artist / participant
Taxter & Spengemann, located on the parlor floor of a repurposed brownstone, is an ideal setting for this exhibition of three sculptures by Los Angeles based artist Matt Johnson. With the addition of Johnson's works, the gallery echoes a strange conservatory where his skill and showmanship continue the casual alchemy of his exploration into issues of scale, materials and perception.
For The Pianist (after Robert J. Lang ), Johnson followed an intricate origami pattern for a grand piano with seated player, that calls for 87 steps with each one requiring multiple folds. Just as a good cover song expands upon and reinvigorates the original, the artist re-imagines Lang's paper pattern with a steel-supported blue tarp, blowing up the diminutive object to life size.
The Pianist is accompanied by Old Globe , an ancient-looking stone carving depicting Pangaea. Here Johnson pays homage to the greatest of all shape-shifting feats: the movement of the Earth's plates to create the continents. Old Globe acts as a fossil--a map of the World according to the earliest of early man. The sculpture's historic impossibility lends an air of surreal humor while retaining the gravitas of artifact.
Domestic in feeling, but complicated with showmanship of a different sort, is Parlor Trick , a tabletop balancing act involving two forks, two toothpicks and a salt shaker. This piece, seemingly made by a restless diner waiting on the check, invokes Calder's elegantly playful mobiles.
Matt Johnson graduated in 2003 with an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles. This is his second solo exhibition with Taxter & Spengemann after his March 2004 debut. He has been included in numerous group shows, most recently as part of Thing at the Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Uncertain States of America, at the Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Art in Oslo. In the future he will have his first solo exhibition with Blum & Poe in Los Angeles.
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