USER SUBMISSION – By: Wesley Stokes
The current exhibition, Object Play at Press Street’s Antenna Gallery and curated by Angela Driscoll and Yuka Petz is one of many print based shows up in the city right now in conjunction with the Southern Graphics Council International Conference. What sets apart this show from many is its consideration for print and book art as a viable medium to participate in theoretical dialogue. Bypassing the trappings of many print show’s maximalist approach, Object Play is minimal featuring the work of four artists showcasing the work respectfully, allowing the viewer to engage the pieces without being overwhelmed.
Los Angeles based artist, Christopher Michlig uses neon letter stickers to compose what would look like an eye chart for the nearly blind in his series, The Long Range (2011). Though what stands out (quite literally) in Michlig’s works are the bent metal sculptures with cut away letters mirroring the design of the sticker prints. Presented on the floor of the gallery, they casts shadows through the negative space as if to print the floor with light.
Vista Sans Wood Type Project (2011) is a large scale project started as a collaboration of the artists Tricia Treacy and Ashley John Pigford and has grown to include many individuals. The purpose of the project is to explore experimentation through traditional means of print and design with contemporary methods incorporating digital media and technology. Featured in this show are wooden letter blocks used for printing type which serve as beautiful in their own right as art objects.
The highlight is without a doubt the work of Philadelphia based artist, Katie Murken’s Continua (2011), whose near ceiling high stacked phone books cascade down the walls of Antenna and create three large colorful columns. The pages of all the books have been dyed and stacked in accordance to a system the artist created. However a degree of random chance exists in Murken’s design. To compensate she created a dice game to determine the variables. All of this is explored on the equally tasteful broadsides that accompany the phonebooks in the gallery. One can only imagine how proud Josef Albers would be of such a thoughtful management of color theory.