radioactive Pal? – Pal, radioactive | Bill Conger & Adam Farcus

September 28th, 2012  |  Published in PAST EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS

Downstairs Front BOX

Taken as an exchange between two people, radioactive Pal? -Pal, radioactive proposes a simple question, “Are you afflicted?” and a delicate response, “My friend, I am.” The repetition and symmetry of this line delineates how a poetic structure can emphasize the complex cultural functions intrinsic to words and signs. In poetry, the goal is to present a large amount of affect in the most simple manner. This dialog, borrowed from John Berryman’s Dream Song #51, sets up a structure for the conversation in and between the work of Bill Conger and Adam Farcus.

The Dream Songs, which loosely adapt the structure of minstrel shows, use the vehicles of the interlocutor and end man as dual psychological composites for Berryman himself. Their relationship in this debased early American art form was for the end man through punctuating interaction to add comic relief to the interlocutor’s situation. Within Conger and Farcus’ individual works, and in relationship to each other, they often employ simplicity and playfulness, which counter and re-emphasize their ecstatic aspirations. Conger and Farcus do not support the racist origins which Dream Songs were produced out of, but rather are interested in how Berryman’s character, Henry, marries emotional strife to seemingly simple language. In analogous associative moves, Conger and Farcus utilize familiar objects to attend to the person and majestic. In these pieces, rigid structures like abstraction, geometry and repetition isolate the hidden romanticism, inherently present in everyday materials.

Bill Conger is an artist who uses a myriad of readymade materials to assist in the production of his work. He describes himself as a frustrated synthesis of painter, sculptor and poet. Conger’s work has been exhibited throughout the US as well as in Poland, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, and Austria. His work deftly engaged in strategies of collection, appropriation and curation, all the while paying quiet homage to the Duchampian Readymade and Proustian notions of memory.

Adam Farcus carries at least one lucky penny in his left pocket at all times. It might not actually bring him luck but, as a site of potential energy, it does make him feel better. The art he creates in his creative practice are equally imbued with an internal power. He currently lives and works in Baltimore, MD, where he co-directs an alternative art space named 500.500.100. His work has been exhibited at the Gallery 400, Chicago; University Galleries,
Normal, IL; Hyde Part Arts Center, Chicago; Columbia College’s A+D Gallery, Chicago; The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids; and the Miami Bridge Art Fair, Miami. He has also lectured on his work at numerous venues, including The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Performance Studies International 16 conference. Adam received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, BFA from Illinois State University, and AA from Joliet Junior College.

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