Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Libby Black: Work Out" at the San Jose ICA

I managed to get to Libby Black's show at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art the day before it came down. I also managed to bring my dad, who lives in the area, as a belated Father's day sort of hang out. The cool thing about my dad is that even though he is not really into art, he has become fairly open-minded about it and says yes to whatever I invite him to.

I had never been to downtown San Jose, and my dad didn't even know about a lot of the stuff down there despite living in San Jose. I felt it was a successful attempt to do something new and engage San Jose's revamping efforts, passing by new restaurants and theaters. (Photo below from their website).

The ICA is a little brick building with lots of light and a few rooms to wander through. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that admission is always free! How classy! I also read later on their website that they have a print room open to the public as well as to artists finishing specific projects, and they have a cool little lounge open to anyone to come and read art publications and books they have on hand!

One of the exhibitions was still being prepped for an opening the next evening, so we really just checked out Libby Black's small weight room installation. Libby's work varies from paintings to paper sculptures that recreate original or made-up versions of high end fashion merchandise. She has made everything from Gucci canoes to an entire Kate Spade store, and for this exhibition she created an entire work out room with handcrafted paper weights, a bench press, a boombox, boxing gloves, etc.

I love how Libby's work is obviously patiently crafted out of paper and hot glue but maintains a playful, sort of wonky style through her hand-lettering and patterns. It suggests how important and unimportant a label really is to me.

Libby was the Studio Monitor at CCA when I was a Senior in undergrad. I was spoiled and had a bigger, better studio than everyone else which was situated right next to her office. I had the opportunity to watch her make her sculptures during her off times, and was always so infatuated with her process of making things that looked like so much fun. I try to remember that when I am hunched over a drawing, trying to get a detail right; you have to keep the fun in there, too.

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