Exhibition: She Said

Vivienne Griffin She Said February 22 - March 22 2015

image of a white alabaster stone cut into a rectangular column with pink hue at the bottom, sitting on a blank black background.

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.

An alabaster disc rests on top of a stone plinth, placed in front of a large floor window looking out onto a snowy street with a red car parked at the distance. The disc is lit from behind with the daylight and has an airbrushed spray of pink and blue watercolor on the surface.

Intimacy, 2015, Alabaster, watercolor, limestone, 25 ¾ × 19 ½ × 9 ¼ in. 

In the corner of a white gallery is a tall steel and stone plinth with another rectangular block of alabaster sitting on top, there is an illuminated light bulb also sitting on the plinth with its wire running down to the floor.

The Bastardisation of Dawn, 2014-2015, Alabaster, fluorescent acrylic paint, light bulb, limestone, lacquered steel, 57 ¼ × 12 ½ × 10 in.

A view down the gallery hallway. A framed ink drawing on the right hand wall of a steel trash can. Down the hall in the main gallery we see several steel frame plinths with objects atop them as well as another framed drawing at a distance.
At left: Atop a blue stone and steel plinth sits a rectangular block of white alabaster. There is a triangular piece of the alabaster cut from the block, and on the bottom is a gradient of pink acrylic paint. To the right of this sculpture is an ink drawing in a white frame with black ink fill on the whole page aside a large, sans serif, hand written text which is written from the negative space left, which reads 'PEACE AND LOVE MOTHER FUCKERS'
Image of the floor - white washed wooden floor boards, laid out at an angle, meeting at a diagonal across the photo, with a small trapezoidal shape removed along the center, which has been replaced by alabaster which has been tinted with light blue watercolor.
Installation view of a black ink drawing on white paper framed in white at the back wall, in front of which is a set of steel and black marble square stools, one of which is supporting a large marble stone perforated by a hold, through which a long golden chain is threaded.
Ink drawing on paper of a modern three-leg coffee table with a circular glass top against a blank white background, framed in a white frame.

Coffee Table, 2015, India ink on paper, 27 ½ × 19 ½ in.

Installation view of 2 sculptures and 3 drawings. At left on the floor is a dark stone with natural edges which has a hole drilled through the top right corner where a large hoop earring pierces the stone, to the right, there is a rectangular plinth made of think steel legs with a blue stone top, on top of it sits a rectangular block of white alabaster, on the bottom is a gradient of pink acrylic paint. The three framed drawings behind on the wall are painted with black ink on white paper and from left depict a piece of the mineral pyrite, a golden bracelet and a typical bathroom faucet.
A large stone with natural edges sits on a wooden gallery floor, the stone has a hole drilled through the top right corner where a large hoop earring pierces the stone.

The Glamour of Ornament 2, 2015, Polyphant stone, gold hoop, 14 × 11 × 6 ½ in.

Atop a blue stone and steel plinth sits a rectangular block of white alabaster. There is a triangular piece of the alabaster cut from the block, and it is resting on its side atop block of memory foam pressing into the foam.

The Nostalgia of an Object, 2014-2015, Alabaster, memory foam, limestone, lacquered steel, 46 ¾ × 10 ½ × 10 ½ in.

In the corner of a gallery there are a series of three speakers directly on the floor, wires messily strewn about, to the left is a sculpture of a large chunk of stone with a cast metal microphone piercing it, to the right a sculpture of a metal and stone plinth with a cylindrical piece of alabaster, lit from behind by a lightbulb, with airbrushed tones of pink and blue on the face.

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.