Keer Tanchak, kOde, 2011, oil on aluminum, 19 x 33.75".

Josh Bienko, ARTTRAPS, Looping DVD, edition of 3.

Remasters – Appropriation as Ready Access to Art History

Erin O’Keefe (from top), Aqua Grey Pink God Light, 2011, 22.5 x 22.5", archival inkjet print; Grey, Aqua, Red, Sidelight, 2011, 22.5 x 22.5", archive inkjet print; and Yellow Grey Orange God Light, 2011, 22.5 x 22.5", archival inkjet print.


Plug Projects
1613 Genessee Street
Kansas City
Work by Josh Bienko, Erin O'Keefe, Keer Tanchak, and Travis Shaffer

November 18, 2011-January 7, 2012

Remasters highlights artists whose work is not only colored by, but directly referencing art ancestry. Artists chosen for this show acknowledge the influence of their predecessors, and embrace the nature of art and culture as cumulative. They create work that is unmistakably contemporary, while simultaneously appreciating and commenting on work that “came before.” When discussing the artists in Remasters, it is important to analyze their positions on appropriation. As Nicolas Bourriaud says, “Appropriation constructs a lineage between forms, signs and images.” This view is strongly apparent to the artists in the exhibition who use this practice as a model for building conceptual direction. The separation between their practices becomes an issue of semantics as they start to become either “borrowers” or “samplers.”

New York native Joshua Bienko exposes the fetishistic nature of sports, music, and fashion through stylistically diverse drawings, paintings, photography, and video works. His practice often references popular cultural icons such as contemporary artists, poster pinup girls, rap songs, and sports logos. He is currently a Professor at Texas A&M University located in College Station, Texas, where he lives and works. At PLUG, Bienko’s Artraps pay homage to hip-hop practices and how it samples both popular rhythms and social images. His videos respond to the YouTube culture where his “remixes” of history become personal commentary. Bienko is hosting the Rap Battle at 8 p.m. the night of the opening and is a participant in the panel discussion on November 19.

Erin O’Keefe is a visual artist living and working in New York City. In addition to her fine art career, she is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the New York Institute of Technology. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in the US and abroad; it is included in museum and corporate collections including the San Francisco MOMA and the Progressive Corporation. It is apparent to any art enthusiast that Erin O’Keefe looks at Albers, but the substantial meat to her photos relates to the palettes of the Italian Renaissance. Whereas Albers explores how the relationship of color influences perception, O’Keefe’s photos depict simulated spaces that emit actual light physical presence. The resulting images are photos that represent abstract paintings hovering between illusion and recognizable space.

Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Keer Tanchak has also lived throughout Canada and in Munster, Germany. She received an MFA with fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003 and a BFA with distinction from Concordia University in Montreal in 2000. Tanchak won the Artist Fellowship Award from the Illinois Arts Council in 2009 and the Studio Arts award at Concordia University for most outstanding graduating student in 2000. Since graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Tanchak has been living and painting in Chicago. Tanchak’s contemporary handling of paint and material transform the Marie Antoinette-esque appropriations of Watteau and Fragonard into modern personae. The suggestion of the laissez-faire leisure of the pre-french revolutionaries inserted into contemporary context seems pointedly appropriate and provokes the viewer to consider the fate of those aristocrats as a history perhaps not desirable to repeat. Tanchak will be joining us on November 18 for the opening and doing studio visits with selected artists in Kansas City.

Travis Shaffer was born in rural Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas where he is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. He received an MFA from the University of Kentucky in 2010. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Texas Tech University, Lubbock (2010); Land of Tomorrow Gallery, Louisville (2010) and Institute 193, Lexington (2010). The photographs and books of Shaffer present repeated phases of appropriation by using conceptual structures borrowed from Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ed Ruscha and the reconfiguration of Google Map images.

Travis Shaffer, Eleven Mega Churches, 2009, 9 x 9", Digital igment Print, 5 + AP.