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real thing

Even Better Than the Real Thing
Curated by Jennifer Frias
August 23 – September 25, 2010
Artist's reception: August 24, 6-9pm
(in conjunction with CAA/Arts Complex Grand Opening event, 5-7pm)
Even Better Than the Real Thing observes the edges of perception. It takes into account the notion of "defamiliarization," or the artistic technique of forcing the audience to see common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar. Ten contemporary artists fulfill this concept by making the everyday uncanny. While the procedure to achieve such realistic and hi-tech qualities may appear mass-produced, the objects in the exhibition were constructed meticulously by applying basic, traditional art and handcraft techniques, such as painting, drawing, sculpting and sewing. Pop Art has an ongoing significance and works like Claes Oldenburg's Lipstick (1969-74) made of massive steel and Andy Warhol's cardboard painted Brillo Boxes (1964) set the precedence of utilizing unanticipated resources and methods to fashion the common object. The works selected for Even Better Than the Real Thing posses characteristics that are visually arresting, seductive, and at times, disturbing. The results undertake an unsettling realism and issue a challenge to art's alleged dedication to the world of appearances. Artists include: Jon Bonser, Joe Davidson, Ben Jackel, Kiel Johnson, Nina Katchadourian, Rebecca Morales, Kristen Morgin, Kaz Oshiro, Derek Parker, Andy Ralph, Laura Splan, Stephanie Syjuco.

Curator's Walk-through
September 22, 6pm

Jennifer Frias is the assistant curator of UCR's Sweeney Art Gallery. Her curatorial projects focus on contemporary art, with special emphasis on the exploration of identity, pop culture and technology. She has organized exhibitions such as Will Connell: Hollywood Noir (2003), When Nature Takes Its Course: Natural Disasters from the Keystone-Mast Collection (2004), Material Witness (2007) and worked alongside Tyler Stallings on Your Donations Do Our Work: Andrea Bowers and Suzanne Lacy (2009). In 2008, she was guest curator at the California Museum of Photography for the exhibition, And These Natural Things: Works by Melissa Martinez (catalog). She is currently working on an exhibition scheduled to open Fall 2010 for the Main Art Gallery at Cal State Fullerton entitled, MetaDataPhile (catalog), a group exhibition of contemporary works that focuses on hacking, re-purposing, regenerating and re-appropriating visual information, data and object. She is also currently working on a phantom gallery project scheduled for spring 2010 in Santa Ana, CA called Looks Good From Any Distance, which will feature multi-media and site-specific environments produced by emerging artists residing in southern California.

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