Paul Keefe

Lane Meyer Projects is pleased to present Take a Penny, Leave a Penny, a solo show featuring artworks by Paul Keefe

May 24, 2019 - June 24, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday May 24th, 6 - ?pm

The work on display features an array of artworks in various mediums including video, sculpture, and printmaking. These seemingly disparate approaches to making art are the result of inquiries into the phenomenology of art. What are the functions of value, beauty and humor? How do they work together to form our perception of an artwork? How do they live together within a work of art?

Several pieces in the exhibition employ ordinary materials to upend conventions of value. Sculptures crafted from ice, staples, and foam address the potential for beauty in these often discarded and abundant materials. They form the basis for an argument which situates value- not in the quality of materials used- but in the ability of the artist to transform material. Many of these artworks also have a precarious relationship with time. Although they can be rebuilt, they are subject to change. What exactly makes a work of art precious? Does an objects’ lifespan affect its inherent and assumed value?

Printmaking, casting, video, and the act of using a stapler, are processes which have been selected for their ability to mechanically reproduce objects, removing the idiosyncratic marks of the artists’ “hand” and replacing them with an emphasis on conceptual intent. These processes stretch our understanding of authenticity and call upon the viewer to assess the role of value in our perception of artworks.

An absurd sense of humor permeates the work in Take a Penny, Leave a Penny. A flawed, nonsensical logic has been incorporated into the design of each work with the intention of discovering new ways to make and present artwork. In the sculpture, Press Release, 10,000 copies of the press release are neatly stacked, replacing the gallery pedestal (designed to hold press releases) with the object itself. This slapstick gesture is a comedic approach to transform the commonplace object into an autonomous sculpture.

While much of the work possesses a humorous -and at times satirical- quality, a sincere pursuit of beauty pervades the work. In Peter Schjeldahl’s essay, Notes on Beauty, he describes beauty as complex, never pure, and always mixed up with something else. The artworks on display address beauty as an objective experience, triggered by a combination of mental and visual stimuli. Rather than adhering to a single aesthetic or insisting upon a particular taste, beauty is sought through the challenging, surprising, and unexpected moments that redirect the flow of our feelings, heighten our awareness, and produce joy.