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Friends a bit deeper in the art world than myself have warned of the “summer group show.” As a lover of a good mix, I’m not entirely bothered by the lazy cataloguing implied as much as the looming possibility of incoherence and a crowded art house. Despite its press release (written by the show’s co-curator, Vanessa Place) that reads like a Mad Lib, Various Small Fires (VSF) should perhaps be commended for putting together The Slick & the Sticky, a show respectful of at least a few conversational principles. Namely, issues of privacy, both bodily and technological, and the animatronic echoing of the body within the electronic sphere. Dora Budor literalizes the aforementioned in her piece The Architect, Loss at the Surface 2, which includes materials that illustrate the fragility of flesh underneath a network of metal piping.
While the show contains moments of clarity, there are rude interruptions. Sean Kennedy’s IKEA tables that show their backsides might be better suited to a yard sale. Stephanie Taylor and Jacob Kassay’s small outdoor works suffer from the vast, maximalist distance of VSF’s scorched-earth backyard. Indoors, Park McArthur wins “Most Conceptual” with a framed Gmail.
Elsewhere, relationships between works presented are partial and fleeting. Andrea Longacre-White’s vinyl, gestural and literal wall texts (particularly Body Drag, 2015) are made machine in Antoine Catala’s loping disrespect for personal space. His piece, >(III)< (2014), is a sculpture moving with a depressed teenager’s gait. Longacre-White and Jeff Zilm wield the keys to the exhibition’s themes of privacy and body in their spare text-based works which collapse concept into experience (Longacre-White) and criminal eavesdropping into something like a horizon line (Zilm’s Untitled (Passwords), 2015).
The Slick & the Sticky runs June 25–August 8, 2015 at Various Small Fires (812 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038)