Saturday, August 14, 2010

MECHANICAL DREAMS, Kevin Tongs First Solo Show.

If you are in the LA area you really should hit this show tonight.

From Kevin:

Please come by on the opening night. Some of the prints have been made into T-Shirts and those will be for sale, along with my regular posters, including some sold out ones. I will be there the whole night and I’d love to meet you all or see some of you again. The show will be up until September 10 and all the work will be available for viewing and sale online at soon after the show.

If you have a second for a good read, here’s the press release for the show. It offers some interpretations of the images and notes about the show’s theme in general.

Phone Booth Gallery is proud to present “Mechanical Dreams,” a debut solo exhibition by Los Angeles based poster artist Kevin Tong. The exhibition opens with a reception on August 14th from 7-10pm and will consist of a selection of screen printed posters and t-shirts. The all ages event is located at Phone Booth Gallery’s exhibition space, 2533 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803. After opening night, the remaining work will be available through September 10, 2010 at the exhibition space, as well as

Like the prolific poster work that established Kevin Tong’s reputation in alt music and art scenes, his new fine art screen prints are clean and self-possessed but still experimental. The prints in Mechanical Dreams push at the boundaries of narrative in novel ways, presenting an otherworldly visual environment that marries architectural precision with imaginative sensitivity.

In World for Two, a looming woman stands either at the edge of a canyon or at the foot of a mountain. Her eyes are closed and she intently breaths in the scent of the rose she holds in her hand. She looks so human, warm and weathered that it’s easy to miss the fact that her body, only covered in skin from the arms up, is built of ramshackle wood scaffolding and that the blue sky behind her has been invaded by what looks like a digitized cityscape. The seeming authenticity of the scene makes its “mechanical” qualities feel fitting, even natural.

Other posters similarly merge technology and tenderness. In Binary Heartbeat, a woman embraces a robot as both of their bodies—her fleshy one and his industrial one—disintegrate into a whimsical cascade of leaves. In Athena Ex Machina, a mechanical bird as imposing as the Trojan Horse must have been, looms outside an ornate window. Two figures, seen in silhouette, stare out at the bird with childlike awe. All through Tong’s work, the man-made qualities of technology and mechanics brush up against the emotional intensities of first hand, physical experience.

Mechanical Dreams is indeed a dream, a place where the synthetic and organic co-exist in unexpected harmony, making terms like “post-human” seem beside the point. In the universe of Tong’s work, technology is not about subverting or escaping the human fragility. It’s about inviting new possibilities into the fragile project of being human.

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