Walking in to Kathryn Andrews' solo exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery is like walking in to a world of chrome. Six pieces are present in the room, all of them almost completely covered in the reflective metal coating. The parts that are not chrome seem to be what clue us in on what the artwork is trying to say. While merging pop art and minimalism in technique, the content of the work seems to focus on time. This is apparent in the title (dead on arrival, dare of birth), but seems a bit less clear in the works themselves which make life and death a much stronger theme. The show consists of three floor sculptures and three wall pieces which are connected not only by material and content, but by form as well.
Two of the pieces include large chrome cylinders that would make any finish-fetish artist proud. These pieces go beyond the minimalist aesthetic however, and they invite the viewer to participate in some way. Lethal Weapon has a hole cut out into the cylinder that people can peer into. What they will see inside is a gun, barely visible in the dark, pointed right at them. Clearly making a comment on death, the fleetingness of life, and what was that saying about curiosity and cats? The description of the piece mentions that the gun is a prop from the film Lethal Weapon, which further cements the artist's fusion of minimalism and pop art. Some may find it bizarre or even outrageous that an artwork would require the viewer to read about the piece in order to completely understand it. In this case it is very fitting because the piece is so interactive. Simply standing back and viewing the piece from afar will not give the viewer the true experience. The piece asks the visitor to put a little effort, which really isn't a bad thing.
The other cylindrical piece is equally interactive. At first glance we have the tall tube with what appears to be a floating arrangement of fruit on top. Next to the tube is a ladder for people to climb, which will let them peer inside and see a woman standing there with the fruit headdress and fruit painted on her body as well. Again we can relate to passage of time and life, however the artist also is getting into art itself with the Still Life (Woman With Fruit). This performance/installation/sculpture is the artist's take on the long tradition of still life and nude painting in art. It also provides an interesting dynamic with the chrome. We have the nature and life represented by the fruit and the woman while the stainless steel represents the man-made objects of our world.
Three wall-mounted sculptures all shaped like windows and each with a clown sticker are also included in the show. The description says that each clown represents a different season and together symbolize the passage of time, but my eyes catch the vegetables surrounding what I'm guessing is the Fall/harvest time clown and is difficult to relate it to anything besides the fruit of the previous piece. Another connection can be found with the birthday card found on the chrome bed in the gallery. Time, age, clowns, birthday parties, chrome. It all comes together in this space that Andrews has created.
D.O.A. | D.O.B. is on view until February 2, 2013
Words and images by Noé Gaytán