First Friday Art Trail: June

Jordan Vinyard’s exhibition of sculpture at 5&J Gallery, “Artifice and Intimacy”, is pleasantly devoid of accompanying literature. There is nothing but the work and small labels indicating titles to engage the viewer. The action of the work is (to its credit) its only defense. All are kinetic sculptures of electronically actuated medical equipment and human-tissue-emulating membranes.

Jordan Vinyard: Artifice and Intimacy

CASP 5&J Gallery (Photo: Vincent Meyers)

Each contains a clever, reference-rich, seemingly satirical combination of the medical and visceral (fleshly), animating via microcontrollers and small DC motors all the rubber tubing, polyethylene, stainless steel, and glass vials characteristic of medical care and research in a way that suggests a combination of viscera and sterile device.

Jordan Vinyard: Artifice and Intimacy, "Fuzzy Logic"

CASP 5&J Gallery (Photo: Vincent Meyers)

In Fuzzy Logic, motors inflate and deflate air pockets in joined strips of prosthetic silicone, on top of which sits adhered brushes meant to look like hair. The undulating motion of segments of hair on flesh, with the associated plugging and preening by actual humans on their various patches of hair, merges comically with the random, lurching motion of the motors. In Hyalus, Latin for “glass”, an array of lab beakers filled with floating, separated organic matter of unspecified origin continues Vinyard’s mode of creating a monstrous, pointless, garish, and tightly focused view of a specific interaction of machine with tissue to remind and distance the viewer from the same type of interaction in ‘real’ life.

Jordan Vinyard: Artifice and Intimacy, "Hyalus"

CASP 5&J Gallery (Photo: Vincent Meyers)

Vinyard induces observation of the complicated relationships that result from the ethical, social, and scientific considerations of the medical industry and practice largely through amusement—an impressive accomplishment. Without heavy-handed portrayals of total death and total sterility (looking at you, Damien Hirst), Vinyard points out the now-commonplace intimacy between science and human vital function that would have looked bizarrely unnatural before the 20th century.

Brandi Read: Unset in Stone, LHUCA Lott Gallery (Photo: Ashley Webb)

Michigan artist Brandi Read’s work is presented at the LHUCA in the solo exhibition “Unset in Stone”. It presents paintings from images (directly from first-page Google Images results, in many cases) of female figures from Greek and neo-classical sculpture. Each painting portrays a painting of a sculpture with similarly styled images of flowers.

Brandi Read: Unset in Stone, LHUCA Lott Gallery (Photo: Vincent Meyers)

Seeming to aspire to commentary on gender identity and role, they stylize, but otherwise neglect visual modification of the plain sculpture photographs in painting save for the added compositional element of flowers. A body of paintings of female characters, known and unknown, from Greek history and mythology painted alongside flowers purports a feminist message, suggesting the myriad issues of cultural and historical baggage associated with the portrayal of the passion, suffering, and tangentially suggested oppression of women throughout our history since the Greek golden age. It fails, however, to state or imply anything of its own. The history of feminism is rich and widely ranging, and the history of women is the history of humankind itself, but these paintings do no more than evoke portions of that history without adding to it.

Brandi Read: Unset in Stone, LHUCA Lott Gallery (Photo: Vincent Meyers)

*Artifice and Intimacy will run through June 22nd, on view by appointment.

* Unset in Stone will run through June 25th, during LHUCA's regular business hours.

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