Exhibition: She Said
Vivienne Griffin She Said February 22 - March 22 2015
Griffin's second solo show for Bureau comprises a suite of new ink drawings, carved and embellished stone works, a set of plinths in steel and marble, and an evanescent sound track. Her earlier drawings featured striking portraits of movie starlets and evocatively ambivalent phrases. Her new drawings are similarly bold, depicting standard objects from industrial design: a sink faucet, a coffee table, an office chair rendered in confident strokes of India ink. These drawings, like the portraits and catch phrases, invite an interchangeability suggesting a sterile and cold distance to her subject while also revealing a clearly fetishistic attention.
Griffin often disturbs a sombre seriousness with humorous, affected moves. A text work with an iridescent wash exclaims, "Peace and Love Motherfuckers", a tongue in cheek jab at the political slogans and conceptual practices of the 1960s. Small, semi-translucent works of alabaster catch the light and shine, but Griffin has disturbed their natural clarity by painting facets of the conscientiously cut stones. Inserting a painted highlight of day-glow pink they produce a "realer than real" experience of light hitting a natural object.
Around the space the crime of ornament is played out as staid depictions of modernist chairs and tables line the walls and bear witness. Dark grey-green soapstone blocks evoke the figuration of the smiley face. Perched on pedestals their bored eyelets are strung with cheap curb chain ornamentation, pierced and violated by adornments of junk gold. These absurdly embellished stones exist on the line between art and style, portraiture and decoration. Meanwhile the ideal gold bracelet, depicted on paper, remains safely encased, hanging above.
Griffin's lengthy, meandering backing track to the exhibition features deep, low register rumbles and other minimal drones. Intermittent female voices in breathtaking harmonies take the mic with lovelorn lyrics from "How Could I Be Such A Fool," sung in anachronistic polyphony. The translation of Zappa's blues into sublime choral soprano recalls the transposition of Sarah Kane's devastating words into desensitized, vocoder-speak in Griffin's first exhibition. Griffin's sound, like the installation itself, combines impressionistic, abstract notes of color and tone, with assertive phrasing of emotional content that rests somewhere between expression and sarcasm.
Vivienne Griffin (b. 1975, Dublin, lives and works in London UK) received an MFA from Hunter College, supported by a Fulbright grant, and received her BFA at Crawford College, Cork, Ireland. Recent solo projects include The Nostalgia of an Object and the Pain of Glass at the Round Gallery, Vilnius Lithuania and Like Nature But Not at Four to Seven, Riga, Latvia. She collaborates with artist Cian McConn on the project Practique Actuelle, most recently for Lina Lapelyte's performance Hunky Bluff at the Serpentine, London. Her work is currently included in the group show Two Different Ways to do Two Different Things curated by Susanna Callegari at Kristen Lorello gallery.
Intimacy, 2015, Alabaster, watercolor, limestone, 25 ¾ × 19 ½ × 9 ¼ in.
The Bastardisation of Dawn, 2014-2015, Alabaster, fluorescent acrylic paint, light bulb, limestone, lacquered steel, 57 ¼ × 12 ½ × 10 in.
Coffee Table, 2015, India ink on paper, 27 ½ × 19 ½ in.
The Glamour of Ornament 2, 2015, Polyphant stone, gold hoop, 14 × 11 × 6 ½ in.
The Nostalgia of an Object, 2014-2015, Alabaster, memory foam, limestone, lacquered steel, 46 ¾ × 10 ½ × 10 ½ in.
The Only Way Out is Out, 2015, 2-channel audio, 30:33, installation
This exhibition is supported in part by Culture Ireland. Sound production: Vocals by Katrina Damigos, vocal production by Zab Spencer Music, samples from London based duo Girls, mastered by George Haskell.