Punctuation: Derek Bourcier, Robert Medvedz, and Robert Yoder at Planthouse

Without the serial comma – the one inserted before “and” in a list of three or more items – a reader might infer from the sentence “I love my dogs, Elizabeth Murray and Yaddo” that my dogs were named Elizabeth Murray and Yaddo. (I assure you they are not!) But “Serial Comma” is also the title of a compelling three-person exhibition at Planthouse, located in the flower district just east of Chelsea. The show features paintings, drawings, and sculptural objects that are black, white, and color; graphic, cleanly articulated, and scrawled. It unfolds, as the title suggests, as a presentation of three distinct artists who nevertheless belong in the same sentence.

[Imager at top: Installation view, “Serial Comma” at Planthouse.]

Robert Yoder, TD (Hobby Lantern 9), 2015, oil and acrylic on cotton bandana, 22 x 20 inches.
Seattle-based Robert Yoder presents work from his ongoing Teenage Donna series, displaying a singular talent for balancing the haunting and the playful. A group of three new pieces are painted on crusty, unstretched bandanas. Each is heavily worked, with old layers of paint bleeding through and crude symbols painted or inscribed on the surface. Some of the other pieces feature lettering that seems graphically clear, and yet remains hard to decipher. In these pieces, Yoder explores what we share versus what we hide.

Derek Bourcier, Fantasy Coffin, 2015, figurines, wetsuit, dimensions variable.

Derek Bourcier’s wry installations include images, found objects, and photographs. Fish, sand, electronic data collectors, a wet suit, and diagrammatic drawings proffer a puzzle for viewers to ponder. A wet suit (Bourcier lives and works in St. Petersburg, FL) becomes a stand-in for the human presence in the ocean, pinned to the ground by scavenged dolphin figurines. Finally dolphins get a chance to ride the humans, immobilizing a destabilizing force.

On wall: Robert Medvedz’s ink drawings. In foreground: Derek Bourcier, Hobos Arrested, 2015, 3D printed ceramic, 6 x 4 1/2 x 3/4 inches.

Robert Medvedz’s dynamic screen prints are straightforward and graphic, referencing video games, toys, animation, and the act of drawing itself. In a series of small ink-on-paper drawings he uses beautiful line work to render strange half-human, half-animal organic forms that reveal an interest in graver existential questions.

Are the artists’ contributions related to one another? They seem at least loosely connected by a shared interest in visual ambiguity, but the connection is linear rather than integrated. This is why we have the serial comma.

“Serial Comma | Derek Bourcier – Robert Medvedz – Robert Yoder,” Planthouse, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through July 25, 2015.

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Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

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