Volume II, Issue I
With work by:
Meet the Schwarzes
Volume II, Issue I: DB14
The 2014 Dallas Biennial
Reflecting on our first year of existence, it is clearer than ever that semigloss. functions primarily as a fluid entity, evolving freely with each installment. Throughout the past four issues, this publication has simultaneously existed as part curated exhibition, part art object, and part forum for conceptual and aesthetic discourse. Each faction has served to more deeply and intentionally expand the potential for both the experiential practice of contemporary art and the print medium, all within an increasingly digitized visual culture.
When Jesse Morgan Barnett and Michael Mazurek first proposed a collaboration with the Dallas Biennial for our fifth issue, the idea immediately seemed like a perfect opportunity to seamlessly integrate our already naturally compatible, individual conceptual and aesthetic identities. Even more so, it appealed to a broader desire for semigloss. to continue its growth as an avenue for experimentation in an organic and meaningful way, rather than attempt to define or limit ourselves based solely on what we’ve produced thus far. Barnett and Mazurek explain in their statement about the project:
We started the Dallas Biennial (DB) in 2011 with the idea that as artists, the act of curation, among other things (in fact all production/action/inaction) functions as an extension of art practice. We value the format of the international biennial in its potential as an advocate for artists. It’s a beginning point. DB however is not limited to its origins as an exhibition— not in terms of convention, length, scale, location, scope, end product, or lack thereof. The format suits our investigation into the broader context of art making.
A YBA once said in an interview, as a recent graduate of art school, that he didn’t know what to “make”, so then anything he did was thus his “product.” He also felt that he wouldn’t sit idle, but rather he would contribute to culture creation, “not leaving it in the hands of others.” This is how we view DB. It will continue to examine art production, display, culture, and foremost the discourse of these actions. Its shape will evolve. For us the importance of the project is rooted in its beginnings as a product of artists. This is fundamental, regardless of the organic nature of its inevitable evolution.
Opening the issue are the hyper-surreal images of Danish artist Asger Carlsen, which are at once stunningly gorgeous and bizarre. His uncanny black-and-white photographic manipulations depict scenes and figures that alternately evoke emotions of profound alienation and vulnerability as well as the banal absurdity of the human experience. Working through similar parallels between life and art, To be Loved, an essay by Devin King, posits a contemporized interpretation of the problem of unrequited love presented in Shakespere’s “All’s Well That Ends Well.” King’s structurally poetic explication of this literary classic playfully likens a case of unreciprocated affections to failures of aesthetic engagement.
Requiring a more potent mode of visual and conceptual engagement is Lana Paninchul’s series Dog Shit, in which several directly composed, full-color photographs, feature forms of dog feces resting upon nests of natural materials, such as grass and hay. Preceded by what one could assume is a technical or veterinary description of the particular dog from which these bodily manifestations originated, Paninchul uses this connection with animals as allegory, challenging the viewer to question the relationships we have with our own physical being.
In working together to curate a collection of work by artists and writers hand-chosen by the Dallas Biennial to accompany an ambitious series of expertly organized exhibitions taking place in a variety of venues around Dallas/Fort Worth over the last several months, this issue of semigloss. has itself been effectively transformed into an exhibition space befitting an international biennial. Acting in this case as both host and dialogical partner, instead of simply a unilateral dictator of content and form, our collaborative efforts with DB14 create positively unexpected and provocative conversations surrounding the state of contemporary art and curatorial practice, successfully bringing a new complexity and dynamic interaction to the stimulating work contained within.
--Sally Glass, Editor-in-Chief