The Department of Art & Art History and Rowe Galleries present Priests of the Temple, an exhibition of work by multi-media artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. A suite of sculptures that combine portraiture, diorama, and video projection, Priests of the Temple portrays Silicon Valley leaders within the changing landscape of the West.
In Behind the Hillside, miniature garbage covers the ostensible back side of a hill. The front of the hill is absent, posited to be the desirable site. Amongst the garbage, a small video monitor plays an interrupted image of wild grasslands.
In Chrysalis, a blue tower rises, cracked open to reveal a fleshy pink interior structure. Scaffolding on the surface provides scale and suggests human presence, either within or without. The video projection and prog-rock inspired soundtrack deliver an image of future conditions.
In At the Old Headquarters, a cast plaster miniature of an office building sinks into roofing tar. Markings on the building are reminiscent of pixacao, Brazlian graffitti often found on multi story squat buildings. A roof mounted monitor shows a distorted and duplicated looping image of a parking lot.
In Front of the Substation depicts a utilitarian building perched on sand and debris. Safety orange fencing has been partially destroyed. The embedded video monitor shows images of acid colored rushing water.
In Priest of the Temple, an office building juts out of a Mt. Rushmore-style mountain. The embedded video is based on the actions of a Silicon Valley hotel spa. Behind the building, a portrait of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore looms like a Pyongyang mural. Gordon Moore's prophetic observation, Moore's Law, states that the computing power of a microchip will double every two years. Moore himself in a 2005 interview provided an amendment to this law when he added, "The law can't continue forever. The nature of exponentials is that you push them out and eventually disaster happens."
Between the Resorts depicts a no mans land between a simulated ski slope and a simulated water park. Embedded video shows images of sand blowing across pavement.
The sculptures in this series present liminal spaces, areas posited to be next to the desirable landmarks of contemporary life. In Along the Roadside, a photograph of a cement factory looms behind a farm as a video imagines the road trip to get there.
In this 49 minute video, Mussafah, the camera takes a journey through the manufacturing zone of Abu Dhabi. Far from the glittering skyscrapers and beaches, Mussafah is the place in Abu Dhabi to fix motors, to bend aluminum, to produce tangible material goods. It is the "back of the shop", literally the place where the advertising signs are printed. Using a slow tracking shot, the McCoy's video allows the eye to take in the details of this environment with all its complexity. It is a work place, yet there are clothes hanging on clotheslines and chickens in the street. It is Arab, yet multinational logos and English signs abound. Its streets are largely devoid of people, yet it operates on 24 hour work shifts. In previous work, the McCoys fabricated post-apocalyptic miniatures to shoot tracking shots of blown out malls. As they have found in Abu Dhabi, the need to create these landscapes from the imagination was unnecessary.
Wall mounted shadow box depicting a fantasy landscape incorporating aspects of the San Francisco Bay area, the Forbidden Island board game, and the Paypal/Ebay headquarters circa 2014. Contains an oil on canvas background, color photography and electronics.
Series of printed, sandstone sculptures fusing an extruded image of the Silicon Valley headquarters (Google, Nvidia, Intel) with the architecture of middle class Joseph Eichler subdivision home.
Wall mounted shadow box depicting a fantasy landscape incorporating aspects of the San Francisco Bay area, the Dominion board game, and the Oracle headquarters circa 2014. Contains an oil on canvas background, color photography, video screen, and electronics.
A collaged landscape of images from DeSmet, SD, this video is a winter portrait of the site of the famous Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead. In this work the stark landscape of Wilder's youth is juxtaposed with the architecture of the rural industrial present in the town near the homestead site. The McCoys were first drawn to the site during a summer cross country driving trip which began their research into America’s “frontier” ideology. Research into the site revealed that the Ingalls family was granted the homestead land by the United States government. The conditions were harsh and the family moved after a short time. Later, Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane co-wrote the famous Little House on the Prarie series of books, based on the family’s time at the homestead. A journalist and pundit of her time, Wilder’s daughter coined the term “libertarian” (along with the more famous Ayn Rand). Excerpt below
Overlapping images of Silicon Valley's natural environment, its industry, and the architecture of its suburban technology headquarter buildings. 9:50
Based on existing architectural schemes for Belle Isle, an island in the river next to Detroit, this sculpture envisions the skyline of a free market, off shore property development. The video depicts abstracted images of drag racing in the streets of Detroit.
Wall mounted shadow box depicting a fantasy landscape incorporating aspects of the San Jose area's Adobe headquarters circa 2014. Contains an oil on canvas background, color photography, video screen, and electronics.