In keeping with the spirit of outsider art, the work of Judith Supine is at once sacred and profane while undeniably obsessive in nature. Procuring discarded books and sleazy magazines, Supine reassembles his spoils into thought provoking collage. With each dissection of the exacto-knife and dollop of glue, he challenges our values and conditioning within contemporary society through the heightened surreal imagery created with ordinary materials. "Thanks for Nothing" introduces new materials into Supine's creative arsenal. Lottery tickets and Newport cigarette boxes offer miniature canvases --a complete 360 from previous shows designed with floor to ceiling installations. It's evident that Supine's use of materials on a smaller scale allowed him to hone in on his intricate cutting and folding practices. His line work is reminiscent of Durer's etchings in pieces like "Push My Nipples Like Doorbells" and "Jesus is My Pacifier". "Holiday" and "I Could Have Been a Firefighter" brings notions of Miro with their bold hues and flowing lines.
Though Supine's technique is beautifully impeccable, the underlying message of his chosen canvas is what's deeply fascinating. The ritual of the lottery promises everything and delivers nothing. Smoking Newports gives one a temporary relief, but brings a lifetime of addiction along with chronic health issues. The fact that both of these vices are marketed to low income groups is not lost. By juxtaposing images of Christ imbedded in a cigarette box or Mary submerged in whiskey on top of a lotto scratcher, we're left wondering to who or what are we worshiping.
The intricate pieces are rounded out with six large scale works that Supine is recognized for. Referencing a lotto collage, each painting comprised of his tradition materials of carved paper and acrylic neons, is conveyed larger than life through scale. It's remarkable how Judith Supine is able to transform the mundane into something utterly fresh, original, and most of all provocative. "Thanks for Nothing" escorts us where Modernism left off, which is to say the appropriation of found objects. And Judith Supine is a postmodern force to be reckoned with.
Curated by Naheed Simjee, "Thanks for Nothing" runs until September 28th at Known Gallery.