Devon Clapp, Theodore Darst, Alex Defoe, Olivia Gibb, Riley Hanson, Brook Hsu, Will Knutson, Alexis Mcauliffe, Clare McCarthy, Nathan Miller, Angus Ryan, Kyle Schiffbauer, Cameron Spratley, Theo Triantafyllidis, and Phyllis Yao
Curated by Olivia C. Williams
July 14, 2018 - August 3, 2018
Opening Reception 7-10 pm, July 14, 2018
“Irony’s useful for debunking illusions, but most of the illusion-debunking in the U.S. has now been done and redone. Once everybody knows that equality of opportunity is bunk and Mike Brady’s bunk and Just Say No is bunk, now what do we do? All we seem to want to do is keep ridiculing the stuff...Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving.”
-David Foster Wallace, 1993
In the film Young Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein proclaims that “Love is the only thing that can save this poor creature, and I am going to convince him that he is loved”. With his life at stake, Dr. Frankenstein begs of his associates not to open the door to save him, locking himself in the room with the sleeping creature. However, as the creature awakens, Dr. Frankenstein bangs and pleads on the door, saying “What’s the matter with you people? I was joking! Don’t you know a joke when you hear one?” He continues to cry as the creature grows closer, wailing “Mommy!”.
Can the monsters under our beds and hiding in our closets allow us to discuss our personal and political traumas? In Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp” she describes camp as a “victory of style over content,” taking an anti-serious stance to produce a new relationship to “the serious.” Camp doesn’t argue that the bad is good or the good is bad, but offers a different set of standards, playing with extravagance, exaggeration, glamour, and theatricality, but always with passion for the “continual incandescence of character.” For this exhibition, curator Olivia C. Williams has selected fifteen artists from various stages in their career, each embodying a sense of humor and play while revealing something slightly darker behind the initial punchline.
Bunk Notes is an exhibition featuring artists whose work engages with camp-inspired language, tropes, cartoon, and caricature. While attempting to move past these ideals of artifice and challenging the apolitical aspirations of post-millennial camp, these artists build a new relationship to “the serious,” often expressing extreme states of feeling that gain power from tension between moral and aesthetic passion. And jokes.
Olivia C. Williams (b. 1996) is an artist/curator based in Philadelphia, PA, currently attending Tyler School of Art for Sculpture. She has been Pilot Project’s curatorial assistant for a year, with Bunk Notes being her debut exhibition. Williams’ interests lie in how technology and humor can be utilized to process trauma. She also lives as @luxurytrash2.0 online, and would like to thank her cat, Jimmy, for his endless support.
Devon Clapp (b. 1983) is a painter and performance artist raised in the swamps of NH and based in Brooklyn, NY. Clapp attended Montserrat College of Art (BFA 2006) and Pratt Institute (MFA 2011). His work has been shown in multiple group exhibitions, including Godforsaken (Godforsaken; Syracuse, NY), HorrorScapes (Spring Break; New York, NY curated by Michael Gaughran), I remember you well (Galerie Eigenheim; Berlin, Germany), and New Imagism in Contemporary Painting (Good Work Gallery; Brooklyn, NY). His solo exhibitions include der weiße Schweinehund (Et Al Projects; Brooklyn, NY). Clapp is represented by SEASON (Seattle, WA). “Halloween is everyday, read the news, shithead”.
Theodore Darst (b. 1986) is an artist living and working in Manhattan. During 2017 and 2018 Darst presented solo and two person shows at Magenta Plains, Lubov, and King’s Leap in NYC. Darst’s work was recently included in “THIS KNOWN WORLD” at The Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA; and the Artists’ Film Biennial at Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, England. Darst has exhibited his work in New York at East Hampton Shed, 83 Pitt, Microscope, The Museum of the Moving Image and in Chicago at The Museum of Contemporary Art. He is a 2018-19 resident at The Drawing Center’s Open Sessions program
Alex DeFoe is a Brooklyn based artist who studied at the School of Visual Arts graduating with a BFA in 2016. Focusing in soft sculpture and drawing, her work reflects a certain aesthetic and attitude of contemporary American culture. Brash with an unapologetic air of honesty, her work often touches upon thoughts of gender, class, and the value, level, or measurement of taste.
Olivia Gibb studied printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute and graduated with a BFA in 2014. She currently lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri, and makes pinch pots every day.
Riley Hanson (b.1995, Akron, Ohio) currently lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. Recent solo exhibitions and publications include When You Care Too Much Your Guts Slips Out, Gallery Bypass, Detroit, MI; It’s Burning Up In Here Baby, Kamihira, Philadelphia, PA; Essay inclusion in eponymous book on the occasion of the exhibition, Alex Da Corte, C-A-T Spells Murder, Karma, New York, NY; duck. duck. duck. duck. duck. duck. duck. duck. duck. Tom Cruise., No Place Gallery, Columbus, OH.
Brook Hsu (b. 1987) grew up in Oklahoma. Hsu received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2010 and her MFA from Yale University, New Haven in 2016. She has exhibited nationally and internationally including Bahamas Biennale (MI), BBQLA (CA), Deli Gallery (NY), Double Double Land (Toronto, Canada), Carrie Secrist Gallery (IL), Galleri CC (Malmo, Sweden), GRIN Contemporary (RI), In Lieu (CA), Page (NY), Vacant Farm (MO), Vernon Gardens (CA). Hsu has a forthcoming presentation at The Renaissance Society (IL) in 2018.
Will Knutson (Winona Peppercorn Butchington)(20)(Cancer), lives in New York (for now?), and goes to SVA (but maybe not anymore?), and has been part of zero shows up until right now. Their recent works have focused on clutter, hoarding, and the mundane.
Alexis McAuliffe works in painting, installation, photography, sculpture and writing, and often uses tableaus of the body to take up the fantasy but also the banality that surrounds a certain milieu - one whose point of view is unambiguous - and through that the threat of a dominant ethos. Her works underline a real and imagined violence in conjunction with femininity. Alexis currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and got her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has shown in Gallery1993 and Embassy, LA.
Clare McCarthy is a painter, cartoonist, and student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Her paintings juxtapose the mundane and the grotesque in an effort to bring humor into a fine art medium.
Nathan Miller grew up in Omaha, NE. He then studied painting and art history at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and graduated in 2012. After school, he bounced around between Brooklyn and Baltimore for a while, eventually landing a job with Getty Images as an editor. He now lives and works in upstate New York, surrounded by nature and a landscape that continues to inspire his painting.
Angus Ryan is an artist working and living in Philadelphia. He is currently finishing his undergraduate at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Kyle Schiffbauer (Born 1996) is a Philadelphia based artist currently studying printmaking and art history at Tyler School of Art. Has shown work in Tyler School of Art’s juried student show and Kamihira’s Halloween Group show.
Cameron Spratley obtained his bachelors degree in 2016 from Virginia Commonwealth University. He attended the Yale University at Norfolk residency, was the recipient of the Alice Cabell Horsely Parker Scholarship from Virginia Commonwealth University, and received a full tuition scholarship from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Art. Cameron is based in Richmond and is represented by ADA Gallery, but has shown up and down the East Coast and had work featured on FOX’s show Empire. Spratley's paintings attempt to capture the schizophrenic nature of being young and black in America. They are visually in reference to the street culture that black entertainment is built upon and the danger of the street in regards equally to black on black crime and police killings. The works are purposefully hard to unpack, putting the viewer who is unfamiliar with the presented images into the space of the other.
Theo Triantafyllidis (b. 1988) is an artist from Greece. He got his MFA from UCLA, Design | Media Arts, under scholarships by UCLA and the Onassis Foundation. Earlier, he got his diploma of architecture from the National Technical University of Athens. His work, research and teaching are focused on Virtual and Augmented Reality, video games, simulations and worldbuilding. He is currently based in LA.
Phyllis Yao is a second generation Chinese-American who grew up between Guiyang, China where her mom resides permanently, and New York with her dad's family. Phyllis graduated with a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design where she received the Florence Leif Award, and has been an artist-in-residence at Lijiang Studio in Yunnan province, China. She currently lives and works in New York.