Name is the Surface

March 19, 2015
Kipp Gallery, Sprowls Hall

This event is over.

Name is the Surface is a solo exhibition of work by the Texas-born, Pittsburgh-based artist Corey Escoto. Presenting a group of manipulated Polaroid photographs accompanied by corresponding sculptures taking the photographic images as their structural blueprint, Escoto inverts and explores the relationship of the three-dimensional world to the flat, two-dimensional surface of its representation.

Escoto uses the recently discontinued Fuji Color FP-100c45 ‘Polaroid' film, the last commercial 4x5 instant film stock available which expires this year. “With this in mind, I am interested in the simultaneous emergence of digital photographic technologies, the waning of analog photography, the vast archive of images available via the Internet, and the possibilities that exist for the short time that these technologies coexist,” Escoto writes.

By modifying the camera to allow for the layering of hand-cut stencils and filters over his film, multiple exposures record and reveal flummoxing visuals that are of the real world and yet are not documents of anything that could be found on the other side of the camera's view finder. Playing with the supposed photographic truthfulness of the Polaroid, Escoto's slight of hand invokes the photographer-as-magician, the medium as deceptive as it is representational.

Escoto's sculptures further subvert the relationship of the image to its subject, a reversal of the photographic process where the three-dimensional mimics the two-dimensional original. His work is an interplay of surface and materials, the simultaneity of analog and digital, and the particular nature of materials and their substitutes (such as marble and its simulation, Formica), and photographs of those surfaces. And while the reverse engineered sculptural forms are an attempt to turn back time, decompress space, and reconnect with a simple pleasure of tactility, they also carry a political subtext, bringing to mind the permanence (or disposability) of built environments, structures of power, and the willing suspension of disbelief.

Escoto received a BFA from Texas Tech University in 2004 and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. Escoto has shown both nationally and internationally, with select solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, Regina Rex, Queens, N.Y., as well as an upcoming exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. His work has been included in exhibitions at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, the ArtHouse at Jones Center in Austin, and international venues that include ACC Galerie, Weimar, Germany; Seven Days Brunch, Basel; and FRAC Nord-Pas De Calais, Dunkerque, France. He is a recipient of the Gateway Foundation Grant, an Aperture Portfolio Prize finalist, and a Kala Art Institute Residency Program and Fellowship Award. The artist currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his mint and cilantro plants and is a single parent of a seedling cherry tree.

This exhibit will have an Artist Talk in Room 118A, Sprowls Hall on March 19, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. with a reception to follow. Also, just a reminder that the gallery will be closed during spring break.

Gallery Hours

Monday through Friday: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Closed weekends and university holidays