project space by Barry McGee
From March 17th to April 29th 2006
It is a great pleasure for Galleri Nicolai Wallner to present an
exhibition with the two San Francisco-based artists Clare Rojas
and Barry McGee.
In her works Clare Rojas - whose artistic talent embraces painting,
performing and playing music - mixes inspiration from Peruvian and
American folk art, creating a unique and personal expression. Rojas'
eclecticism includes a fascination with old patterns and traditional
crafts, especially patchwork and quilting, but this na•ve nostalgia
is contrasted by the obvious connection with contemporary youth
Rojas' carefully detailed paintings reveal obscure relations between
men and women and between humans and animals, as in "Bear Mama"
(2006) where three indefinable animals attack a woman, whose surprising
reaction is a calm smile. Rojas invites us into a strange imaginary
world, where surreal and deserted landscapes function as stage for
actions that at first sight look peaceful, but on closer inspection
seems disquieting - or even threatening.
Rojas is examining and complicating the traditional understanding
of sexual roles, for instance painting a woman who holds a small
man in her hand. Besides having very feminine gestures the man assumes
a pose normally assumed by women in fashion magazines.
Barry McGee, who is one of the foremost figures of the graffiti
subculture, is inspired by urbanity. McGee's unique visual language
balances between raw street aesthetics and poetic narrative, and
he is preoccupied with drawing attention to the absurdities of daily
The project "We have a friend in common" consists of four
works; a wall covered with vibrantly coloured wood panels featuring
a variety of homegrown op-art patterns, a massive cluster of framed
photographs and paintings, and two mechanical works.
In addition to the exhibited paintings and sculptures McGee has
written "Smash the system" on the gallery walls with red
paint. The text prints a physical trace of the artist's actual presence
on the white walls of the gallery space. At the end of the sentence
a small mechanical sculpture seems to be the one who wrote it all
- it becomes a miniature stand-in for the artist.
Clare Rojas has had several exhibitions at galleries and museums,
including Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Lizabeth Oliveria
Gallery (Los Angeles), Deitch Projects (New York) and Modern Art
Inc. (London), and has produced four folk albums under the artist
name Peggy Honeywell.
Barry McGee has had solo shows at UCLA Hammer Museum (Los Angeles),
Modern Art Inc. (London) and Deitch Projects (New York). Both artists
participated in the traveling group exhibition "Beautiful Losers"
We are happy to welcome you in the gallery.
With kind regards,
Galleri Nicolai Wallner