Scott Hug, U.S. Job Market (Honda), 2009.
Its been a kind of quiet day here in New York. Possibly owing to dedications of significant vitals to engorged European art fairs the city feels light-headed, almost woozy. Swerving through this weird, half fainting marshmallow town we made our way to John Connelly Presents where we caught the last day of Scott Hug’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, Million Dollar Spit in the Ocean.
Continuing a theme that we glimpsed at his July group show, Hug presents a series of works consisting of collage, painting and animation that critique by example and juxtaposition our culture’s indifference to the substitution of experience for information. In our daily lives self domestication has resulted in widespread lethargy and apathy. Reaching out to those lost in this decline the appropriately named Hug offers contemplation; a hands free moment with which to take stock and maybe change direction.
The works, 100% of which are based on pie charts derived from information provided by Gallup.com polls, basically take two forms. On one hand the pie chart becomes a large circular color field painting shaded according to fashion forecast AW09/10 trends, on the other it is a Color-aid pie chart applied directly over the center of pages appropriated from National Geographic magazines.
Gallery says: “Hug’s exhibition is illustrative of how our fascination with real-time interpretation of statistics has become more important than deep analysis – as soon as a survey is made it is already reduced to an aesthetic, only to be replaced by a new interpretation of data the next day. The obsession with abstract information is often more palatable than a discussion that addresses the original question, not just the answer. It’s just business.”
In his forecast paintings, in which graphs containing information on fashion trends that inspire “near religious fervor” become mandala-like icons, Hug addresses the addictive nature of consumer value systems. In his National Geographic Color-aid works Hug highlights the afore mentioned lethargy and apathy by presenting an armchair explorers’ vicarious experience of nature via an adventurous periodical. Three hundred and sixty of these works are also programmed into a computer that randomizes the images into a shuffle – pausing for a moment here and there only to keep moving on, endlessly searching for the next contemporary moment, year after year.
In particular it is the National Geographic Color-aid works that got us talking. Despite for the most part communicating obvious messages relating to environmental consciousness, which by virtue of our familiarity with them are relegated to disposable notions, it is the less tangible, less literal couplings, that resonate the strongest. For example a graph depicting a poll on the US Space Program with a picture of a space station ultimately doesn’t say as much as the same poll with an image of Mecca or a mural of Lenin. Similarly a graph depicting results of a poll on personal finances combined with an image of the World Trade Center doesn’t go as far as a state of the nation poll twinned with a Roman Aprhodisian Sculpture or a US life evaluation poll with an image of Parsi school boys[.]
Check them all out here.
This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.