Matt Mullican has been busy creating his own world in a multitude of different media since graduating from Cal Arts in 1974. His current exhibition at Galerie Micheline Szwajcer continues this constructive process. The front room is filled with banners and scale models done under hypnosis, that investigate the workings of the subconscious. The short lived Abstract Expressionist movement pursued a similar process, but, theirs was an
unquestioned outpouring of the inner spirit.
Mullican and his dreamscape contemporaries such as Johnathan Borofsky, Jim Shaw, and Mike Kelley reject this notion. Instead, they continually question, trying to come to an understanding of our motivation. In his black and white banners, Mullican tries to make metric conversions that just don’t seem to make sense. But, at least he’s trying. Being a concerned citizen, he outlines a path to follow should an emergency develop. This too sputters and spurts along with wry humor. And, in the end, suggests it’s probably best to call 911 for help.
In the second room of the gallery, Mullican ventures into the new territory of the digitally altered light box. Deeply mysterious in their abstracted form, it’s hard to phantom their position in his new world order. Two pieces come close to making suggestions. Photos of trees have been altered so that the leaves resemble guitar picks, fingernails, or the plastic “feathers” on darts. These have then been treated to a camouflage coloration to help them blend into their green surroundings. Most telling, however, is the shadow they cast. Reminding us that no matter how much we try to fit in, we still cast a shadow on the world. And, it’s this shadow that we must remain mindful of.
Matt Mullican at Galerie Micheline Szwajcer through May 3, 2008