l'art d'être · laureen andalib


NEW YORK | Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

In Lost Loose Ends (2008), vulnerability and illusion is cultivated between representational and facilitating actions– on a crafty stage-sitting tableau. As, indeed-sculptural and shape-shifting objects are flattened by cutting, layering, and censorship–  Hubbard’s objets d’art defies viewing traditional art and performance frontally. Now, the ironic “de-materialization” of space causes performance to be the threshold of the very art of trickery itself.

As Hubbard renders the morphology of language meaningless, one can certainly be set back by the notion of materials here: symbols which once seem predispositioning are simply reduced to building blocks of, once again, aesthetically non-sensical build-up.

Where sounds accordingly become pugnacious, “art machines” become the warfare within a hands-on collage: juxtapositions and blurs mimic the undermined elements of intuition within our own processing of words– perhaps the unattainable word with “loose ends.”

Re-disseminating the so-called “specs” of artistic vision– the material in Heads in the Dark (2009) acts as both an emulating and deceasing fabric. Here, Hubbard explores the “artist’s struggle,”– personally and stereotypically, incorporating aspects of production and differentiating between the inner and exterior relationships between city and man.

What starts out as a messy studio desk, Hubbard renders chromatic associations, puzzle pieces, and similarities. Using his own idea of micro-pedestals and mirrors to elevate the touristic and globalist idea of capitals– colors and shapes become thought-processing indicators of elevating visual icons (or demeaning them vice versa) as paradoxical pedestals in the art world.

Through the death and birth of mass media subjects, Hubbard seems to explore the reversal of distribution as the non-sensical: undermining the place where a so-called topic originates, yet paradoxically only brought to light in the destination it is circulated in.

In an interview for Mousse Magazine, Hubbard describes, “One thing that feels like New York is the speed, the frantic pace of the actions and the movement or dislocations of the objects. There is a sense of irreverence and impatience, but also one of joy, flux, unstoppable-ness… The pacing is a force of habit, I don’t know if I learned it from watching MTV, or from somewhere else, but it’s something that in other times I have tried to work against. So much of the structuralist cinema I admire is so slow. But my films do take on a type of immediacy that feels like New York.”

As the hallucinatory panning of a camera’s perspective perpetuates– various surfaces index the planar notion of “screens” in Screens for Recalling the Blackout (2009)– to the extent that a screen’s revolution becomes unidentifiable and unconventional. From concrete walls, to bathroom walls, to industrial surfaces– we are forced to follow Hubbard omnisciently who transforms meaning through his own interaction and placement of screens between a  shared space of his world and ours.

By allowing accidents to resonate, Hubbard using himself as a commencing force to an action, yet is careful not to incorporate too much of a “push.”

What happens on-screen and back screen both literally and figuratively becomes a diaspora of the fatal image black. The black-out is mysteriously proposed as perhaps the signifier of a blink, or the beginning and ending of a spasm.

In The Paranoid Phase of Nautical Twilight I-III (2009), Hubbard creates a rather see-saw manifestation of performance. The cookie-cutting of a mysterious backdrop results in a truly enticing transformation of lunar phases referred to as twilights I-III. Perhaps implied by the nautical, it is unclear whether or not the materials Hubbard is using reference the same environment to that of a below-deck, kinetic ship furnace.  Mechanic noise becomes terrestrial in our own conditioning and mesmerization with a center, in parallel with that of atmospheric or astronomical noise below threshold.

Light leaks almost become volcanic– yet frozen through the ridiculousness of seamless saw cutting. The seeping of red light into a rather economic material without durability becomes comedic, as the mimicry of a lunar phase itself becomes fragile to the human eye and the background is even literally knocked over.

Omnisciently rotating around an axis again, Hubbard defies the standstill of solids by rotating them so that they are misleadingly anti-gravitational in Weekend Pass (2009). A spheric perspective of a tire sitting upon a pedestal becomes piped to objects associated with weekend pastimes– mounting memory and experience into a single, unrenderable, sculptural “object.” Whether it is the bowling ball that full-striked, paint which white washed borders between neighbors, or the tires that were changed on Saturday morning– the passing of actions indeed become the “weekend pass” in itself: the passing is simultaneously the strike, the hammer, and the brush stroke all at the same time.

Bracketing parentheses between the diegetic and non-diegetic world– objects which are being piled vertically become objects victimized by ambiguity in Make Your Movie (2010): do they serve as the references from a film being played on a television, or from the direct life of the author himself?  

If it is unclear whether the objects themselves serve as an experiential frame. Are they the anti-thesis of the objects used to capture vs. those objects directly featured within film indexicality?

“It’s a video’s relationship to gesture that makes it good or not,” Alex Hubbard describes in an interview.

If so, when it comes to transformation versus destruction– how can one differentiate them? Here are we perplexed by “busy” music or background noise?

In a Kandinsky-like performative-drawing of materials, an “O” becomes the negative space and center of a sculptural organ Hubbard conceives. Individual objects flirt with the viewer on different planes– sticking out both frontally and transversally. For the first time, Hubbard looks at us, and his own interception– both personally and between the space of objects, empowers cinematic reverie as an amusement– of simply “passing time” in Rich’s Place (2010).

As hands dance in and out of the arrangement of a pyramidal visage, Alex Hubbard carefully tones his mis-en-scene in Upstairs #1 (2010): a pastime of objects is reduced to the singularity of building blocks. Strikingly minimalist, the classicism in the very uses of these objects are revered to as platforms of domesticated labor. Situated before a familiar backdrop, objects cease to be joined together only by the delicacy of gesture, spatiality, and promise– and, once-seeming impervious to gravity– objects lead to the conclusion of a rather Duchampian-like folly in reverse.

Perhaps a coincidental fascination with a primary color wheel, in The Border, the Ship (2011)– this is indeed the first piece in which Hubbard uses backdrops as a “negative field” of narration– as if it were a re-purposed theory of diegesis.

Additionally, as Hubbard’s first engagement with very specific color choice and aesthetic theorization of shapes, the effects of their juxtapositions within space– rather than in a pedagogical or routine gesture in his works– are now more composed and in control. In more recent works, Hubbard seems to explore the rationalization of objects within space and the confines of structuralism– where objects operate in dialogue with each other, and foregrounds recede and yet begin again within an idea that becomes concretist.

A stark shift from his earlier works, Alex Hubbard now collages multi-media digitally in Bottom of the Top (2012)– through both the construction and abstraction of spaces as micro-pieces on a gridded canvas. 2-D images now become a possible surface, and after-the-fact editing is teased with split-screening. Almost like a Dutch painting of still  life objects in one frame– the immediacy of the next frame, for example, is contradicted with the surreal (C’est n’est pas une pipe reference). Bottom of the Top becomes more of a critical scrutiny of the gesture of pacing and movement, using himself as an “object” to control other objects– and yet, from an undermined position within the video frame itself.

Alex Hubbard’s recent works, such as Hit Wave (2012), are transformed into a fascination with video and collaging rather than the lifespan of individual objects and their discourse within space through gesture. His newest works become more of a critique of movement itself– and its potentials when collage and color are suddenly brought to life from what initially seems to be better left in 2-D cutouts when his movies are introduced. Like a topsy turvy circus infiltrated by popular culture enthusements, Hit Wave becomes an indexical magnum opus of the art-historical cut-out– intervened with the transparency of the digital.   


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