if this is as good as it gets, then i guess i’m ok with that
The exhibition spotlights flaw and dysfunction through a lens of humor and wit from two varying perspectives. Playful mocking of overarching systems of consumerism, patriarchy and class, coupled with codices spawned from personal struggle and tragedy, empowers viewers to unabashedly contemplate social and existential turmoil as well as question the nature of contentment itself. Employing kitsch, cliché, and popular culture as effortlessly as they do shape and color, Stroech and Teuton transform stories too fragile to be spoken into compositions filled with intrigue and gusto.
Jeffrey Teuton, influenced by his past architecture studies as well as Ellsworth Kelly’s minimalist works, stacks found objects and colorful shapes like notes composing a symphony or bricks defining a building. Teuton equates this process to memory formation. “I think that when you look at an experience or even your time with a person you have this pattern and these shapes that when put together, the space and arrangements are very telling. Often it is a combination of things that lead to a memory, so the stack is a natural way for that to be expressed," he explains. The candid titles Teuton chooses often have an ironic contrast with the whimsy of his work, shifting the viewer’s perceptions until it becomes difficult to tell truth from fiction and comedy from tragedy.
Works such as Enjoy It While You Have It, Cause It Is Mostly Hard Work and Shitty illustrate this notion. While a massive pile of brick-colored shapes fill the chasm between two large, ominous objects, the arrangement of miniature stacks in the lower left of the composition jump out in stark contrast. Appearing almost as contemporary cairns, the small stacks of color seem to mark or memorialize some ceremony, path, or burial, perhaps even commemorating the structure constructed to span the gap.
Similarly, Sunset Over Gas Station, Exit 36, I’m Still Alive, I Am Still Alive interjects the viewer into a world of unforeseen extremes. With interlinking broad strokes of color consuming the majority of the composition, a slight glimpse of street lights peak through to hint at the storyline encoded in the title. We are left to wonder at the events that took place and whether to be appreciative of what appears to be a peaceful sunset or terrified by a near-death experience.