Show runs September 1 – October 15, 2016
Reception and Performance: Thursday, September 1, 5-8pm
In his first solo exhibition at Johansson Projects, Micah Wood explores the semiotics of coherent symbols through painting and sculpture by presenting a critical commentary on western society’s strange relationship to food marketing and to food itself. “Healthy Tears” uses the physicality and spatial weight of sculpture techniques as well as the expressive and organic substance within painting to create a work that questions perception and truth in relation to consumer culture. Wood attempts to unpack an apparent hypersensitivity around food labeling and product awareness, while also questioning how consumer products are gendered, and the trope of certain foods as they become analogies for the body. In a Saussurean exploration of signs, warm flashes of color and organic elements alongside textural minimalism work to deconstruct our familiar symbols to their bare minimums. In their figurative simplicity, Wood’s paintings are intimate and inviting, and in turn call on the viewer to reevaluate their emotional relationships to food and consumer culture. Wood wrestles with his realization that almost all foods in Western society carry some form of guilt behind where it comes from. Name a fruit, vegetable, or meat and someone can tell you five reasons why you are hurting yourself, the environment, or supporting a drug cartel. Wood aims to champion the messy amongst the pristine, to highlight the carnage, rage and violence that underlies our desperate attempts at portraying our lives as ‘normal’ and ‘perfect’. He references Thomas Pynchon in “Vineland”, who speaks on vegetarian pacifists and other exaggerated forms of diets. Wood finds this carnage and hypersensitivity in the everyday, in a pint of blueberries spilled on a pristine white aisle that accidentally creates a actionist, gestural painting, in a contact solution advertising the supposed simulation of “healthy tears”, in a health food store sign mistakenly read as “BIO CARNAL”. In his exhibition, Wood presents his response to the ideally perfect California lifestyle, an examination of “unhealthy tears” and of “organic sex”, challenging us to question how we are molded by accepted ways of perception within western society and consumer culture by presenting his own new visual language.
My painting practice revolves around personal history that can be either fictional or non-fictional (truth). These pictures perform as autobiographical indexes. These indexes serve as points of departure to investigate the signs and materials that I interact with daily. Working in the field of painting and sculpture allows for a third language to develop, a visual language that captures the every changing ways that I try to mediate the images around me. By referencing the signs that surround us, I am poking holes by remaking these architectural signs that I encounter into new symbols. I’m mocking their utilitarian designs by deconstructing them into non-functional sculpture (form over function).