Rental Gallery is pleased to present new work by Brooklyn-based artist Oliver Clegg for his first solo exhibition in New York City, on the ground floor of the Metal Shutter Houses project. Euclid’s Porsche is comprised of 150 paintings of Happy Meal Toys sourced from eBay seller photographs found online. The opening reception will be on Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 8pm.
The artist recreates, as oil paintings, the photos eBay sellers take of their objects, honoring the original size, composition, and color of the found image. By subverting the intent of these amateur photographers—by elevating their photographs to art—the artist adds value to their often nonchalant attempts to make a sale. These paintings are intimate and wistful, reflecting the sentimental affection we have for seemingly worthless plastic we valued as children.
British-born Clegg is a conceptual artist who mines the fertile history of the past, particularly found objects, and seeks to imbue these objects with some of their original magic. His work is humorously melancholic, exposing our memories and discarded ephemera as potential sources of symbolism. This exhibition casts the internet as an open source photography album where everyone can mine memories that aren’t their own.
The exhibition is curated by Adam Cohen, who bought Oliver Clegg’s entire MFA degree show in 2005, becoming his first collector. With an abundance of Oliver’s work, and the artist spontaneously decamping to the South West of England, the pair lost touch but reconnected a few years ago when Oliver substituted Wellington boots for sneakers and moved to New York. Outside NADA New York, Adam ran into his friend and artist Darren Bader who encouraged his walking partner Oliver that “Adam is one of the nicest people in the art world." A studio visit was arranged and a subsequent invitation by Rental Gallery to present the work during Frieze seemed tailor-made – the connection reestablished.