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With their elusive relationship to meaning, Jeremy Everett’s array of vaporous canvases and manipulated objects at Wilding Cran Gallery strike a curious resonance with the show’s title, Tacocat—a word whose meme-ready, palindromic form has given it cultural purchase in recent years (a band, a brewery, and a card game marketed to millennials have all utilized it). Tacocat, the exhibition, tasks viewers with the decryption of its contents, even if the task feels somewhat impossible. The absurd title itself suggests a refusal to pin things down. Yet the show’s sense of irreverence is tempered by a sometimes minimal and ethereal quality that celebrates materiality. Whatever meaning may be encoded in the work, the exhibition invites numerous moments of revelry in all of its textures and surfaces.
The three large photographs on view perhaps offer a roadmap for reading the show’s idiosyncratic collection of material and form. One of these, This/Is/That (2017), which resembles a washed out or even sunbleached photograph of empty blue sky, has been partially crumpled and pressed against the glass of its frame. Another, Pyramid (2021), captures a ’90s sedan covered with trophies and plaques—a mobile grotto that is unlikely to run. The scenes in these photographs make the effect of material accumulation feel both additive and reductive, providing a possible conceptual link to the other process-oriented canvases—especially the third photograph, Pink Headlight (2021), which depicts light passing through smoke, capturing the flare process Everett uses to create his canvases.
This volatile yet airy collision of material gives his paintings a raw beauty. Utilizing pigmented flares, the aleatory application results in a natural intensity that disregards the preciousness of the material surface. Canvas is left slack, and ghosts of the cross braces creep through splashes of extreme saturation: blue and red pigments coalesce into deep, cosmic purples. Fullness and emptiness become indistinguishable here, and this indeterminacy bleeds into the sculptures arranged across the gallery. As objects that have been subjected to some kind of blunt action, Everett’s sculptures have a similar immediacy. In the middle of the gallery, a stout palm tree rises from a wheeled suitcase; in one corner, a couch has been chainsawed into a three-piece “sectional.” In List Lust (2022), Everett has glued an entire modernist table to what would have been a vaporous, salmon-hued canvas—the legs jutting out into the gallery space—in an iconoclastic gesture in which the ephemeral butts up against blunt commercialism. This work, certainly a collision of material and sensibility, could also be an exercise in extremes.
Stamping this body of work with the absurd title Tacocat could provide a similar extreme function in that, however absurd it is at its core, the term itself has been slathered with meaning by virtue of its own endurance. It’s one of those memes that seem to never go away, periodically reappearing in altered form and in new contexts. The word is the same, but its history of use has earned it layers of virtual patina and digital dust that has collected and intensified through occasional flare-ups in popular consciousness. Everett takes this chunk of accreted material and slaps it onto an unlikely substrate. What at first appears to be an irreverent refusal to present work of a singular voice may simply be an objective use of material that extends across forms and sources. Much like the way human presence has been committed to both the geological and digital record, the equation presented by Tacocat invites us to reflect on the role of accumulation in all spheres, both physical and virtual, and how the two may reconcile.
Jeremy Everett: Tacocat runs from January 22–March 12, 2022 at Wilding Cran Gallery (1700 S. Santa Fe Ave., Unit 460, Los Angeles, CA 90021).