Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present Elysian Redux, an exhibition exploring the renaissance of 1980’s aesthetics in contemporary art, with Leah Guadagnoli, Rachel Higgins, Ad Minoliti, Dominique Pétrin, Ben Sanders, and Shane Walsh. Earlier phases of this trend employed an established cannon of irony, thereby impeding its credibility. This critical smokescreen has now segued into our collective desensitization to nostalgia, subsequently denying it conceptual sovereignty. Artists are now reviving its potential as a visual language within a larger discourse, thus marking a subterranean shift and the emergence of a new “New Sincerity”.
Encapsulating the imploding zeitgeist of this era was the British poster and art production retailer Athena (1964 - 1995), cultivating the decade’s iconography via images such as Moonlight Stallion, which later spearheaded the initial 80’s revival and the now iconic Tennis Girl. These posters memorialized an era that wore its creative heart on its sleeve with an impassioned gaiety that in retrospect seems zealously maladroit. This was a period where images were carried home and blue-tacked to a wall rather than scrolled into the void on the palm. Athena became the nucleus of mall-time social interactions and the embryonic representation of the omni-metamorphosing adolescent identity. Dealing in Romanticism and ideology, Athena edited and commodified vernaculars past to articulate their understanding of the “now”, simultaneously providing the very epitaph to its epoch.
In “Elysian Redux”, a vast no man’s land of 80’s design minutia is translated into abstract references that when picked apart contain a gamut of historic, sexual, cultural and socio-economic references, via Ad Minoliti’s discombobulating genderqueer abstractions, Dominique Pétrin’s discomforting “virtual” spaces, and Leah Guadagnoli’s seductive upholstered works. Fictionalized renderings of subliminal public spaces are notable in Rachel Higgins’ Architectural Island 1 and 2, where she manipulates synthetic stone and granite with Michelangelean dexterity. The beautiful banality of architectural sameness is explored through a considered reconnaissance that resonates within the collective memory of the hoi-polloi. Ben Sanders’ Planters become both the camouflage and support for a playful, vernacularized collision, whereas Shane Walsh extracts and dissects quintessential gestures to formulate a formidable hypothesis regarding the notion of historic and cultural distortion via reproduction.