Monday, 30 June 2014

Nick Darmstaedter

Its a really fertile time in American art right now. Not in the auction rooms, where prices continue to soar and Abstract becomes increasingly abstract, but in the shared studios of Brooklyn and Culver City, where young talents are making provocative, interested work and finding new ways to support each other and show their work. The Still House Group is a Red Hook, Brooklyn-based collective whose members are in their late twenties and early thirties and who have resisted the usual career path of successive art schools and studio assistant roles, and instead banded together to show their work and share it however they can. Perhaps the most interesting member of the gang, to our eyes at least, is LA transplant Nick Darmstaedter, a selection of whose work is shown here. His 'oxidised penny' series from 2012 got him noticed, but its these fridge magnet and steel and industrial insulation material works which really stands out. The magnet works are kaleidoscopic Pop snapshots of contemporary and kitsch American culture, with Darmstaedter freely admitting that chance and imperfection play a big role in his work, As ever, the pages of a website don't do justice to the strangely mesmeric nature of the work, and the scale, colour and details of the actual works are striking. And then there's the insulation work, which to our eyes are wry yet austere modern Minimalist gems, again rooted in reverence for every day American materials, the industrial surfaces pared perfectly, the pastel colours offset by the walls of brushed steel which subtly reflect their environment, and the screenprinted trademarks and logos nodding to Ed Ruscha's gnomic sayings.