Today and tomorrow will be your last chance to see “Dylan Palmer and Colby Bird: Ends and Means,” at the Robert V. Fullerton Museum of Art at the California State University, San Bernadino. The show, which includes sculpture, neon, photography, and glass, is accompanied by a printed pamphlet of nine essays by editors and curators such as Tina Oldknow, curator of modern glass a the Corning Museum of Glass, and Colby Chamberlain, managing editor at Cabinet Magazine. The show title is an apt reference to the Adlous Huxley book, Ends and Means (an Enquiry Into the Nature of Ideals and Into the Methods Employed for Their Realization).
Dylan Palmer’s work is series of seemly innocuous pieces which play with the viewer’s expectations of art, and usually surprises them in the process. Cinder Block and Plastic Cup (2009) proposes an absurd situation. Not only only it physically impossible for a cinder block to sit on a plastic cup, the piece is a commentary on the absurd nature of readymades as art. Upon closer inspection of the sculpture its revealed that the plastic cup is actually made of glass, while the cinder block is made of foam. The deceptive piece plays prompts the viewer to reconsider their visual perceptions as well as their assumption about art.
Another piece by Palmer that literally startles the viewer is Yeah (2010). The piece consisted of a rectangular box on the wall which has a dark reflective cover with a small hole in the bottom. As the viewer approaches it, they generally catch their reflection in the face of the box, but is only able to glance at themselves before POP! a sharp blast of confetti shoots out of a hole in the front of the box. Yeah (2010) catches the viewer in a narcissistic moment, altering them thatt they are looking at their own reflection, rather than the art itself.
While Palmer’s world revolves around materials, Colby Bird, Brooklyn based photographer and sculptor, uses images to approach conflicting space of the artist studio. Rab Glen (2010) is a 31 x 42 inch color photograph of the artist’s studio, which is messy with, tools, art supplies, plants, cigarette buts, old coffee cups a and used furniture in a corner. The title is a reference to a high end upholstery studio in Texas where, according to Bird, “undeniably beautiful and expert work is done there, unlike an artist’s studio.” In am email response to the hot sheet Bird explains the impetus for the show. “When we were planning the show we both agreed that we had a certain frustration with “craft” in our work, and that frustration came through for me particularly well in the stacked spin paintings. They are simple, crafty, beautiful little paintings, but I have always felt the need to not give them all away at once, visually. I have had them stacked or leaning, never letting them exist as normal paintings.”
Both Bird and Palmer’s work are and inquiry into the processes of production and consumption of art. The individual bodies of work have a pointed dialogue with each other, and while some pieces are tongue in cheek, none is a one-liner. The Fullerton Museum of Art has become a destination for challenging exhibitions including Katherine Gray’s, “Here Comes That Sinking Feeling”‘ (2007) which included submerged venetian goblets, and glass kinetic sculpture, and well as Suzanne Peck’s, “Head Above Water” (2010) which included cast glass bags of water alongside blown glass, video and photography.
IF YOU GO
“Dylan Palmer & Colby Bird: Ends and Means”
February 20th – May 13th, 2010
Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino CA 92407
Telephone: (909) 537-7373