Elastic Arts is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition in its new home, 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s, featuring work by conceptual artist Esau McGhee.

 

McGhee’s practice is characterized by methods of appropriation that are interwoven into densely patterned collages. Bold line forms photographically “sampled” during the artist’s walks in urban space are blown up, cut and reconfigured into abstractions that are simultaneously pleasing and dizzying. These improvisatory processes–absorbing and accumulating textures to deploy later–place McGhee in a long lineage of radical collage from Hannah Höch and Ray Johnson, through Nouveau Realism and the logic of hip hop.

 

Although deceptively playful on the surface, McGhee’s work deftly conflates visual space with political space, with rhythmic textures echoing cultural codes that mark boundaries of identity, class, geography. Used materials such as discarded wallpaper and found fabric recall not only mundane decorative patterns (that we normally cover walls and bodies with), but also networks of power that act as conduits for social and political realities.  The artist’s color palette often further reinforces this visual-political thread by employing blocks of green, black, red, and yellow–colors often used on flags or uniforms.

Eighty Blocks from Tiffany’s is curated by Jordan Martins