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The New Sincerity

September 7 – November 2, 2013

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 7, 2013

Artist Talk: 7 pm


Lora Reynolds is pleased to announce The New Sincerity, a group exhibition of work by Florian Baudrexel, Colby Bird, Rosy Keyser, Roy McMakin, Julia Rommel, and Fabrice Samyn. The show includes painting, sculpture, drawing, and photography.

The ethos of the present moment: is it defined by irony? Sincerity? Young, highly educated, trendy people don conspicuous mustaches or trucker hats, pursue esoteric hobbies like taxidermy or raising pigs for artisanal bacon, and eschew everything mainstream: appropriating and recontextualizing low culture in pursuit of erudite individuality. Advertisements self-deprecatingly acknowledge themselves as ads, beckon viewers to laugh at the futility of the medium, and at the same time rake in revenue. But the six artists in The New Sincerity provide a foundation for a more nuanced reading of the current cultural temperature.

Their work—and the most forward-thinking output of any art form right now, including that of the late writer David Foster Wallace, filmmaker Wes Anderson, and rapper Lil B—often assumes tones of both irony and sincerity in the same breath. Irony is used as a rhetorical device beyond just a self-defensive façade of hip ennui and detachment. Sincerity and sentimentality, however—long held by high art as unforgivable sins of self-absorbed naïveté—have newfound potential for serving the exploration of vulnerability, interpersonal connection, loneliness, and what it means to be human, courageous, compassionate, and true.

Roy McMakin creates domestic objects and spaces: furniture, buildings, and household curios that blur the lines between sculpture, architecture, and industrial design. McMakin says when he was a child his parents were often emotionally unavailable. For comfort and companionship, he relied on objects in his home. Chairs, tables, chests of drawers, juice glasses, and vases can all be anthropomorphized to become placeholders for people with whom to have intimate relationships. Today, when McMakin designs/fabricates or finds/modifies furniture or other objects, he hopes to imbue it with (or discover and release) an emotional and associative existence similar to what the objects from his childhood revealed to him.

Florian Baudrexel's large cardboard wall-sculptures often appear to be informed by the artistic movement of Futurism. These modernist shapes (and the promises of a dazzling future they once carried) take on an ironic bent when Baudrexel renders them in so fragile and ubiquitous a material as cardboard.

Julia Rommel's monochrome paintings are the result of painting a stretched canvas, un-stretching it, re-stretching it over a different-sized frame, repainting it, re-stretching it, ad (near) infinitum. Rommel fastidiously bestows her deceptively minimal paintings with subtle individuality. Furthermore, the titles of her pieces (e.g., Lazy Bones, Tofu Blackout, Spaghetti in Bed (Roy)) often border on the absurd but usually seem to carry autobiographical, nostalgic secrets.

Each artist in The New Sincerity is engaged with a unique set of conceptual and technical pursuits: Fabrice Samyn is seeking spiritual transcendence; Rosy Keyser is freezing the decay of detritus by turning it into art material; Colby Bird is dealing with guilt about the fuzzy boundary between an artist's work and leisure. The work is united, however, by a simultaneous warmth and coldness, wisdom and naïveté, or hope and melancholia. It speaks of fragility.

These nebulous ideas are located somewhere between the artist's intent, the viewer's interpretation, and the tenor of contemporary culture. The New Sincerity is a diaphanous survey of artists who fight the grain and cut their own path in the now by prizing plain old human troubles and emotions above all else.