Keith Allyn Spencer – Nana Mary
28 July – 8 September 2018
Jelato Love is pleased to present ‘Nana Mary’ the first solo exhibition in Spain of Keith Allyn Spencer, an artist from El Paso, Texas, U.S.A.
The exhibition coincides the recent publication of “Good Deeds AKA Suggested Reading”, a book dedicated to Spencer’s extended practice of writing and performance, aspects integral to his physical artworks. Painterly sculptures or sculptural paintings, are “a lo-fi interrogation of modernist values of form and colour”, according to the books publishers, Pink Jacket (Mimi Cabell and Phoebe Stubbs).
Each material Spencer uses originates from paying attention to things that may otherwise be overlooked. For example, a forgotten T-Shirt at the basketball court, a discarded piece of wood, or can of paint from the University where he is Faculty, are cut, sanded, stapled, and recomposed into artworks, without losing their originality. Along with the social landscape of the material origins, there is often the subsequent installing of finished works into familiar non-art environments, including a Holiday Inn Express, UPS Store, and Walmart, as listed on his CV. Titles, such as “I Don’t Get Paid Until You Get Paid”, similarly come from his commitments to family life, and work. The exhibition itself is named after what his two sons call his mother, subtly and emotionally including her too.
Newer works (often backdated, joking with a contemporary perception of art history) are composed from acrylic on plastic drop cloths. These were realised after moving house and having leftover Ikea packaging. Instead of throwing it out, Spencer experimented with paint on the plastic: sandwiching acrylic between two sheets gained a result of a ‘double sided’ painting, something familiar to his previous work. This lead him to make larger works with generic plastic drop cloths found in hardware stores. The huge, “L – XXXL” or “King Size Comforter”, paintings can be: folded, hung as a partition, curtain, and attached with magnetised “props”, common household items that Spencer introduced into his work as a tool for understanding dimensions, as they are often variable.
“Good Deeds AKA Suggested Reading” illustrates how the paintings are one aspect of a larger context that Spencer embeds them in. His practice materialises very literally from biographical and social context. “It’s not that the object is less important. It’s that the object is less self important.” Spencer considers a broad range of relationships, questioning the ethics and professionalism of being an artist, while maintaining a generosity of the individual works.
First exhibition iteration below vvvvvvvvvvvv: artworks pictured above did not ship in time :(( so KAS and JL went to hardware store to obtain materials to make works in time for opening reception. Once intended works were delivered, a second installation occurred. Thanks, JL!