Scott Lenhardt 2006
Presented by Taxter & Spengemann
June 29, 2006- July 28, 2006
Taxter & Spengemann, Scott Lenhardt ruminates on these kinds of moments, their beginnings, and legacies.
The Michael Jordan of Paintings (all works 2006), respectfully renders in photo-realistic detail the split second before Michael Jordan's historic jam to clinch his title as 1988 Slam Dunk Champion. The basketball star's superhuman flight from the free-throw line forever changed the way basketball was played, watched, and marketed. Lenhardt's reproduction captures not only Jordan but the assembled crowd whose jaws are all dropped and eyes opened wide seemingly staring at an ascendant God rather than a mortal.
A smaller painting titled Colors is a white and wispy scene of a snow leopard in the moment of the kill. Lenhardt seems to be attracted both to the prowess of the animal as well as the challenge posed to him to accurately execute the animal's postures; however, the gorey subject executed in a Sunday-painter fashion is unabashedly ironic. Won't You mimics Impressionism, the most marketable and palatable of all artistic modes. This painting recalls the movement's once revolutionary power as well as makes plain its cutesy position within the history of Modern Art.
Gravedigger , a life-sized, fiberglass sculpture of a horse, completes the exhibition. Painted on the body of the horse is a starkly silhouetted winter landscape that erupts in a phantasm of airbrushed aurora borealis . The night lights coil and writhe around leafless trees and tombstones to form a smoky skull at the horse's eye. Lacquered with multiple layers of clearcoat car paint (his father owns an auto body shop), the sculpture draws connections between Lenhardt's contemporary art practice in New York and his involvement with the local art and commerce of his native Vermont. Gravedigger is a recapitulation of an earlier piece made for a public art competition. Similar to the giant painted apples plopped around Manhattan with a plaque designating the artist of each, Lenhardt's 'horse' was one of many placed around his hometown of Rupert. The artist won the contest, and was photographed at the award ceremony with an over-sized check for $1,000.00. Gravedigger represents the artist's experience of technique garnering success, and shows his aptitude for employing the seductiveness of supposedly lower art forms towards more lofty ends.
Scott Lenhardt's first solo show was at Taxter & Spengemann in February 2004. He earned a BFA from the Maine College of Art, Portland, ME in 1999. He has been included in numerous group shows in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, and has been playing bass guitar for Miguel Mendez whose last album cover he created. with a t-shirt, Sculpey, Christmas lights, wood, and acrylic paint.
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