Thursday, November 28, 2013

Conor Backman, Diorama @ Mixed Greens

I really like Conor Backman. His book of 501 tumblr pages with his painting on it or his exhibition as an IKEA catalog was brilliant, even his last show in Baltimore at Nudashank with the installation of grape-drink cans, which felt like an investigation of cultural objects with a little edge, it felt like the joke might just be on the viewer. There was a punk rockness to it. The show at Mixed Green was good, and I recommended it to a bunch of people, but the show comes off more like contemporary tromope lóeil than a dude pranking the viewer. I want the work to hit me in the gut more than impress me with the artist’s ability to reproduce junk mail by hand or making a realistic oil painting of a watercolor palette. Skill is a lot less compelling than emotion. At Nudashank, there was work like a shower curtain assemblage that just didn’t work and fell completely flat, but it added an air that the work was in the process of being figured out, not just by the viewer but by the artist giving the show an energy and a life that seems to be a lot more taped down an organized at Mixed Greens where the work is organized around contemporary tromope lóeil, which is the dullest common denominator in the work.

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