NEW YORK.- Marking a ground breaking development in Post Pop Art, Young British Artist Stuart Semple launches his much awaited first New York solo show exploring the disintegration of mass culture at Anna Kustera gallery.
Trailblazer of a new generation of British Artists, Stuart Semple has earned raving reviews and top sale prices at recent exhibits and biennales in Europe, Asia, South America and the United States, a great distinction for an artist not yet 30. Ever the barometer of popular culture, Stuarts new show Everlasting Nothing Less charts the rise and fall of the reproduced image and human created spectacle. Defined in the words of Art Forums critic Adam Ganderson as The offspring of Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, as styled for MTV Stuart Semple carries Pop Arts legacy towards a new, critically relevant and provocative level.
In Everlasting Nothing Less he adds a deeper, darker, and intriguingly beautiful dimension. Undercutting the Pop art elevation of reality to immortal status these new works, including several large-scale drawings, installations and paintings, draw on the Second Law of Thermodynamics in which everything must necessarily return to equilibrium. As such the stellar rise of over-night celebrities, the dizzying proliferation of icons of popular culture and the mechanisms for recording and transmitting them result in decay and ultimately destruction.
Second Law of Thermodynamics: the entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium. Sadi Carnot.
This powerful series of works exposes the viewer to shards of the pop culture that we invest in daily as reality. The central image of the show is the fallen star, the archetype of submission and dominance. The fragmentation and distortion of the images, reproduced and manipulated, point to their inherent instability so taking the viewer on a visual journey to regain their independence. With the hard reality of a recession emphasising the entropic nature of economic systems this show is a fascinating expression of the zeitgeist.
Semples painstaking attention to detail in his meticulous hand painting of what at first appear to be machine reproduced silkscreen halftones, not only alludes to mechanization in early examples of pop art but clearly display his preoccupation with retrieving items from mass culture in order to re-humanise them.
Semple explains: They pretend to be screen prints, just as screen prints pretended to be photos, and photos pretended to be life. For me that whole thing creates items that people invest belief in as if they were real but in fact arent a true reflection of reality; they never will be! They are constructs, and the logical thing to do is to make another construct that shows the failing in the previous ones.
Semples compositions tell stories. They all have an idea of a failed moment or the collapse of a particular situation, he says. They occupy a place where the tragedy has happened, where atomization and individualism have reached a peak and the individual is literally stranded. Pop is very clever at presenting a myth of the immortal, but the 2nd law of thermodynamics clearly acts like a predictable clock, measuring the passage of time until everything equates.
Critic Stefano Castelli comments: Semples ambiguity allows spectators to decide whether what they are seeing is celebrative or critical of mass culture. What is certain is that you can easily get lost in his many worlds.