Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bordett and Coll at The Front; Southerly Gold's Edwards, Martin and Ricci at Good Children

People are freaking out. That is nothing new, but the current freakout over identity and reality seems unprecedented. Why are identity, reality and fakery such hot issues? Patrick Coll investigates via his  “Parasocial” expo of graphical and video works based on the aptly named “FakeApp” program – a favorite of revenge porn freaks – that lets users put any face on anyone in a video. Here Coll uses it to create a fake ad campaign, inviting you to “Become a Better You” by becoming “Someone Else,” as  seen in images of happy, traditional couples who both have the same face. Facial features even turn up on appendages like thumbs, or appear in fantastical variations like “Allison,” above, a digital print on fabric. His “BaudrillardBot” is a video based on French philosopher Jean Baudrillard who argued that the proliferation of mass media images, or “simulacra,” had turned urban life into baffling hall of mirrors. Baudrillard was often overrated, but his emphasis on the disorienting effect of super-saturated media seems spot on. After all, with so much fakery all around us, clinging desperately to traditional notions of identity may have become the last refuge of the confused.

David Bordett's sculptures hark to regional identity and American pop culture. Here iconic objects – from cowboy boots to custom cars and fuzzy dice – appear as as random pop artifacts in an age of mass digital dissociation. At nearby Good Children gallery, Southerly Gold -- Ariya Martin, Aubry Edwards and Elena Ricci -- explore symbolic Louisiana psychogeographic phenomena, from photographs of duckweed to displays of bleached crab claws, as part of their investigation of how this place shaped the people who live here, and vice versa. Over the past five years, they documented the ironies of life in a state where wild nature and industry coexist so uneasily that we are forced to confront “the complex identity of place that arises in the intermingling of potential versus reality.” ~Bookhardt / Born to Win: Sculpture by David Bordett, Parasocial: Mixed Media by Patrick Coll Through Mar. 3, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980;  God’s Country: Mixed Media by Southerly Gold, Through Mar. 3, Good Children Gallery, 4037 St. Claude Ave., 616-7427.