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Ps & Qs

Todd Chilton, Kirsten Flanigan, Katy Heinlein, Paul Jackson, Mung Lar Lam, Andrea Myers, Carl Suddath, Nevin Tomlinson

Exhibition curated by Shannon Stratton and Jeff M. Ward


September 8 - November 12, 2006

Glassell School of Art


Opening reception: September 8, 2006
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Andrea Myers, Waxing/Waning, 2005, fabric and glue

Mung Lar Lam, Ironing: East Face, 2006, reclaimed cotton and starch

The group art exhibition Ps & Qs investigates the place in history where both post-modernism and capitalism have lead us. In one sense, the artworks in Ps & Qs appear to be a late permutation of the formalist vocabulary. Instead, what sets the works of Ps & Qs apart from that of their predecessors is the context within which this neo-formalism exists today: after post-modernism and the subjective voice, and concurrent with a flourishing global capitalism that constructs ideas of truth and beauty around consumption.

As "formalist re-visionaries," the artists in Ps & Qs pose a problem for goal-oriented late-capitalism by situating themselves as resolutely non-narrative and un-productive. Rather, by refining their aesthetics to a shared formal genre, the artwork in Ps & Qs is radical in itĀ“s re-proposal of the aesthetic simplicity, purity and objectivity that post-modernism abandoned. Importantly the work does not, nor likely could, seek to present itself with the latent righteousness of its most arch Modern forbearers. On the contrary, it is in its subtle and measured imperfections and lack of braggadocio that questions are posed: what does it mean to propose restraint, and how can one be humble in the face of overwhelming turbo-capitalism and a culture of conceit?

Ps & Qs will feature a group of emergent artists from throughout the United States and Canada. Using the century-long history of formalism as an ahistorical grab bag, the artists of Ps & Qs use a range of materials. Some are traditional like welded steel or oil paint-on-canvas. Others, like PVC, soap and a variety of fabrics, are less so. The artists included in Ps & Qs are: Todd Chilton, Nevin Tomlinson and Andrea Myers (Chicago), Kirsten Flanigan (Tampa), Mung Lar Lam (San Francisco), Paul Jackson (Calgary) as well as Carl Suddath and Katy Heinlein (Houston). Ps & Qs is curated by Shannon Stratton, Director of Programming at ThreeWalls ArtistsĀ“ Residency (Chicago), and Jeff M. Ward, current critic-in-residence at the Core Program of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston).

Todd Chilton, Untitled, 2006, oil on canvas