17 May – 9 June
In the Age of Appropriation (as good a name for it as any), the found object becomes the core of the matter: the thrown-away, the not-needed, the landfill-ready, bio-degradable or not, transforms into the focus of the market. Whether we – as artist or audience – have planned it to or not. Taken from life, the objects take on a life of their own. Materials built up meticulously yet of no intrinsic value – the value accruing through personal history and acts of transformation – standing in anti-materialistic defiance to the pervading atmosphere of Capital.
Perkins’ precisely observed watercolours of homeless persons’ carts from the streets of Los Angeles, the world capital of rootless/ruthless consumerism, are devoid of ground, shadow, or human presence yet nevertheless speak entirely of the human need to possess, comprehend and however idiosyncratically, control our world. The means these ‘transients’ have is limited, shored up in shopping trolleys – ironic (satiric?) chariots of ‘worthless’ (i.e. in all likelihood scavenged rather than purchased) goods.
Summers, born in Colorado, re-configures objects, manipulating materials which simultaneously lose, exchange and regain their function, wrest a new meaning from the incoherent random flotsam in our wake.
Why do they do it, these transients, these artists? How far outside society or the society of Art do we take up our position? Yes, you… Who’s around even to question? The fabricators themselves of course having retired into invisiblity – their statement left behind in the objects and detritus they assemble.
Art focuses our attention, makes things visible – both Summers and Perkins work on the flipside of consumerism, placing the disregarded rubble of this fragile life and art centre stage… countering society’s/art’s prevailing climate with distinctly anti-capitalist, un-American activities… recording and reflecting dissent by the simple fact embedded in these materials, transformed fastidiously by Perkins, or with something close to a manic mockery – or menace? – in the case of Summers. Art as the continuation of politics by other means.