David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in Frieze London 2017 with a solo presentation of new paintings and sculptures by Texas-born, Los Angeles-based artist Will Boone. Generating content from an unlikely array of sources––including punk subcultures, industrial manufacturing processes, and the visual vernaculars of cattle ranches and barrooms––Boone makes works whose concision and graphic power is matched by their palpable physicality.
The paintings on view represent the culmination of a series in which Boone uses stencils to create compositions inspired in part by sigils, rune-like symbols employed in esoteric rituals. Combining all the letters of a word into a single compressed form, sigils are a kind of writing designed to circumvent the conscious mind and appeal to latent, non-rational forces. In these new works, however, even the original letters are often barely discernible, and in several cases they are obscured altogether. Boone has instead begun to incorporate other materials and objects into their surfaces, employing resin, for instance, as both a painterly medium and an adhesive for the cloth-like flags, made from vinyl and nylon, that make an appearance in each work.
The flags’ woven textures and metal grommets––not to mention the emblems or designs printed on some of them––disrupt the uniformity of the canvas ground and give the paintings their characteristic grittiness, while also providing a clue about the kind of information they communicate. Like flags, paintings are both image and object at once; anyone who encounters a flag knows what they are seeing, even if they do not know what it symbolizes. This knowing is neither entirely subconscious nor wholly linguistically aware, but suggests, rather, that abstract forms can make an immediate appeal to the senses. Boone locates such forms throughout the cultural landscape, paying particular attention to those signs that emerge from social contexts with no clear association to art historical narratives; each aesthetic choice is rooted in the everyday world. In the new paintings, for instance, he has made use of paints fetishized by the classic car community, as well as Day-Glo colors that were lingua franca among skateboarders in the 1980s.
Taken as a whole, Boone’s work serves as a repository for archetypal, if fragmentary, expressions of contemporary life. This takes literal form in new sculptures that provide the other axis of his presentation at Frieze. Beginning with broken plastic miniatures sourced from swap meets and hobby suppliers, Boone creates dramatically scaled-up versions of objects whose status as cheap tokens and kitschy commodities is thereby replaced with newfound gravity. This process involves 3D digital modeling and traditional, hands-on manipulation of the foam dummies and lost wax models that result; the final objects are cast in bronze and hand-painted in a style that can be read as oddly slapdash, given their physical solidity. Each is unique: a one-off, bootleg monument to something that was mass-produced and subsequently discarded by a civilization addicted to throwing things away. The figures they depict evoke comic books, sports legends, and natural history dioramas––scenes indicative of an entire spectrum of American fantasies and fears.
Despite the ephemeral nature of their sources the sculptures retain a timeless familiarity that has more in common with classical statuary than the abjection or pop-inflected cynicism of much recent art. A detached arm of Frankenstein, mounted on a metal support like an ancient shard displayed in a museum, underscores this connection. But this does not mean the work functions as a relic. It is instead a testament to the artist’s ability to bring new life to the inert materials scattered around us, and to identify the human capacity for language and meaning in the seemingly mute things of the material world.
Will Boone (b. 1982, Houston, Texas) will have his first solo exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery in June 2018. Other recent solo exhibitions include shows at Karma, New York (2017) and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2014). Group shows include Desert X 2017, Coachella Valley, California (2017); White Trash, Luhring Augustine Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York (2017); Prototypology, Gagosian Gallery, Rome (2016); Fétiche, Venus Over Manhattan, New York (2016); In Different Ways, Almine Rech, London (2016); and Love For Three Oranges, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels (2015). Boone lives and works in Los Angeles.