Touching Color Through Fantasy, Oct 25 – Nov 30, 2003

Past: 55 Chrystie St

Installation view, Touching Color Through Fantasy, Canada, 2003

Press Release

For her second show at CANADA, Sarah Braman presents monumental sculptures constructed of colored plexi and painted cardboard, drawings in gouache, and a wall installation of colored tape and paint. Her work has heroically and foolhardily invested itself in the possibility of formal release through light, form and failure. Evoking both fantastic architecture and the time you accidentally tucked your skirt into your pantyhose, these works are heartfelt and resourceful. Her vision (which reveres tape walls- my half/your half, submarine boxes and pillow forts) is sustained through an ecstatically direct and immediate use of materials. The sweet, funny, and quiet evidence of a quotidian rushing (like a familiar stickiness to the kitchen table, a flash of joy for catching the smell of a child’s hair, or a few stolen seconds spent marveling at the color and the lights in the rearview mirror) may reflect her travel into and out of New York to rural Massachusettes where she is raising her two children.

Brian Belott shares Braman’s affinity for phantasmagoria. Stand in the middle of his studio and you will feel this coming at you from all sides. The floor and every available surface is covered with colored scraps of cut-up paper, magazines, posters, and children’s textbooks, sources and evidence of hundreds of hours worth of collaging. Competing for wall space, finished pieces hang from beams, stack in messy piles or fill pages of whole notebooks. Books and records lean in corners and an impossible number of found color snap-shots spill out of an old suitcase meant to contain them until they are sorted by themes (e.g. “Chicks, Cats, and Cakes”; “Talking on the Phone”) and arranged in albums. Surfacing from it all is the electric church organ, the computer, and the recording equipment that Belott uses to weave together sampled music and found sounds.

Evident in the work that Belott presents at CANADA is this same improv energy with its sense of imminent calamity, of daring and impromptu divining from or out of a dizzying sea of splendid technicolor flotsam and jetsam (he refers to this more conservatively as dowsing). But once you get your bearings, a careful look reveals a softer gesture, a collaborative, sentimental, humanistic side. Culling and vibing from another person’s abandoned records of personal history (an unwanted portrait, a tossed book, an ancient phone message) Belott’s work is, at core, an act of rescue. On view are paper collages of varying scale, cardboard answering machines playing manipulated messages, small wall-reliefs and found photo compilations.