as a material to manipulate in an effort to make a connection to the viewer while understanding that it may mean nothing at all to his audience. Nauman’s prints in conversation with the Lozano works on paper and canvas, begin an absurd conversation that is taken further by Sarah Lucas’ sculpture, which comes from a series of works meticulously crafted from unsmoked cigarettes. Vulgar, blunt and self-conscious, this piece adds a tension to the exhibition that is unapologetic for its compulsiveness and crude representation of the female form. With an economy of means, Lucas has captured the full slump of a heavily bosomed woman, who seems resigned to her position in the centre of the room.
CAG curator Jenifer Papararo and artist Elizabeth Zvonar co-curated Face Up. The work of these three artists is combined to articulate Zvonar’s interest in representations of the body, specifically how the body or images of the body can be broken down into single gestures.