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BJORN COPELAND

 

JACK HANLEY GALLERY
327 Broome Street
September 5, 2013–October 6, 2013

 

 

Concurrent with his noise electronics band Black DiceBjorn Copeland has spent the past two decades 

reconfiguring the everyday commercial feed into postproduct and postmusical assemblages with printmaking, collage, and sculpture. Copeland’s third solo exhibition at this gallery opens not with a bang but with a bucket, white plastic to be precise, stuffed with cemented model airplane wings. The piece, crookedly titled Ground Potential (all works 2013), is a wry opening note for the seventeen works on view; a collection strongest in sculptures that are judiciously composed and surprisingly economical in form and origin.

 

BD Mix, for example, is a Yamaha amplifier in a post-load-blown state, functionally defiled by black foam oozing out the amp from both ends. Although it may come off as a juvenile gesture, a postmodern guitar smashing if you will, take one of Black Dice’s later records for a spin and the amp’s demise becomes emblematic of music pushed to the limits of its own definition. Opposite is Vice Stack, a diminutive totem of beer cans crushed and sandwiched between acid-yellow foam patties. Crowned with a plastic gorilla sporting a cap of pale plastic strawberries and sticks, this sculpture could conceivably serve as a sort of modern-day cairn for the contemporary metropolis, while also emitting a slightly more sophisticated vibe than that of an AP art stoner’s portfolio piece de resistance.

 

Emerging from the Providence scene of the 1990s wherein all forms of scrawl, scribble, and sprawl were championed by collectives such as Forcefield and Paper Rad, Copeland here has a more prudent tack. This is especially evinced by his sparse installation, which is almost genteel—an about-face from those groups’ enthusiasm for clutter. Within this impeccable gallery space, the conversation between each playful arrangement is somewhat dampened. Perhaps volume is inevitably turned down a notch when the underground cracks the mainstream. In a more sympathetic environment (perhaps just outside the gallery on Chrystie Street?) one can almost imagine the sculptures tearing down the street, vacuuming up all the bombastic trash to fashion treasures in their own likeness.

 

— Paige K. Bradley