under performing

U p d a t e s on A b s u r d i s t s — Part 3 : BRESS and BUZZ


Bress has released new works for 2012 , mainly “Under Performing” which seems to be doing the rounds at various galleries and museums around the country. The usual Art rags have write ups on the video works:

Viewers familiar with Bress’s recent works, such as his breakthrough 2009 video Status Report (recently exhibited at the New Museum in New York), know him for his almost overwhelming barrages of absurdist collage. He constructs tableaux from thrift-store detritus that he then photographs and green-screens onto various backgrounds. The videos made up of these collaged arrangements often interlace three or four entirely different scenarios, resulting in something akin to channel surfing—if all the channels were public access.

For “Under Performing,” Bress presented eight “portraits” (all 2012) in a mostly uniform format: framed flat- screen monitors. Most are about 28 by 22 inches and are displayed vertically. In one case, a pair of monitors forms a cryptic diptych of isolated, snowbound figures. Two family groupings—a cubist-faced set bobbing in a painted surf and four featureless inflatables, posed Sears-portrait-studio-style, replete with patterned sweaters and bad-haircut wigs—are hung in a horizontal orientation.  – excerpt from Art in America

Of note is his use of flat screen TV’s as visual picture frames for gallery purposes, an idea bounced around by other Absurdists here, and one as “Art in America” notes, has oddly (or not) been taken full advantage of:

Video artists have been inexplicably slow in taking advantage of certain possibilities inherent to flat-screen technology, specifically that of creating wall-hung screens with looping videos that occupy the space where one expects to find a painting. The bulk of Brian Bress’s recent show, “Under Performing,” addressed this peculiarity with the complex humor and formal inventiveness of his work from the last half-decade, but with a sharpened sense of focus.

Brian is always good about posting his work on YouTube after the gallery hoo-ra-ra wraps up, so hopefully we’ll get to view the recent works online in the near future.

For now it looks like someone took the liberty to give us a some glances of the latest work UNDER PERFORMING, unfortunately these appear to be shot off a smart phone sideways, and not converted back to right side up. Nevertheless:




Speaking of someone who should have multiple flat screens on gallery walls, looping together his seemingly limitless plethora of Absurdist mash…

Besides a few recent past weeks, Buzz has been continually churning out video re-works. Vimeo (as opposed to YouTube where Coastin has been heave hoe’d from numerous times) allows him much more leeway to play with the amateur/semi-pro porn mashing, where he takes a clip which is intended to be the “turn on” scene before the real action, and replays, edits and alters it to absurd proportions, sometimes waking up the viewer to realize how ridiculous getting turned on by a piece of flesh rounded and contorted to a certain shape can be. Meanwhile we hear audio snippets of Marshall Mcluhan, Robert Dobbs, and others in the background, sometimes vaguely, sometimes clear.

Buzz’s recent BUTTRESS FOR THE ALLZ AT ONCE works off this formula.

McLuhan who frequently talked about the “instant replay”, is essentially what Buzz employs by his continuum of repeated edits replayed in various over saturated, upside down fashion.

In “PEPPEY PERCEPTION” we do get the real action remixed into holograms of sorts while some excellent audio pieces of MCLUHAN talking about how artists predict the future play alongside the video saturation (note – McLuhan audio starts after the 1 minute mark).

The recent 15 MINUTES OF FAMEROUS can be seen as a companion piece to the above as Robert Dobbs explains the importance of Andy Warhol in a way you’ve likely never heard before.