You're invited to participate in Combined Effort, an exhibition/ auction benefiting the American Civil Liberties Union.Read More
On the occasion of Matthew Usinowicz's solo show "Foul Ball!" at Monte Vista Projects, LA based writer Michael J. Breen asked the artist a few questions about the show, his larger practice and their shared love for America's pastime. Turns out it's a funny business.
Michael J Breen: So Matthew, what inspired this show?
Matt Usinowicz: Initially my motivations were to do a series of work based on my love for, and fascination with baseball from a fan’s perspective. I did not intend to have any philosophical or political agenda – just to have fun with it. The less academic, the better. However I knew if I started to hit some conceptual roadblocks through the process of making, there is so much baseball offers to mine from.
MJB: I love the metaphor of baseball -- once the purest and dramatic of sports -- most recently tarnished by PEDS and prior to -- gambling -- talk about that in regards to today's political landscape....
MU: Parallels (or by coincidence, or however), baseball mirrors the political landscape. Like all professional sports, baseball is a business, big business. The owners, commissioner office, and advertising agencies that are contracted by large corporations, the people running these institutions – are, for the most part (and just my speculation, not necessarily fact) extremely wealthy, white, males. The demographics amongst players are nearly parallel to that of the United States. 60-something percent White, 20-something percent Latino, ~10% Black, ~10% Asian. Broadly speaking, in play, baseball is a long process with usually minimal escalation. However, once you start to pay more attention to the game, you can go as deep as you want. Investigate the velocity and spin on a pitcher’s curve ball. The tendencies this pitcher decides to throw that curve ball. At what pitch count? How many on base? Lefty or righty? Politics can be the same, and to many people, the stat game is the best part. You can choose your own navigation through the game. To some the rally, speeches, propaganda, and political theater is the more interesting – politics alike.
You can go to a baseball game, without knowing anything, buy a large cold beer, peanuts, hot dog, and sit in your seat with sunglasses on and just watch. Feel the breeze or lack of, listen to the chatter, meet a new friend or foe. Care or not, it is a platform that brings people together where ideas are shared and/or (usually) debated. People are full of opinions and full of shit.
I guess in short, baseball is America/n. It’s a civilized debate or a fistfight in the parking lot. Depends on how you carry it.
MJB: Bad Hot Dog is a wonderful piece/the playfulness and humor really resonates -- what dictates the tone of your shows? And is there ever a time in the process where you have said "well this is a serious subject matter, maybe I go another direction with it?"
MU: Thank you – I love this piece too.
I think humor is a necessity for making work regardless of the seriousness of the subject. In my family humor, sarcasm, or cynicism – or all – are ways of dealing with life in all its tragedy and triumph. We (I) try not to take things so seriously. Life is complicated but really simple. I believe everything has been done before – everything. We all relive, under different circumstances and subtleties, the same shit decades before. Whether it’s my genetics, roots in North New Jersey, my time in the military, raised in a standard divorced family in the 90’s…I don’t know exactly why, but humor is the underlying truth in life. It is perhaps the realest thing, besides love, in life.
The two hot dog pieces in my show exemplify this dichotomy, life balance of humor and austerity.
My process begins with an object that describes the overall concept of my projects. Baseball = hot dogs. I begin by formally breaking down that object in a matter of texture, scale, taste, smell, etc. I break down these formalities and either abstract or purposely exploit. For instance: the hot dog itself is made of foam and the nylon straps squeeze it against the wooden ‘bun’ to show its physical being – makes me think of biting into a hot dog. The nylon straps, appropriately colored mustard and ketchup, hold the entire piece together – the condiment = the compliment. The ‘bun’ is abstracted. Instead of going soft like a real bun, the structure of the bun is more important to me and creating a custom structure was important and necessary visual to create tension yet a relationship. The bun is the vehicle that delivers the hot dog, it supports the hot dog.
Bad Hot Dog is the negative to Hot Dog. Simply changing the color palette but staying close enough to each other.
MJB: Who and what influences you -- today and from yesteryear?
MU: Music. Cooking. Living a life outside of art.
MJB: What's next, Matthew?
MU: Cleaning my studio, applying to residencies, submitting new proposals, collaborating with Matt Allison.
To see more of Matthew's work click here
To shop his editions click here
For more Michael J. Breen stay tuned...
Upon entering Hybrid Moments at OMAS, one accepts the striking balance between Matthew Usinowicz and Matt Allison’s work through the vibrant color of seemingly recognizable synthetic objects. There’s a harmony in place between the two artists’ sculptures: they’re interspersed, hung at arms length from one another at curious heights, and the colors and textures relate as if chosen for the exhibition by an outside curator. But the pairing came from a collaborative long distance friendship between the artists. Their friendship and collaboration grew simultaneously from seeds planted at their MFA program at UCSB and grew through conversations about life… outside of art… relationships with co-workers and partners, counter culture, past jobs in restaurants and butcher shops, baseball and skateboarding, east and west coast hometowns, and often food. Really, the conversation between the fabricated works by Matthew Usinowicz and found object work by Matt Allison is derived from these conversations and manifested concisely through their “zine.”
“Hybrid Moments” is a limited edition of 30 artist’s prints by Matthew Usinowicz and Matt Allison in a form referencing a 7 inch vinyl record in its sleeve. Side A and B are interchangeable pieces by the artists that reflect their counter cultural interests and exceptional color sensitivity. They are available through the show’s run at OMAS in Sawtelle, Los Angeles. After December 17th, contact us at Sea Farm City for pricing and availability.
OPEN MIND ART SPACE11631 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 424.273.5088 hours: Tuesday-Saturday 1pm-7pm (or by appointment)
Hybrid Moments Works by Matt Allison and Matthew Usinowicz November 5, 2016 Through December 17, 2016
Shop for more Matt Allison and Matt Usinowicz work here
Our good friend and Sea Farm City artist Matthew Usinowicz has been in Melbourne, Australia for the last few weeks as part of his exhibition "The Block Is Hot" at Seventh Gallery. "The Block Is Hot" explores the form of the campaign button as a way to comment on the unprecedented stakes of this year's presidential election. Typical of Usinowicz, the work he's created uses the intersection of social classism, music, and human accumulation to critique power-hungry and privileged politicians on both sides of the aisle. From his show statement:
We are (I am) currently living in a violent and divided country, it seems we are very close to complete chaos – about to boil over. There is a fire burning, politically, socially, and who or what is going to extinguish this fire?
In honor of "The Block Is Hot" Sea Farm City is proud to announce the availability of Usinowicz's Extra Ties zine. An ode to the food culture and butcher shops that raised him, the zine was created specifically for SFC's "Looking Local" exhibition at Antenna Gallery early this year. To purchase click here
As part of Seventh Gallery's "Writer's Program" Matthew was put in contact with local writer Madeleine Russo, and the two exchanged ideas on power, rebellion, and pop-culture. To read the excellent piece she wrote in reaction to their discussion click here
To see more of Matthew's work click here
On August 27th, Sea Farm City hosted “Open House/ Expanded Flat” at our downtown headquarters. An enormous “Thank you” goes out to all who took the time to come by and see what our artists have been up to.
Justin Lowman created a new work titled Waiting Room specifically for the event. As with many of his previous works, Waiting Room used transitional light to emphasize the way spaces are interconnected (although we often perceive them as separate.)
At first glance Lowman’s intervention was deceivingly simple: An asymmetrical grid of white tiles fixed to the frame of the window. Depending on where the viewer stood, the tiles blocked out certain views of the cityscape behind them. As the day progressed however, the piece revealed it’s subtle complexity. The sun began to descend towards the Pacific and the scale of the piece slowly increased; the tiles cast longer and longer shadows until the entire vestibule was filled with projected shapes.
In Waiting Room the contemplative space of the viewer and the screaming city on the other side of the glass were highlighted as parts of the same whole- An important metaphor at a moment where off-the-cuff divisiveness has captured so many people’s attention.
"Open House/ Expanded Flat" • 8/27/16 12-5pm • 1206 S. Maple Ave #502A DTLA, CA 90015Read More
Sea Farm City invites you to Open House/ Expanded Flat at our headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, August 27, 2016 from 12-5pm. Featuring sculpture, editions, artists books, and zines by artists including: Nicole Antebi, Antenna Gallery, Corry Arnold, Ryan Bulis, Patrick Gilbert, Justin Lowman, and Matthew Usinowicz.
Open House/ Expanded Flat is part of Maiden LA a county-wide network of ‘happenings’ that highlight Los Angeles as a vastly extensive and vibrant art community.
This event is free and open to the public.
"Open House/ Expanded Flat" • 8/27/16 12-5pm • 1206 S. Maple Ave #502A Los Angeles, CA 90015
Our closing Looking Local profile is appropriately based on the topic of memory, and it’s our great pleasure to feature Corry Arnold's Drawing the Line and Nestor Gil's Alan 3:11.
“Nostalgia appears to be a longing for a place, but it is actually a yearning for a different time— the time of our childhood, the slower rhythms of our dreams.” - Svetlana Boym, Nostalgia and Its Discontents.
Corry Arnold’s Drawing the Line is a portfolio of photographs taken in 2011 and 2012 while attempting to relocate from her home in New York City to Denmark. For "Looking Local" Corry turned the photographs into postcards then mailed them to Danish writer/ musician Kristian Finne Kristensen so that he could contribute a series of texts that explore imaginative homes and childhood memories. The postcards were returned to the States- First to NYC, then to Sea Farm City headquarters in Los Angeles, and finally to New Orleans to be exhibited. Each time the postcards traveled they accrued the markings of their journey- Creating a powerful record of the changes that come with traveling place to place, from one time to another.
Nestor Gil’s Alan 3:11 is an extension of his larger archival project dedicated to the life and work of Southern poet and rabble-rouser Alan Justiss. The piece’s most prominent component is a wall clock that permanently reads 3:11 - the time that Nestor first learned of Justiss’ passing. The clock is paired with a looped recording of Alan reading the final line of his poem Is Yours. Uniting the two components is a barely visible transcript of the full poem; a ghostly counterpoint to the visceral presence of Alan’s defiant voice. When experienced as a whole Alan 3:11 is alive in away that most memorials are not. While time stands still and it's the voice of the poet that moves us forward.
To see a full transcript of Alan's poem Is Yours click here
Sea Farm City would like to thank Antenna Gallery for their support in making Looking Local possible. Their genuine hospitality has meant the world to us.
For our third “Looking Local” profile Sea Farm City is proud to present Patrick Gilbert’s Appaloosa Shipping Stool and The Center for Imaginative Cartography and Research’s Texas Flora.
Places, like artwork, are made by human hands. The subtle shifts that happen to a place over time are like variations in an art edition. The handcrafted and homegrown works of Patrick Gilbert and the Center for Imaginative Cartography and Research, embrace the nature of this transformation. Each have made and remade; time and time again. Through this devotion to making, they’ve developed a way to blend the invitational spirit of “doing-it-yourself” with an attention to detail that can stop you in your tracks. The resulting combination is irresistible to all of us who are also looking for a way to make their own place in the world.
Patrick Gilbert’s Appaloosa Shipping Stool is a compact plywood stool that was created specifically for the “Looking Local” exhibition. A sum of only 3 parts, the stool was ingeniously designed to dissemble and fit into a standard USPS “flat rate” shipping box. Once reassembled, the piece blurs the line between sculpture and functional object, and references the legacy of modular furniture, assembly kits, and Mail Art movement.
The Center for Imaginative Cartography and Research's Texas Flora is a series of 3 multi-color Risiograph prints titled: Natives, Edibles, and Invasives. Created collaboratively by Emily Halbardier and Erik Sultzer, the series documents the local flora of Houston where the couple are based. The prints operate simultaneously as a visual guide and a critique on rigid classification, and they examine the language surrounding inclusion/ exclusion, usefulness/ uselessness, and domestication/ wildness.
Visit Antenna Gallery by May 31st to experience Patrick Gilbert's Appaloosa Shipping Stool and The Center for Imaginative Cartography and Research's Texas Flora and Frontier Heritage Waste in person.
To buy Patrick Gilbert's work click here.
Our second "Looking Local” profile is on the topic of Home. Sea Farm City proudly presents two exceptional works: Justin Lowman’s Barn Rays, and Matthew Usinowicz’s Extra Ties.
Justin Lowman’s Barn Rays is an exquisitely crafted artist’s book that documents the ongoing light-based installation he created in a dilapidated barn on his family’s property in the San Fernando Valley. Interspersed with text and photographs taken by the artist, are colored transparencies and metallic pages that create an experience that perfectly portray the shifting light, color and dimensionality of the original site work.
Matthew Usinowicz’s Extra Ties is an ode to the food culture and butcher shops that raised him in his hometown, Salt Lake City, UT and later in his beloved San Francisco, CA. The book appears in Looking Local in two forms: a full-color artist book encased in a hand-carved wood and brass sculpture (appropriately bound in butcher's twine) and a limited edition zine that pays homage to his punk rock roots. Extra Ties offers an insider’s look at the dedication and physicality that the craft of butchering requires, and compliments it with a gallows humor that will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in the service industry.
To make art about one’s home isn’t always a comfortable task. So much of today’s artwork has a certain aloof quality. It’s often cool (approaching cold) and can shy away from overt displays of ownership. Barn Rays and Extra Ties exist far outside this relatively safe dynamic. To create a work about where one lives requires an investment (in every sense of the word.) The biographies of Barn Rays and Extra Ties are bound with their makers. To know one is to gain insight into the other.
Visit Antenna Gallery by May 31st to experience Barn Rays and Extra Ties in person.
See the the text that SFC’s own Matt Allison wrote for Extra Ties here.
Buy Matthew’s Trade Tools here.
See more of Matthew’s work here.
“Looking Local” artist profile: Nicole Antebi
The Last Menagerie: Passenger Pigeon is part of a group of commemorative plates created by Nicole that mark the extinction of animals throughout history. For “Looking Local” the plate has been paired with a text by LJ Moore titled The Past Future Perfect. Originally written for Antebi’s The Last Menagerie project, the text also appears in Moore’s book “Small, Fierce Things.”Read More
SEA FARM CITY presents:
Looking Local: A Library of Place
Reading Room 220, Antenna Gallery
3718 St. Claude Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70117
Opening Reception: April 9th, 2016 6-9pm