EXHIBITION VISIT ALEX EBSTEIN

EXHIBITION VISIT

ALEX EBSTEIN

FAD BODIES AT VICTORI + MO

MAY, 2017

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CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE TITLE OF THE SHOW FAD BODIES?

This exhibition was the first time I got to create a solo show specifically for a space. In coming up with the concept, I was thinking about the space being part gym, part jewelry store, and part gallery. I think the title “Fad Bodies” speaks to the nature of the way health and beauty products are marketed and aestheticized. It’s also where I pull some of my forms- a corporeal comedy in exercise or the idea of toning and perfecting the body, the title is tongue in cheek. This body of work started with the older white yoga mat pieces that I made in the past, they were more austere and somber. As I started using materials more in the form of painting and eventually installation, the pieces have become more sardonic and funny.

HAVE YOU EVER EXHIBITED ANY OF THIS WORK BEFORE? IF SO, HOW IS IT DIFFERENT HERE?

These pieces continue the series of yoga mat paintings that I’ve been making but here I was able to create a critical environment where they can speak to each other and to the space. I created a consistent body of work for this show, six larger works the same size, and a few smaller pieces. These pieces also have the aluminum foreground forms, which I had only ever incorporated into two pieces before. So this is the first time I got to utilize the powder-coated aluminum as a unifying aesthetic decision for this show. I think all of these decisions speak to how materials operate in a gym; aluminum or metal is usually approachable and colored or padded to minimize injury. The ballet bars on the wall allow the paintings to operate as people in a gym and the viewer to approach the space and the work in a different way than they’d be treated in a white cube.

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Tone and Fit, 2017,Hand-Cut PVC Yoga Mats, Acrylic, Powder-Coated Aluminum and Hardware on Wood Panel, 40 x 30 in

The two sculptures, the Yoni egg holders, grew out of observing the way the Internet was marketing health and beauty to me after my continued consumption of yoga mats for my work. The charcoal and Turmeric powders in both are meant to do things like whiten your teeth or purify your skin. I presented them as these precious items, mimicking the way health and beauty are stratified, and marketed to different economic brackets. Planet fitness versus elite day spas and private lessons. It was interesting to see assumptions the Internet was making about me based on the materials I buy for art. Completing this loop by using the marketed products in new work seemed an appropriate avenue for continuing to explore those aesthetics. Victori and Mo always present exhibitions with a unique install- so being offered a solo show was a really amazing opportunity and encouraged me to think differently about the way the pieces could feel more complete in the right environment.

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Exercise Humors, 2017,Hand-Cut PVC Yoga Mats, Acrylic, Powder Coated Aluminum and Hardware on Wood Panel, 40 x30
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Yoni Egg Holders

HOW DID YOU APPROACH DISPLAY AND ARRANGEMENT FOR THIS SHOW?

This is the first time I took my thumbnail drawings and put them into Photoshop and made exact scale renderings ahead of time. I really saw these large pieces as part mirror/part instruction. The forms are culled from paying attention to my own experiences at the gym and the inevitability of being on display in a social exercise environment. Then comparing that to the way people look at and interact with art. I really wanted the works to face each other to mimic a mirrored wall. The sculptures came last, originally thinking that they should be in the front of the gallery against the wall to mimic things you might buy at a yoga studio and have Fad Body t-shirts as if it were a gym name that people could be really proud of wearing. I still want to make tee shirts.

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WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM MOUNTING THIS EXHIBITION THAT YOU WILL APPLY TO FUTURE WORK?

Being able to design the whole space made me feel confident about the work. It helped to control the read of the pieces as part of a whole and establish the environment that they come from in my mind. The titles of my shows are consistently related to the body, but often the work is seen as “pretty” or “designy” and not explored for the conceptual interests in the materials or language of forms. I think I’ve made the best show that I could have made at the time; and that feeling is kind of a first. Exhibitions have come up quick after a studio visit, the works already in the studio being what is then shown with a few new pieces, this time I really got to push my practice. I intend to keep working in sculpture an installation, and that change feels good.

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WHAT OTHER PROJECTS OR EXHIBITIONS DO YOU HAVE COMING UP THAT YOU’D LIKE TO PROMOTE?

I have a group show called The Builders at Circuit 12 Contemporary in Dallas.  I also have a new, large piece in group exhibition called The Open Pass that I am making right now and will be sending out this week to California. It’s kind of a high-energy, fast-paced project, but a good way to keep up the momentum!

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Alex with her work

Fad Bodies runs until June 4 at Victori and Mo

56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206

Hours: Thurs-Sun, 1-6pm and by appointment

More info on Fad Bodies here