SCOTT SPEH GALLERY

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October 27 to December 8, 2012

In Gallery 1

MARK WAGNER
VOTING WITH YOUR POCKETBOOK

In his third solo show with Western Exhibitions, MARK WAGNER continues his exploration of the US Dollar as material, from cutting up the bill for elaborate collages, to drawing, painting, and printing on it. Subverting and subduing the almighty dollar thusly, the symbol reverts to its simplest identity... that of ink on paper.

The show opens on Saturday, October 27 with a free public reception from 5 to 8pm.

Portraits of the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney hang side by side, installed in a stylized voting booth. On close examination, viewers see that their faces are literally made of money. Cut up US dollar bills form their entirety... Federal Reserve seals become pupils, leaves and hollyhocks stand in for hair, framing and line-work twist to form the contours of each face. Given the materials used, it is unclear whether one should stuff a vote or a donation into the ballot box. "Voting with your Pocketbook" offers a critique of the US democratic process and its fixation on finance. Can a competition waged over ginormous campaign war-chests, PACs, and Super-PACs, really said to be democratic?

The exhibition hosts hundreds of overprinted and drawn on dollar bills. Some hang individually, others are taped together into larger sheets. Coarsely pixelated pop imagery, overprinted grids, bar graphs, and Rorschach ink blobs accompany pop poetry texts of consumption and redemption. All together the drawings emphasize that the US dollar and country of its origin represent vastly different things to different people.

Brooklyn based artist Mark Wagner has been referred to as "the Michael Jordan of glue" and "the greatest living collage artist". His collage and artist books are collected by dozens of institutions. They have shown at Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Portrait Gallery, The Getty, and The Walker Art Center. His monumental currency collage "Liberty" will be on view at the Haggerty Museum in Milwaukee from August 22nd to December 22nd, 2012.

 

 

 

ALL IMAGES © WESTERN EXHIBITIONS & EACH INDIVIDUAL ARTIST