Greene Naftali Gallery is pleased to present the first New York exhibition of Guyton \ Walker, the collaboration of Tennessee born, New York based artists Wade Guyton & Kelley Walker. Titled "The Failever of Judgement Part III," the exhibition features paintings, drawings and sculptures created through process-oriented appropriations and digital manipulations of such diverse sources as a promotional book entitled The Best of Switzerland, a Peter Fischli and David Weiss photograph, the gothic Ketel One vodka advertising campaign, and actual coconuts. The works conflate conventions of art and design to suggest the possibility that things mass-produced might now be the most recognizably Art-infused of all.
Calling to mind Warhol's factory, the paintings are produced through the various automated processes of inkjet printing, silk-screening, stenciling and spray-painting. The artists have digitally scanned actual steak knives, chicken bones, magazine pages and tropical fruit to create a not-quite-photographic vocabulary of images. Guyton \ Walker work against these techniques, utilizing snags, misregistrations, smears and other malfunctions to create densely layered paintings without gesture. These ruptures stand in jarring contrast to a Constructivist-inspired use of geometric abstraction and the mimicry of basic graphic design language.
The installation of the work further complicates the status of these hybrid objects as autonomous works of art. Store-bought paint cans wrapped in inkjet prints are used to prop some of the paintings against the wall. Hundreds of these paint cans, which draw on the same set of scanned objects and appropriated images, are stacked around the exhibition space. The artists have installed a series of handmade coconut lamps amongst the paint cans as well as in the gallery's office spaces. The fabric silkscreens used to create the paintings have been turned into colorful flags. A wall of one-way mirror creates a narrow corridor leading into, even while doubling and dividing, the exhibition.
In the words of Guyton \ Walker, "We were trying to find a form and a vocabulary that was truly collaborative, and not just an 'exquisite corpse,' where one of us starts something that the other simply adds to. We didn't want the works to have elements that were identifiably Guyton or Walker, but became instead the work of a third artist." Extending this notion of role-playing to the work itself, the pieces begin to self-reflexively question their own status as paintings, drawings, and sculptures, revealing a more complex understanding of the roles that authorship and authenticity play within the systems of distribution, production, and reception of artworks, histories, and collaborations.