BROOKLYN — Brooklyn Arts Council’s BAC Gallery presents a new exhibition for spring 2012, “Funny Ha Ha,” a group show that explores different approaches to using humor in art to make a serious statement.
The exhibition is curated by Courtney Wendroff, BAC’s visual arts director. It features works from Brooklyn artists Ernest Concepcion, Katy Higgins, Beth Krebs and Iviva Olenick. The opening reception will be held Thursday, March 1, from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Undoubtedly, humor is subjective,” said Wendroff. “And artworks that go for the obvious joke can easily be dismissed as insincere or simply entertainment. But humor can also be used as a tactic, a way to help the audience digest serious ideas.”
There are many theories that attempt to explain what humor is, what social function it serves, and what should be considered humorous. Artists sometimes use humor to question relationships between art and everyday life, but can art be both critical and humorous? “Funny Ha Ha” looks at this question through the eyes of four different artists.
Ernest Concepcion works in painting, sculpture and installation, using conventions of photorealism and landscape, but employing fantastical elements to explore alternative universes. He also uses concepts of war in the process of painting itself, strategically invading the landscapes by drawing armies on the surface following topographical formations, eventually turning tranquil natural scenarios into potential battlefields.
Katy Higgins explores the complicated relationships we have with the natural world, and the tension between natural and artificial seen in representations of landscapes and living things. Her work examines how people choose to shape, re-create, and/or represent the natural world to fit various needs.
Beth Krebs’ drawings imagine a new possibility in a real, and often ordinary, place. Her work encourages a suspension of disbelief and asks people to notice where they are and, with humor, to imagine what else might be possible there. Her videos, a selection of which will be featured in the gallery on Thursday, April 5, use basic materials to make extraordinary interruptions in ordinary spaces.
Iviva Olenick’s hand-embroidered pieces include text and illustration on scraps of fabric, what she refers to as a selection of “wry post-its.” Also on view is Olenick’s “Brooklyn Love Map,” which includes snippets of love stories she collected for her project, “The Brooklyn Love Exchange.” For this project, funded by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Olenick collected stories from current and former Brooklynites about their romantic encounters and relationships, and turned it into an embroidered artwork.
“Funny Ha Ha” runs from March 1 through July 27, 2012. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. BAC Gallery is located at 11 Front St., DUMBO.