What do Tide detergent boxes, Ronald McDonald, cute pictures of kittens and the marginally dressed little girl from old sunscreen commercials have in common? They are all part of contemporary culture and made a sparkling appearance in Eric Hibit‘s Picture Cohesion. Doug McClemont of Daily Magazine once wrote Hibit is “one to watch”. And, Hibit’s return to the city of his undergraduate alma mater, Corcoran College of Art and Design, for his first area show at Curator’s Office proves McClermont right. When I walked into Curator’s Office, Hibit’s found and hand made objects practically jumped off the wall right into my arms — I actually did want to take home the handbag and jewelry. I couldn’t look away from his wonderfully ornamented painting constructions, which acted as the main focus of the exhibition. Eric Hibit has successfully captured my full attention, which, now that I think about it, is a rare feat.
The fluorescent colors and sparkling pop iconography, with glittering surfaces, instantly bring to mind the all-too-familiar, aggressive decadence of the 1980’s. The mixed media installation, Display of Elements, and sculptural paintings capturing the aura and iconography of popular areas such as Times Square and McDonalds presented an almost overwhelming amount to absorb. The heavy ornamentation and bold, almost shocking palette of Eric Hibit’s work is reminiscent of the outwardly emotional, highly energetic art of the Baroque era, infused with the proof that consumerism has spread into pretty much every other aspect of contemporary life. The artist’s featured works on paper flirt with kitschy, camp and playful aesthetics.
Hibit’s inclination toward embellishment instantly caused the rarely used term ‘Rococo‘ to pop into my head. The ornate, loud and playful late Baroque style seamlessly melds with the 80’s opulence and the modern consumerism present in the exhibition. Hibit’s work combines seemingly opposing cultural distinctions such as good and bad taste, high and low class and wholesome and provocative. The mixed media painting of a D.I.L.F. grouped closely with a painting of an innocent looking bumblebee, a flower and a not so innocent painting titled Anal Babes results in a physical conflation of symbols and icons. A bedazzled necklace of the famous golden arches, America’s most popular and somewhat controversial fast food joint was part of Hibit’s Display of Elements installation and changed the perception of McDonalds from a greasy fast food place to a sparkling entity, merging class distinctions. Picture Cohesion is a statement attesting to influential nature of consumerism and the urban environment in regards to the art making process.
Picture Cohesion was on view at Curator’s Office through October 23rd, 2010. To top of this exhibition, last night, Curator’s Office became a chapel to “venerate the elements” of Eric Hibit’s exhibition by candlelight, a seemingly apt method to revisit and revere the many levels of belief present in the work.