Thursday, November 24, 2005

banks violette is smarter than me.

his ethereally odd installations mining goth, heavy metal and the darkness of the american teenage nightmare manage to always stop me in my tracks.

i first encountered his work in the 2004 whitney biennial and it stuck out like a sore thumb against the backdrop of hyper nerd antics and DIY psychedelia. not that i don't like that stuff. i'm into cory arcangel and assume vivid astro focus too, but this was all frozen decaying drum set and poly gloss and black death and unicorns, with a particular use of texture that's hard to describe. he manages to convey a kind of ominous and surreal landscape from the iconography of rock and roll, murder mysteries and the kind of teenage angst-ridden scrawls you'd imagine lurk in the three-ring binder of that cute, but slightly scary boy who always sat in the back of the room hiding behind his stringy hair in high school english class.

and then i saw his electric contribution to the greater new york show at PS1 and felt nearly assaulted by the starkness of his glossy black panels and fluorescent light. his installations makes me anxious, but the weird beauty of them keeps me staring and gets me excited. this is serious stuff.