November 11, 2010 - January 27, 2011
ISAAC DELGADO FINE ART GALLERY/DELGADO COMMUNITY COLLEGE
City Park Campus, Building 1 , 3rd floor,
615 City Park Avenue
Monday – Friday
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Until recently, daily life and its mundane surfaces and textures were generally considered the bane of artistic creation. A new generation of artists reconsiders how the unassuming lack of façade in quotidian life can lead to new realms of expression. Everyday Hybrid at Delgado Fine Art Galley features seven artists from this new generation; Alex Podesta is one of these artists.
In all of my recent work I have culled the rich fantasies, daydreams, misconceptions and experiences of my childhood and re-contextualized them through the filters of adulthood, experience and education. This effort has been made in an attempt to re-connect with the creative naiveté of youth; to illustrate, in engaging and humorous ways, the role of fantasy, “othering” and conflict in nascent self-awareness; and to pick gently at the loose thread of wistful escapism inherent in a quiet, down hill slide into maturity.
Self-Portrait as Bunnies (Hubris), 2006-07 / Approximately 30”x120”x60” / Acrylic fur, urethane resin, plaster, acrylic paint, fake Artforum.
This has been approached in several different ways. In the Self-Portrait as Bunnies series, adult-sized and adult-featured versions of myself are presented as bunny/man chimeras in specifically childlike vignettes – turning a stuffed bunny into an effigy of themselves, making marionettes to act out their relationship, making drawings of each other – in order to underscore the earnestness of pre-adolescent industriousness and to open a window into the richness of the interior dialogues children often seem to weave for themselves. This series is continued in City Watch, in which five unlikely sentries stand watch over a bleak and desolate city jail. Another work, The Hero, explores the role of fantasy and escapism in playing make believe, and the degree to which we carry that escapism into being adults. The two boys are engaged in their play but they seem palpably concerned, worried even. They can’t quite give into the escape entirely. In another approach to these ideas, Conjoined, two bicycles are joined to form a sort of “pushmipullyu”, acting as stand-ins for the bunnies found in the other pieces and as analogs for the participants in a playground dustup.
This exploration of elements of childhood and things childlike is also evident in recent photographs, collages and drawings. PodestaManet, PodestaMorrisSchneeman, andPodestaFischl for example. These are recreations of two well-known paintings and a performance. For these pieces I’ve made maquettes of the spaces depicted in paintings and performance stills and “peopled” them using Barbie dolls dressed as bunnies. These tableaus are then photographed and it is that static record of the whole process that gets exhibited. Replacing the figures with dolls is meant to be reminiscent of children dressing up in their parents’ clothes and playing grownup. These pieces are exploring many of the same themes as the rest of my work but the process introduces sub-themes of commodification and representational fallibility/mutability. In the Let’s Dance series, doubled and tripled self-portraiture is combined with memories of children’s book illustrations. However, my adult figure is substituted for that of the kids.
This focus on the development of awareness and the experiential mashing of child-like and adult-like is present, to a greater or lesser degree, in most of my work. For the viewer though this is subtle, discernable primarily in only a visceral sense of theme and leaving multiple strands to be leisurely unraveled. In this way, the work seems additionally to offer the viewer a quiet invitation to indulge in a little solipsistic navel gazing.
City Watch. 2008 / Approximately 92”x80”x60” / Acrylic fur, fiberglass, urethane resin.
Piece is installed on a rooftop 35’ above the sidewalk.
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2008 - City Watch – two year outdoor installation, Falstaff building roof (New Orleans, LA).
2008 - Bunnies, Barbies and Beasties – Barrister’s Gallery (New Orleans, LA). /http://www.barristersgallery.com/apodesta.html
2007 - Copies and Doubles - Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, Shell Gallery (New Orleans, LA)./ http://www.cacno.org/visualarts/exhibitions.html
2007 - MirrorMirror - University of New Orleans Fine Arts Gallery (New Orleans, LA). /http://finearts.uno.edu/artpage.html
2002 - Corporal Works + Self-Reality - Project (Wichita, KS).
2008 - St. Claude Collective: a Prospect.1 Satellite Exhibition – Universal Furniture (New Orleans, LA). / http://www.stclaudecollective.org/c/artists/14
2008 - Bizer, Fields, Jones, Podesta - Arthur Roger Gallery (New Orleans, LA)./http://www.arthurrogergallery.com/
2007 - FabricFashionFantasy - Space 301 (Mobile, AL). /http://www.space301.com/exhibitions.php
2007 - Podesta, Fields, Zeringue - Galerie im Andechshof (Innsbruck, Austria).
2007 - It’s OK to Hang Out - University of New Orleans Fine Arts Gallery (New Orleans, LA)./ http://finearts.uno.edu/artpage.html
2006 - Atypical Portraiture - Barrister’s Gallery (New Orleans, LA). /http://www.barristersgallery.com/taguecrozat.html
2004 - Works in Progress - University of New Orleans Fine Arts Gallery (New Orleans, LA)./http://finearts.uno.edu/artpage.html
2001 - Senior Thesis Show - University of New Orleans Fine Arts Gallery (New Orleans, LA)./ http://finearts.uno.edu/artpage.html
2001 - Group Show -The Mermaid (New Orleans, LA).
2000 - Tiny Works for the Ages - Project (Wichita, KS).
2000 - Relationship of Body and Self - Cooper Street Gallery (Memphis, TN) /http://www.thecoopergallery.com.au/
1999 - Tiny Works Little Licks - Project (Wichita, KS).
1998 - No Dead Artists - Positive Space (New Orleans, LA).
1995 - Group Show - Bicycle Gallery (Richmond, VA).
The Bunny Hunt (Sleepers), 2010 / 22-3/8”x38-3/8” / Photo collage and acrylic on panel