Aaron Storck, Aye-yo FUCK concepts in installation, 2012, Mixed Media.

Audience and Installation Energy Meet, Congratulations are in Order

Nicole Mauser, The Fresh Flesh, 2012, Acrylic, oil and printed canvas collage on canvas,

David Ford, It's a Small World After All (bend all scores slightly), Detail, 2012, Mixed Media.

Matt Jacobs, Finefornow, 2011, wood, pool toys, paint sticks, fingerguards, grommets, chain, wire, hardware.


Nine 11 Studio and Exhibition Space
911 Wyoming
Kansas City
April 20-May 18, 2012
Open by appointment


Absorbing the energy of its audience, this exhibition of 19 artists’ has the look and feel of an amusement park. You can almost smell the fried dough. Everywhere you turn there is height, depth, color and sound. It doesn’t matter where you start or end up; any direction is the right one. Each piece implores you to pay attention to “Me! Me! Me!” This show needs people to traverse in and around the full-scale installations that dominate this one-time warehouse, but once engaged the works’ individual personalities become evident. This show is big, silly, strange, engaging, a bit raw, and like Worlds of Fun or Coney Island, should not be enjoyed alone.

Richard Tuttle might have a coronary amongst the cacophony of scale and line in this room. One wrong move from an observer could wreak havoc, but maneuvering the room is its appeal. These structures and paintings exemplify the DIY aspect that is front and center to this show. Cory Imig continues to explore methods of tension and stress, (Compression Test to Determine Compressive Strength, 2012, wood, stain, polyurethane, balloons) which on its own imparts a self-actualization in and of itself. In this space it portends to the environment in which exists the culmination of so many precariously placed objects. Tread carefully or you might trip over one of Matt Jacobs’ smaller pool toy and coffee can pieces. Strategically located throughout the room, they’re footnotes to his larger work (Finefornow, 2011, wood, pool toys, paint sticks, finger guards, grommets, chain, wire, hardware) as well as that of his fellow artists.

Aaron Storcks’Aye-yo FUCK “concepts in installation” (2012, mixed media) is the nadir of its Zen garden façade. A rough-hewn cloister of plants and water is the yin to the yang of Storck’s looped recording viciously berating his own process. The entire thing is a coy promise of peace and tranquility as arranged by a schizophrenic, sans Thorazine. Conversely, It’s a Small World After All “bend all scores slightly” (David Ford, 2012, Mixed media) propagates all the feelings of a small universe — rotating planet-like terrarium and terra firma below ° is a beautifully convoluted mix of Valhalla meets Koke-dera (“moss temple”).

A series of paintings are shown on the room’s raised level (and yes, you get a map when you come in to figure what and by whom is on view). For Nicole Mauser, THE FRESH FLESH, (2012, acrylic, oil, and printed canvas collage on canvas) is a new piece and something of an evolution towards more precise and rigorous structuring of color fields. David Rhoads’Bombardment (2011, oil on hinged canvases) forms a “vee” and is approached by yellow parking stripes on the floor that were already in place during its warehouse days. A bit like taxiing down a runway — Boom! — you hit a wall of his colored circles on black and green backgrounds that remind me of Warhol’s 1964 Flower paintings. It’s a nice pop of Pop. New work from Hank Hafkmeyer, Max Crutcher, Jaclyn Senne and Madeline Gallucci also bring a smart perspective to the installations below.

The show’s one sore spot for me is the inclusion of Dylan Mortimer’s God Hooks My Ass Up (2010, glitter and cardboard). Not because it isn’t a good piece, it is and part of a terrific series, but has been seen in other shows at other galleries and doesn’t feel as fresh as everything else in the room. While it holds the wall just where it’s needed, in a space that is so otherwise maxed out with new work and ideas it seems superfluous.

You can see the organization and camaraderie that had to exist in order for Congrats not to end up a miasma of tension and ego. Arranged by visual artists Sean Thomas Blott and Mitch Kirkwood, Congrats is disengaged from any link to commerce or commerciality; a donated space that draws upon favorite artists, both emerging and established, to make it whole. The objects carefully transmit the idea that sculpture, painting and installation can blur together harmoniously. The environment infers, in the words of curator, critic and academic Robert Storr, a “definite but not definitive point of view”.

Aaron Storck, Aye-yo FUCK concepts in installation, 2012, Mixed Media.


David Rhoads, Bombardment, 2011, Oil on hinged canvases.