Isaac Pool: 40 Volume
January 13 - February 25, 2018
Organized by Samuel Draxler
Knockdown Center is pleased to present Isaac Pool’s first solo exhibition in New York: 40 Volume – a gallery installation and sitcom-length play that stars three sock-encrusted vases and a head of fennel.
Isaac Pool’s artworks are constructed out of cheap but heavily coded materials. Trinkets, printed matter, and an array of found plastics are assembled into small sculptures that bring out the intensity of their components with a keen sense of humor. The work included in 40 Volume continues these material inquiries: in Starter Pack (2017), a colored light bulb and tubes of makeup are strapped onto a plastic cucumber. While the group hovers on its coiled wire stand, it simultaneously recalls the Space Shuttle Challenger and a discount sex toy. In Resurrection (2017), the holographic foil of a lacerated gift bag is similarly held aloft with floral wire, its opalescent wrap and shimmering pattern evoking flowers, fireworks - a decadence of waste. Another work, The Promise (2017), recalls cartoon traps jury-rigged from cardboard boxes and sticks, but instead, a millennial pink Acne shopping bag is propped on an informational insert for a dermatological prescription medicine. The trap, lying open with a plastic cookie to bait, has been re-envisioned for a downtown it girl.
Whereas Pool’s sculptural works weave together partial statements – suggestions for pertinent lifestyle choices – his “paintings” employ a similar process towards more formal ends. This bridge is enacted in the work Baby Wants To Ride (2017), in which a resin coated cardboard sculpture brushes a feather against a textured pastel canvas. The mints and greens of the sculpture are mirrored in the traces of foils and pigments on the painting, which are half eroded, half hard edges. Another wall-based work, Dorito Flag (2016), includes a nacho-orange patterned fabric finished in a 12-inch fringe that falls along an arc. Hung against plexiglas, the surface is illuminated from behind by a vertical fluorescent tube wrapped in orange foil. This interplay of textures acts as a femme twist on Russian Constructivism, geometric balance played out through a drag queen’s saunter.
During gallery hours, the four characters of 40 Volume’s play reside amidst the dollar store glitz of the gallery installation. For the play’s two performances, however, the white, blue, and gray sock-encrusted vases join the head of fennel in Knockdown Center’s Annex, where an adjacent set is choreographed by two human bodies. In this object drama, the vessels enact the latent codes of the exhibition’s paintings and sculptures. They verbalize their classed and gendered nature, as they chat together through filters of personal mythology and melodramatic pop lyrics to find sisterhood. A study in aspirational whiteness and its discontents, 40 Volume matches its protagonists’ delusions with a tenderness as charming as it is suspect.
40 Volume’s play is performed by Alisa Besher, Zachary Delamater, Scears Lee, Martha Moszczynski, Alejandra Venancio, and Isaac Pool. A version of 40 Volume was originally published in Volume 3 of Haunt Journal (2016). Isaac Pool: 40 Volume was organized by Samuel Draxler.