In the not too distant past I went to see Jurassic World with a friend. I heard it was a terrible movie and we knowingly paid for our ticket and popcorn anyway. This experience was to be one of the most unsettling moments in recent memory, not because anything that happened in the movie, but because of recent shootings at theaters all across the country. 30-40 minutes into the film, the movie went dark and a prerecorded safety intercom repeatedly alerted us to find our way to the nearest exit. As the confused public silently and fearfully moved towards and opened the emergency doors, we were greeted with sirens emanating from the large cineplex parking lot. With no signs of fire, ambulance, or an immediately discernible reason for the emergency evacuation, many (like my friend and I) walked (if not ran) quickly to our cars, fleeing the scene, not wanting to find ourselves in yet another destabilizing situation, which further displaced us from our expectations of normality and safety. We would later find out that while no acts of physical terrorism had taken place, it is unquestionable that the psychological effects of distant threats were at play and this uncanny experience was somehow not unlike the tone of the photographs that were beginning to take form.
‘Fake Tears’ is the most recent exhibition of the ‘Deep Trouble’ Series following ‘Deep Trouble’, ‘Deeper and More Troublesome’, and ‘A Routine Pattern of Troublesome Behaviour’. ‘Fake Tears’ highlights a fascination with and influence of the Hollywood film industry, the mainstream media, a culture of misinformation and conspiracy, and the governing political apparatus. My work begins with a series of 8x10 Polaroid prints, which are made through a process of cutting and registering stencils, in camera, and sequentially exposing the entire film, to engineer graphic and photographic illusions of space, form, and text. These laboriously crafted photographs subvert their own instantaneity and further the longstanding dialogue between the mediums of painting and photography. The medium of photography is quite effective and appropriate for constructing an illusion. Whereas Hollywood relies on a high production volume of sets, actors, extras, soundtrack, costume, and lighting, these photos operate by subverting the perceived reliability as a truthful medium. The photographs loosely adhere to a sequential narrative while each image stands alone as a stereotypical character type, allusion to plot, or scene. Through this series of works, and specifically through works like ‘Smoking Gun’, ‘Strange Bedfellows’, and ‘A God-like Figure’, I reflect on the current global state of tension across class, race, domestic terrorism, and religion, that is often manifested through the potent mixture of masculinity and violence.
These works, taken together, reflect the climate of fear and distrust that lead to long-term emotional trauma. This sustained presence of fear is the impetus for the new series of bronze tissue box covers that actively engage the emotional self of the viewer. The work asks you to plumb the depths of your emotions, asking you “how do you feel?”, and in the process offers you a tissue.
Corey Escoto is a multidisciplinary artist whose recent work, a body of experimental large format analog photographic works created with a "Polaroid" format, seamlessly fuses multi-exposure image-fragments into visually flummoxing illusions of space and text. With the Hollywood film industry and common cinematic tropes as their subject, Escoto’s photographs both embody and examine the idea of illusion building, and by extension reinforces the mutually causal relationship between the events that comprise the contemporary social and political everyday, and the mass media machine (in all of its forms) that attempts to describe it. Additionally, a new series of bronze tissue box sculptures exploring the emotional response to sustained climate of fear and uncertainty are being debuted here with Taymour Grahne Projects.
Corey received a BFA from Texas Tech University (2004) and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis (2007), and was a participant in the Skowhegan School of painting and Sculpture (2016). Escoto has shown nationally and internationally, with solo exhibitions at Regina Rex, NYC, Halsey Mckay, East Hampton, NY; Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago, IL; Taymour Grahne, New York, NY; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. He is a recipient of the Gateway Foundation Grant, the Kala Art Institute Residency Program and Fellowship Award, and an Aperture Portfolio Prize finalist.
Escoto was born in 1983. He lives and works in Ridgewood, NY.