Visual Arts Program
 


Friday, November 11, 2011 — Friday, December 23, 2011

Joel Brenden

Completely Speculative

Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>
Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>
Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>
Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>
Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>
Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>
Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>
Joel Brenden - <em>Completely Speculative</em>

Joel Brenden
Almost a small-scale survey, Completely Speculative will bring together various works by Buffalo artist Joel Brenden in an illustration of a conceptually-based practice that extends to drawing, sculpture, bookmaking, graphic design, typography and illustration. Since Brenden utilizes various points of departure between various works, the exhibition serves as an open question regarding the meaning and location of his ideas, his speculative inquiries.

In some cases, Brenden's work hovers in the dubious spaces of memory, as with Mr Owl, Donatello, Pikachu, Bowser, Webby VanderQuack …, a a mural-sized drawing installation in which the artist draws every two-dimensional cartoon character he can name by memory. In a parallel work that negates the function of memory, Brenden's Dreamhouse mural is a series of black and white wet ink drawings based on images found via a Google image search for "dream house." While the former is a project that creates simple line drawings entirely from memory, the latter's renditions are so evocative that they read as memories, despite being derived from specific image sources. The actual memory is presented as a hard, defined line, the non-memory referent as a dreamy icon.

Other times, Brenden's speculations center on the notion of the "prosumer"—a conflation of the consumer and the professional—as with his Daycase, a sculptural prototype for a moble, multi-purpose console. A white, acrylic case with multiple compartments that serve as lunch holder, personal organizer, and leisure/space space, the Daycase functions—or at least suggests that it functions—as an analog Macbook. In a series of photo-realist Worker drawings that complement the Daycase, Brenden depicts ambiguous moments—not so much work, as the fleeting instances of nothing much that exist within the space of work. The moments of fulsome and poetic possibility.

In these and other works, Brenden collapses nostalgia and memory with various modes of representation and, often, the elusive notion of the future, and all that implies. It may be dreams realized or deferred, or futuristic notions that never had a hope of coming true, or future desires still potentially open for fulfillment. Wholly speculative, certainly. Dubious, perhaps.

Joel Brenden holds an M.F.A. in Visual Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was a Dean's Scholar and Teaching Assistant, and a B.F.A. in Drawing at Central Washington University. In 2010 and 2011 he was a Resident Artist at Just Buffalo Literary Center where he taught book design. Along with exhibiting his conceptually-based projects, Brenden works as a freelance designer and instructor in photography, blogs at Tumblr, and posts his photography at Flickr. He lives and works in Buffalo, NY, on the second floor.

www.joelbrenden.com


Some publications related to this event:
JOEL BRENDEN: COMPLETELY SPECULATIVE - 2011