Martin Kersels | Charms and Devotionals
Sculptures and Felt Banners
February 2 - March 31, 2012
Since the late 1980’s Martin Kersels has been using performance, sculpture and photography to talk about issues relating to failure, vulnerability, and the human body. From his early work in performance groups such as SHRIMPS, to his series Falling, Kersels has explored the physical and emotional impact that body image plays in social interaction. This February, Elizabeth Leach Gallery hosts a solo exhibition of recent and early works by artist Martin Kersels.
Charms and Devotionals, will consist of two sculptures (Charms) and a series of felt banners (Devotionals). The sculptures are from Kersels’ recent work, while the Devotionals are part of an older series made in 2002 that have never been exhibited. The two-dimensional felt banners use text and imagery inspired by classic rock songs of the 1970’s. Pairing religious craft with popular culture, Kersels’ banners present statements that are both critical and amusing, and give this work the warmth and rich humor that Kersels is known for. Each inscription feels strangely familiar because of its place in pop history, not because of its presence in American morality. The banners are daring in the questions that they raise, but also rewarding in the humor that they deliver.
In addition to the banners, Kersels will also exhibit two new sculptures. With an approach similar to his banners, the sculptures present a somber humor that is coupled with personal and political issues. Installed from the ceiling, these hanging sculptures act as indirect self-portraits while also investigating topical issues. Kersels uses the sculptures as a way of contemplating, not only his own existence, but also his position within the world around him. Kersels recently concluded a touring exhibition of artworks titled Heavyweight Champion, as well as participating in the 2010 Whitney Biennial.