Coke O'Neal's 'The Box (Texas)' and Lee Stoetzel's 'Big Fall'
Presented by Mixed Greens Gallery
April 23, 2009- May 23, 2009
Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce The Box (Texas), Coke Wisdom O’Neal’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. In a continuation of his Box Series, begun in New York City in 2005, O’Neal and his turn-of-the-century camera traveled to the rural border town of San Isidro, Texas, to document its denizens inside a colossal 22-foot-tall sculpture. The result is a photographic study in identity and identiﬁcation.
In the isolation of South Texas, O’Neal collaborated with the San Isidro community to build and activate his large-scale specimen box. They constructed the sculpture on a ranch and then moved it to the local school grounds, where O’Neal fostered an immersive and interactive art experience. O’Neal taught photography to students and invited local residents to be photographed. Later, the Box returned to the ranch, where workers and livestock were invited in.
Ultimately, O’Neal’s Box exists as a sculpture (combining Claes Oldenburg’s scale and Donald Judd’s form to absurd effect), a performance, and a series of photographs. O’Neal uses the Box as a framing device—a blank canvas that obliterates geographic location, leaving the viewer to carefully observe light, pose, expression, and attire to envision a narrative. Together, the subjects’ vignettes uniquely represent their community, without direction or digital manipulation by the artist. O’Neal has set the stage and invited San Isidro to join him.
O’Neal plans to continue his Box Series nationally and internationally.
Coke Wisdom O’Neal is a New York City based artist whose work has been exhibited in numerous venues throughout the country including Cuchifritos, New York City (2008), Northern Illinois University Art Museum, DeKalb, IL (2007), Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY (2006), The Arizona Museum of Fine Arts (2003), The Furman Gallery at Lincoln Center, New York City (2002), and White Columns, New York City (2001). His solo exhibitions include Mixed Greens, New York City (2003, 2005, 2007), Finesilver Gallery, Houston, TX (2006), Evo Gallery, Santa Fe, NM (2005), and Aaron Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL (2004).
Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce Big Fall, Lee Stoetzel’s fourth solo show with the gallery. All of the sculptural works are instantly recognizable icons rendered in wood.
For nearly a decade, Stoetzel has reworked memorable icons— like the VW bus and the “Captain America” chopper from Easy Rider—out of Pecky cypress, a naturally degraded wood from his home state of Florida. Each piece was created at a scale of 1:1. As the viewer investigated the craftsmanship, the familiar object was transformed and rediscovered.
In this show, Stoetzel increases his range of materials to include fractured mesquite, veneer, and spalted maple (where the naturally occurring lines in the wood appear to be graphite drawings). He broadens his range of subjects to include McDonald’s food, a Chuck Close catalog, a single-speed bicycle, and a system of gutters and leaves. The scale of each piece is warped often to ‘Oldenburgian’ proportions. For example, Stoetzel’s forty-eight-inch French fry sculpture, Hard Fries, becomes a conceptually fitting counterpart to Oldenburg’s Soft Hamburger from 1962.
Big Fall derives its title from Stoetzel’s largest installation to date—a winding lattice of oversized veneer gutters wrapping around the gallery, spilling oversized leaves onto the floor. Big Fall also refers to the failure and re-imagining of cultural emblems. Each of Stoetzel’s iconic subjects is purposefully built with harshly formed, degraded wood so that the pieces look fossil-like and frozen in time—tired and nostalgic, yet instantly recognizable. The power of the natural materials calls attention to the temporary predicament of the manmade, while the iconic nature of each piece fights to remain vital.
Lee Stoetzel lives and works in Chester Springs, PA. His solo exhibitions include Mixed Greens (2004, 2005, 2007), the Philadelphia International Airport (2008), and Tricia Collins Contemporary Art, New York City (1996-1999). His work is currently traveling in “Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes” which originated at the Walker Arts Center and then traveled to the Carnegie Museum and the Yale School of Architecture. He was an integral part the Katonah Museum show “I Love The ‘Burbs” (2006) and the Islip Museum’s “Design for Living” (2005). Other group exhibition venues include the Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA (2007, 2008, 2009); Jessica Murray Projects, Brooklyn (2002); Meadows Museum, Dallas, TX (2000); Michigan Contemporary Art Center (2000); and Stalke Galleri, Copenhagen, Denmark (1999).
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