Xtreme Combines

Combines were a way to rethink sculpture, to make it new through a radical appetite for any and all things as the basic material of composition. Current combines foreground their source materials. You can tell that a page composed of clippings came from a bunch of pulp novels and that the pictures were once the lurid covers of trade paperbacks. This historical lineage is a cultural legacy. We see so much in the material properties of things. Their making shows us the attitudes of an era. Compositional techniques create work that hovers between parts and an integrated whole. We see the fragments and particles and the get the gestalt simultaneously. These are virtuoso performances, somewhere between assemblage and something more synthetic and disintegrated. The original combines had a great shock effect. They seemed to present things undigested. Real objects weren't removed enough from their original identity to show up on the stage as art. What were tires and goats and pieces of construction lumber doing in a sculpture? They were making associations and connections, and that's what real things still do when they are put into another form. They show us all the ways in which it is impossible to separate an object of any kind from the history of its making - a network of production histories, all interrelated and bound to the actual material of what's in the work, present, tactile, and tangible. Current combines force us to a reading of materials for all of their associations, conjuring phantom signs in the legible force field of their production. Carried to extremes, the combine form is highly provocative, and insists on the reading of the in-your-face features of its creation.

Gary Meres - Dead Man's Trail
Vik Muniz - Small Change (from Series Monads)
Nancy Davidson - Strapped-on
Liz Craft - Old Maid & Venice Witch & The Pony
David Humphrey - Moveable Wave Hutch
Elizabeth Turk - Untitled
Jessica Stockholder - Untitled
James Welty - All Things Hobble Together