JASON SHERRY: Time Space Trials and the Packrat Dirge (Or the Theme from Human Interest Story)
MARCH 27 – MAY 2, 2009
SEMINAL PROJECTS is pleased to announce an exhibition of new audio-mechanical sculptures and photo/print collages by JASON SHERRY, titled Time Space Trials and the Packrat Dirge (or the Theme from Human Interest Story). This will be the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, on view from March 27 through May 2, 2009.
Time Space Trials and the Packrat Dirge (or the Theme from Human Interest Story) expands on Jason Sherry’s interest in shedding light on the absurd, irrational, and unpredictable side of human nature. Sherry channels his unconventional engineering skills and probing intellect into musical-sound instruments of personal nostalgia that provoke humor and demonstrate his ability to find the bizarre in even better forgotten memories and points of history.
In The Packrat Dirge an old pump organ has been painstakingly dismantled and reassembled into a functioning, miniature hybrid of its former self, its keyboard and body transformed with the furtive remnants of a close friend’s recent divorce (i.e., vintage movie and porno magazines). Tickling its keys allows one commemorate the guilty bloke’s sexual affair and indulge in a sardonic expression of sympathy. [A forerunner to The Packrat Dirge, titled Thou doth summon the 13th planet thusly, 2007 (Salke Collection, Boston), incorporates a black, upright piano “miniaturized” to one full octave.]
Influenced by the antics of his former bass-playing rock band days, another sculpture, titled Time Space Trials, presents an adolescent’s BMX bicycle reincarnated with a functioning turntable and speaker. Riding Time Space Trials for the first time (with the needle on the record, each peddle producing a rotation of the turntable), Sherry identified the music by saying with a smile: "I hate them, but, it had to be Iron Maiden." Time Space Trials is accompanied by a separate video featuring some of the artist’s friends and their musical choices, including Kraftwerk, Cher, Wu-Tang Clan, Rush, Devo, and George Michael. In what could be termed a neo-fluxus performance, sound clarity and recognition is replaced by futility, distortion and near-total incomprehensibility, underscoring Sherry’s pleasure in examining the pathetic, absurdist side of human ingenuity—if not existence and reality itself.
In addition to sculptures, the exhibition includes new photo/print collages (executed in Sherry’s signature style of re-contextualized pop images and deconstructed narratives) that pay stylistic homage to Constructivism, Dada, and Surrealism. An intrepid scavenger of old negatives and vintage, low-culture photography, Sherry weaves together cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown prints of mesmerizing-but-nameless beautiful women, group photographs of mysterious, esoteric societies, advertising graphics, 18th and 19th-century engravings, and clippings of long-forgotten Hollywood models and stars—at times even printing on obscure materials from a bygone period. The results are richly layered compositions that indulge his compulsive appetite for military history and human evolution, fallen political leaders and space aliens, psychoanalysts and “deep thoughts”, ancient races and mysterious cosmic occurrences, perverted nuns and crazed theologians, large-breasted topless women and strange deformities, morality parables and conspiracy theories, brilliant scientists and social deviants, nerds and dweebs, and other behavioral oddities inhabiting the vast recesses of the human psyche.
In conjunction with Time Space Trials and the Packrat Dirge, Seminal Projects will host “Jason Sherry and Neil Kendricks: In Conversation”, a talk to be held at the gallery on Saturday, April 18, starting at 2 p.m. Neil Kendricks is Film Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, as well as an accomplished filmmaker, photographer, writer, and lecturer.
A graduate of San Diego State University, Jason Sherry is currently participating in LOW BROW: Nine San Diego Pop Surrealists, on view at the Oceanside Museum of Art, in Oceanside, CA, through May 24. He lives and works in San Diego.