Graham Gallery, 1014 Madison Avenue, NYC, March 7- April 6, 2002

Press Release

B I K I N I S , B A N D A N A S and a V W B U S

March 7, 2002 - April 6, 2002

James Graham & Sons is pleased to announce an exhibition of new sculptures by Devorah Sperber. The exhibition will be held on the gallery's third floor and will open with a cocktail reception for the artist on Thursday, March 7th and will run through Saturday, April 6, 2002. Sperber, who has exhibited widely in museums across the United States, was featured this past summer in the gallery's group show, Alterations. This exhibition is her first solo show with the gallery.

Bikinis, Bandanas and a VW Bus consists of sculptural works constructed from thousands of colored push-pins and flower-power stickers. When viewed from a distance or with the aid of convex mirrors, these materials function as low-tech pixels that coalesce into photo-realist renderings of icons which entered popular culture in the 1960s and 70s. As David Brooks has noted in his book, Bobos in Paradise, these icons continue to have a strong presence in contemporary culture due to the influence of "Counter-Culture Capitalist" baby boomers who now hold positions of power as CEOs, advertising executives, and designers.

Sperber begins her sculptures with images from photographs and drawings which have been digitized, manipulated and translated into color-coded pixel diagrams. However, the artist strives to "dumb-down" the technology by her use of labor-intensive assembly processes and prosaic materials. With the full-scale VW bus, Sperber worked out color-coded diagrams and obsessively applied 60,000 machine-cut flowers made from Chartpak Colored Film onto clear vinyl shower curtains, chosen for their height and ability to mimic the boxy shape of the van. Seen up close, the exuberant, hippy-style imagery on the van fades in and out of view as the eye shifts focus through the translucent curtains, but when seen through a convex mirror, suddenly the flower pixels snap sharply into view. The end result is an image of a VW bus that is space-filling yet transparent, present but fleeting, not unlike the ideals of the 60s in the minds of many baby boomers today.

The bikinis and bandanas are constructed from thousands of Moore Push-Pin map- tacks inserted into clear vinyl. These have an undulating, cloth-like appearance when seen from a distance and a surprisingly menacing quality seen close-up, especially in works where the pin side faces out. Initially all of the works appear to be three-dimensional but on closer inspection some are entirely flat. The bikini patterned as the American flag first emerged in the 1970s; seen today, it can be interpreted as either patriotic or subversive. In all of her work, Sperber explores the effects of digital technology on issues of perception, scale, and subjective reality. Her repetitive and obsessive handcrafting and interest in cultural iconography both subverts and humanizes that technology.

**Colored Film donated by Charpak

***Partial funding by Moore Push-Pin Company

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