伯樂相馬 Bo Le looks at a horse 伯樂一顧 Bo Le glances back
Founded in 2013 in Seoul, Thomas Park has shown artists from the US, Korea, and elsewhere who have great potentials to show who they are as artists, what art means to us now. Together we look, talk, contemplate, explore, and exhibit.
Greg Colson's New York Exhibition
has been postponed.
Thomas Park Gallery has postponed the Greg Colson's solo exhibition this April, planned to be held at a new location. Arrangements for shipping the work from Europe and LA were made prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Due to the situation, a part of the shipment that was to be delivered to a new location, was redirected to 55 Berry St. Now that we have his beautiful work here, we are having a soft preview of the show online until we can invite people over or having a full public show sometime soon!
It was a poem An Anna Bloom(To Anna Flower) that launched Kurt Schwitters’ career before his first solo show. As absurd as the poem—“Blue is the color of your yellow hair” —sounds, Greg Colson’s own poem makes us smile for the same reason. A poem called The Cavitron 3000 goes, “The Cavitron 3000 / ’88 Ford Tempo. / Flight 190 to Milan. / Cedar green split-level. / The 14-day juice challenge. / 500 people protest. /60,000 in attendance. / 7th Annual Hackfest.” Maybe this is a story of someone’s life for a month, a little map of one’s itinerary via the names of products, headlines, advertisements. We know that we are surrounded by, consumed by these words and expressions. But what is Cavitron anyway? How absurd does the 14-day juice challenge sounds? Can they sum up our lives as effectively as they sound? Are we living with the language created by the media?
Kurt Schwitters was one of the very first artists who made a point of using discarded material. “Out of parsimony” he started to use whatever he could find. It was after the war. It was a gesture of rebuilding and of being reborn. When you look at the picture Greg Colson took in Bakersfield, CA of oil fields where he grew up, you will find the startling resemblance to the pictures of European battlefields in World War I. It is barren, empty and hardly any life in sight. One rich, the other devastated, both are the sites to (re)build something in the artists’ minds.
Greg Colson once said that he began using discarded materials to “introduce gestures other than my own.” He calls it “conflicting gestures” which can be viewed as poetic power generated by the juxtaposition of contrasting elements. He makes or re-makes “clean” diagrams — maps, charts, and graphs— with “dirty” materials once used for something else, embedded with a complicated history. In his poems and works, he uses plain words from mass media instead of coming up with his own edgy words. He presents big words like “integrity” or “who you are” in a clumsy diagram appearing as a yacht bringing a simple analogy that we are sailing in the end. Is he serious or being cynical? This is a yacht that is barely put together. He may want us to look at the gap between a worn-out stick and a cheap piece of a wooden panel.
One of his early epiphanies came upon seeing a building under construction. He suddenly found this state “vulnerable and revealing” which became a major part of his esthetics. When a building is being built, it is essentially overlapped and juxtaposed showing what is behind, what is underneath. We witness the process of becoming something, the inside, the materiality. We still see the space around the beams and rods, like in a drawing, before it becomes a mass.
Before writing poems, he started drawing cartoons in and after college. Cartoons are images and texts, humorous and condensed. Like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Ed Ruscha, Colson incorporated texts into his work early on. Maps are another great example where images and texts come together. In Colson’s stick maps, we see the names of streets and how the whole city is simplified. We see the actual space between streets(used sticks and rulers) and possible memories and associations one may have had of the city. In the pie chart series, you get to see the reasons why people break up, their biggest fears, the most offensive odors. Somewhere among these “facts” we reside or sail.
Or are we living between a suitcase and a pillow? When I first saw Colson’s Growth, I thought they are suitcases. Maybe because I am traveling a lot and often wonder if my entire life can be contained inside. In fact, these are briefcases indicating job growth in the year of 2018. It could be a cheerful data but a hint of the ominous is felt with these five briefcases sitting on the surface that looks like a dirty floor. In Accent Pillows, it is funny to see how deceptively simple the painting is, how many different kinds of pillows there are. No matter how simple they are painted, an image may overlap these paintings; The back of a person who walks away with a briefcase or a head that rests on one of these pillows.
Caixa 214, 2015, Oil on wood
15h x 9.50w x 3d