Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tony Oursler at Metro

Cell Phones Diagrams Cigarettes Searches and Scratch Cards
28 February - 11 April 2009

Tony Oursler, whom I first posted about back in 2006, has another show up at Metro Pictures, and again, it's a wow. He is an artist who applies voice over or soundscapes as he projects moving images onto objects. The gallery was packed, as it was the first time I saw Oursler, and filled with little sounds of delight. Coming in out of the bright sun into the dark gallery one is immediately met with the following cigarette forest:
There is an accompanying sound track of the wheezy inhalation and crackle of a chain smoker (a sound this viewer knows intimately). The photo doesn't do the room justice--the projections onto the columns blink and crackle as if one is in a smoke-filled room, the sound creeping up one's neck like a slim grey mink.

The next room has the following set of faces in descending order, opining and expressing:
There is also, in this room, a talking Lincoln on a $5 bill, and several other smaller objects. "Purple Browser" a panel of collage and acrylic paint with a small screen embedded was particularly surprising. Given the scale of this show what is even more surprising is that there are so many levels of engagement here, and so many variations of mixed media.

The next room has on the floor a series of those scratch and win lottery tickets as in the short video below. The frenetic scratching comes to feel like many small mice scratching at the wall...a sensation that replicates the desperation of those waiting in line for their lottery tickets. It's a particularly depressing image, one that Oursler nails.

But none of these images actually does the show justice--you need to go and see it.

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