Moving away from his hyperreal resin sculptures and the perfect industrial sheen of his signature 'Dendroid' series (life sized trees rendered in stainless steel), Roxy Paine's exploration of dioramas began...
Moving away from his hyperreal resin sculptures and the perfect industrial sheen of his signature "Dendroid" series (life sized trees rendered in stainless steel), Roxy Paine's exploration of dioramas began the artist's new focus on wood as a medium. Looking at the machined, synthetic interiors of contemporary America, the warm wood dioramas give us pause to consider the most iconic, emblematic spaces with live with today. Beginning with his landmark exhibition Apparatus at Kavi Gupta in Chicago, which won the International Art Critics Association (AICA-USA) award for best commercial gallery show in the country, Paine set his sights on the abstract concepts of a "control room" and a "fast food restaurant" as subjects for meditation. Reproduced at 1:1 scale, the dioramas are not merely models, but highly illusory viewing rooms onto a static portrait of a spatial moment.
In Carcass, we see a fast food counter, kitchen, and back room lovingly and carefully rendered in wood. A wood post-in note on the wall carries no text, and a wood fryer basket holds no food. The exact moment when this space would have exist is ambiguous. A CRT television monitor perhaps indicates something before the turn of the millennium, but the overall aesthetics speak to a kind of cultural plateau, an unchanging generality that isn't identifiable even to a brand, just broadly, "a fast food restaurant." The title—Carcass—perhaps most plainly signals how the diorama is not simply inert, but is meant to accurately capture this inertness: this kind of space is dead, it is not growing or changing with the times.
The artist's studio, New York, NY, USA Kavi Gupta gallery, Chicago, IL, USA
Roxy Paine, Apparatus, 2013, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL, USA Roxy Paine, Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, 2016, Beeler Gallery, CCAD, Columbus, OH, USA