Brian Bress, Creative Ideas for Every Season (video still), 2010
Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles

Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Brian Bress

March 23 2012
10:35 AM

Brian Bress’s art confronts its viewer with grotesque interpretations of the various guises of the stereotypical American “persona.” His works often form around a caricatural protagonist— a boxer, a diver—whose activities are deliberately staged as somewhat unsuccessful performances. As the title of his recent show at Cherry and Martin suggests, “Under Performing” is a method in its own right for Bress, the desired outcome of his choreographed video-portraits. These works embrace the artistic tradition of low-budget aesthetic and abject value systems that emerged in the 1970s as an unfiltered distortion of TV consumer culture, social malady and subject-centered narratives. “Under Performing” plays on the underproduced nature of Bress’s expression, its lo-fi quality constituting the very essence of his practice. Where the outcome of the performance, or the visual manifestation of the art work as a complete product, is “underachieved,” the emphasis shifts on the very desire for communication. “Status Report,” the New York première of Bress’s work at New Museum, continues to play on this proposition, exploring issues of spatial representation and the construction of the cultural and subjective “self.”                (Marta Jecu)

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