In the past several months, artist Seth Price has taken to making and posting mixtapes on his personal SoundCloud page. Described in a recent Art News post as “soundtracks for painters,” his mixes (and the article itself), underscore Price as an inveterate consumer of media and information, embracing a constant stream of data that he often delves into or twists up into the language and production of his works. This compilation of information sits at the core of Hell Has Everything, the artist’s first show of work at Petzel Gallery in New York in six years.
Seth Price, We’re Going to Need a Smaller Map (2018), via Petzel
Price’s return to his native city features a range of new projects and presentations, blending prior modes of practice with new concepts and ideas that include mixed-media paintings, a large-scale video projection, and back-lit photographic works. A sense of constant manipulation and addition sits at the core of the work, allowing new movements to participate in the work’s finished state. Price’s paintings employ printing, collage, paint, and photographic techniques for example, based on captured imagery of New York’s streets and subways or ambiguous objects constructed with 3D modeling software. The images are then modified using a range of materials that transform and muddy the surface of the work.
By contrast, The video-projection Social Synth is suspended from the ceiling, broadcasting bizarre imagery, Price created with a robotic camera that spent hours roving across a squid’s skin in order to yield over ten thousand photographs, which were then processed through software designed for map-making and 3D cinema. In this hybrid work, natural and artificial are intertwined, and a computer-generated light source becomes the protagonist in an uncanny organic landscape. We are presented with a simple movement that turns into an unfolding drama of its own, as much about the narrative capacities of modern tech as it is about human’s ability to build these narratives as they unfold. Price has also reprised his recent light box works from a similar project, yet here presents areas of skin where the cohesion of the images was not possible, creating fractured end results that underscore the artist’s invitation of chaos and confusion into a precise work.
Price understands better than most that the advent of modern tech comes only with a new series of flaws and foibles in the ways of seeing the world. This show, and the strange, evocative works on view, only make that conclusion all the more resonant.
The show closes January 5th.
— D. Creahan
Petzel Gallery [Exhibition Site]