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Alex Lukas, Jen Kodis, Curtis Singmaster,
September 15 - October 22, 2011
Given the current job crisis at home and abroad, a heightened spotlight on work and the workplace appears inescapable. Drive-By's fall exhibition, Office, presents a selection of images and objects by Jen Kodis, Alex Lukas, Curtis Singmaster, Joe Zane, and Eric Zhou, that conveys the sometimes banal and dehumanizing reality of working in a cubicle.
Jen Kodis's black and white photographs observe the suburban workplace through the eye of a sociologist. While some of Kodis's works depict anonymous subjects as they go about their daily routines, others focus on the geometry of the architecture and carefully arranged landscaping. Orderliness, cleanliness, and productivity prevail in these manicured environments, though Kodis's insightful photographs also suggest isolation and alienation.
Alex Lukas screenprints images of rising floodwaters onto book illustrations of mid-century city scenes, in the process confronting the viewer with two differing ideologies. On one hand, the Mad Men-esque skyscrapers represent a romanticized vision of work in the metropolis. On the other the annihilation of these iconic buildings as they sink into the depths of Lukas's beautifully silk-screened waters tells a darker story of urban/ecomomic devastation and ruin.
Curtis Singmaster brings together the skill of a craftsman with the wit of a prankster. Employing old, labor-intensive techniques to amalgamate found materials, Singmaster constructs objects that are concurrently funny and smart. You Make Me Blue, a vertical piece with a blue office chair back perched atop a square pole of woven reed, rests on a small wheel. Leaning against the wall like a worker on coffee break, it seems to hover between settling in for a day of work and heading home for a nap.
Joe Zanes' Quotational Paintings are images of quotations from artists that he admires. Many of the passages that Zane has selected address the artist's perception of his/her goal or mission ("I'll talk. You'll listen.") When painted against roiling clouds and inspirationally illuminated skies, they read like s skewed versions of the motivational sayings that adorn office cubicles and desk products.
Eric Zhou's pristine white MacBook is haunting in it's absence of words and symbols. Presented in a white portfolio box, at first glance it seems only a clever, beautifully constructed object. But Zhou's piece is one in a series that asks us to explore the way we use communication media, and to imagine what might happen should those tools fail. Gradually, the piece takes on a more sinister meaning that forces us to examine our dependence on technology in the workplace and beyond.