The title for this exhibition at Calico is derived from The Disorderly Orderly, a 1964 American comedy film released by Paramount Pictures and starring Jerry Lewis. The film was produced by Paul Jones with a screenplay by director Frank Tashlin. As an orderly at the Whitestone Sanatorium, Jerome Littlefield is afflicted by a psychosomatic condition in which he assumes the emotional symptoms of his charges. The film’s director, Frank Tashlin, is noted for his use of the diegetic rupture, a theatrical device in which break the expected interior narrative and look into the camera and directly address the audience, dislocating the viewers temporal order. These two artifices that are central to the film; diegetic rupture and the processing of disorder, could well be taken as the creative directives of many artists. In the most general terms, artists are the canaries in the mines; the filtering vessels whose sorting, organizing, tasting, breathing, and digesting reflect the unformed and unsaid made visible. They face their audience directly, imposing their critical view, while articulating and expunging barriers.
Debra Hampton, Janice Caswell and Nancy Baker are three artists whose practice methods are informed by creating a greater whole than the sum of its humbled and disordered parts. They cut, paste, enumerate, and file; and from these disparate and solitary objects, assemble a cohesive narrative that attempts to satisfy and solidify a disordered beginning. Passion, obsession and minutiae are the slightly offbeat driving forces that characterize their work methodology, especially in these times of the re-entrenchment of the minimal and the deadpan.
Janice Caswell’s current work is an exercise in organizing, an effort to make order out of chaos. By compiling, disassembling, sorting and arranging she attempts to create an illusion of control over an overly complicated life. Through a process of ordering and reordering, a final drawing emerges that is contained, logical and rhythmic; evoking a sense of calm. She is a maker and collector of basic geometric shapes, reflecting a desire for fundamental stasis and equilibrium. Caswell has exhibited extensively in the US, she has had two solo shows in NYC with Schroeder Romero Gallery, and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut.
Debra Hampton’s work has spanned various unconventional medium and process while investigating issues of commodity, identity, and appropriation. She is best known for mixed-media mashup collage portraits which are created from 1000s of magazine cutouts, splattered ink, and intricately stippled shapes. Accompanying the portrait series are sculpted objects such as headdresses, talisman, and full-size armor. Hampton will represent Gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen, Denmark, in Volta9 Basel, 2013. Recently, she was selected by the New York City Department of Transportation to design & implement a public mural spanning 600 feet of pedestrian/bicycle pathways along the Brooklyn waterfront. Ms. Hampton’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art Permanent Drawing Collection, and The Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, and has been featured in publications such as ArtReview, the New York Times, New York Arts, FlavorPill, Queens Chronicle, Etapes Graphiques, and The New York Art World. She has been recipient of the Chashama AREA Studio Residency and an A.I.R. Gallery fellowship.
Nancy Baker collects image files of hardware parts, jewels, and connecting devices that she arranges and prints out on an archival printer. Sometimes she spray paints over various layers, which can be built up so that a tactile effect is achieved. She floats these assembled pieces on the wall, so that complex shadows are created, which imparts a multi-dimensional illusion. Baker has consistently employed language in her work, mostly in a political context. She is currently employing different phrases in the work that seem relevant to her now; such as in Kafka’s story, ” In the Penal Colony”, where a diabolical machine inscribes the law a prisoner has broken is on his body. The phrase “BE JUST” is a final inscription on the perpetrator of the machine.
Baker has had many solo exhibitions in the US; Denise Bibro Fine Arts and Winkleman Gallery in NYC, Jancar Gallery in LA, Marcia Wood in Atlanta, and Heriard Cimino in NOLA. She was the recipient of two Visual Arts fellowships from NC, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Calico • 67 West St #206 • Greenpoint, Brooklyn 11222