BUCKET RIDER GALLERY announces The Buck Stops Here, our first solo show of new video and watercolors by Los Angeles based artist Joe Sola.
Chicago, IL, October 26, 2007 – Bucket Rider continues the fall season with an exhibition of new works by Joe Sola. The show opens Friday, October 26sth with an artist’s reception from 5 to 8pm, and continues through November 24th.
Captivated by ideas of masculinity, celebrity, comedy, and by default, as a white male in America, identity politics, Joe Sola has created a new body of watercolors that address the beauty and absurdity of being in the world today. Employing the mundane and the surreal in equal measure, Sola utilizes visual sight gags, puns, and clichés that are one once tied to contemporary idiom and entirely his own. In his In a Church, an image of a very different kind of stained glass window abrogates traditional religious notions. Instead of experiencing a typically reverent image, the viewer is immediately drawn to the dancing telephones and the pizza deliveryman dropping off the ideal pie. The obligated witness at church on Sunday is dreaming of other things, waiting for the big game and its corresponding feast. Sola’s work is about diversion and the humor that spills out from it. In his world, nothing is the way that it seems, and one’s entire ontology and experience can be redirected at any time.
In By the Way he continues his experimentation and obsession with the differing textures of paper, in this case, bulk toilet tissue. Not intended to be provocative, but rather an homage to Jon Wittaker – the school custodian who became a father figure – the depiction includes references to other household cleaning products that Jon would have used on a daily basis. A magnificent broom, a stoic dustbin, expansive trash bags litter the landscape while officials appear to keep score on paper towels. The bubbles in the sink are all coming from one small bottle of dish detergent, while the dishwasher is eating lunch.
In Watercolor, the video that we present in Gallery Two, Sola plays himself playing a seemingly mediocre academic painter in a PBS-inflected video on how to paint the perfect watercolor. From the beginning, he looks tired and almost washed up, and his motivations are at once benevolent and strangely distracted. We walk with him through a field itself reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting to find the perfect spot and watch him calculate his first tincture of the perfect color. As he his about to apply the first brush stroke, he is plowed down by an errant delivery truck hat we have seen earlier swerving out of control. The central character’s gracious intent to show how to paint the sublime moment is thwarted by the most final of diversions. Again, the absurdity of calculated categories of identity and desire is met with the inevitably of mortality. This is nailed at the end of the piece when, in a last moment of unabashed humor, an employee walks into to the funeral home and punches a clock. For Sola, the end is the ultimate punch line, a thousand jokes skirting the issue brought properly and finally into focus.
Joe Sola was born in Chicago in 1966 and received his MFA from Otis College of Art and Design. He has had solo exhibitions at Atlanta College of Art, GA, and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH. He has had screenings throughout the world, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Centrum Beelende Kunst, in Rotterdam, and the Havana Biennial in Cuba. He participated in the California Biennial in 2002 and Rogue Wave 05 at LA Louver Gallery in 2005. A catalogue accompanied his exhibition at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 2005. His work can be currently seen in Dark Mirrors: Artist’s Videos at SFMOMA and Night of the Living Dolls at the Hammer Museum in LA.