Monday, November 30, 2009

RELAX: David Ford at the Dolphin Gallery

David Ford's new show that recently opened at the Dolphin gives us a recent American history lesson while telling us to relax, we will rebuild America,  be it with fear,  and cheap labor.

The show consist of paintings, drawings, sculptures, performances, installations and even Taco's for sale. Entering the first room of the show I encountered a magic carpet ride, right through a wall, with a Turkish rug literally cutting its imprint on western society.  While the drawings and paintings seem to be brief cursor views into a colonial and 1960's America.  To the left is a small model plane crashed high on the wall.  Concrete blocks and cotton filler peek around the corner.  A dolly sits ready with concrete blocks.

Entering the main exhibition space I found a concrete structure building being built by Mexican labors, while a mariachi band played, and tacos where being sold.  The atmosphere was one of relaxed labor. A casualness filled the air, but dangling to the right of me I found white chains holding the tails or fins clipped from small planes.  The paintings seemed to be of this same world of relaxation, and wonderment, filled with slight anxiety. The words on the paintings seemed to be saying relax, but there seemed to be an anxiousness to how they where written and screaming back at me. White chains roll off one painting, bringing reminders of the slave trade that built America. Though Tom Cruise's name floated one of the paintings to distract me from my anxiety.  Having seen Tom Cruises name written as tag in midtown two years ago I laughed, but seeing it painted now changed it for me, reminding me of pop culture distractions.

While the atmosphere of the show was celebratory and cheerful I still had to think of the white chains of the past that are still present. How were still fighting wars in two countries, and that we don't have health care. Then I told myself to set aside my anxiety about the future and, and just relax, drink a beer and watch the new America take shape.

On View till January 9, 2010

DOLPHIN  1600 Liberty St  
Kansas City MO  64102  
PH 816.842.4415 

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