Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
January 6–March 3, 2018
Opening reception: Saturday, January 6, 6–8pm
Blum & Poe is pleased to present ฿o₫៛€$, an exhibition of new work by Hugh Scott-Douglas. The artist’s third solo show with the gallery, ฿o₫៛€$ stages printed paintings alongside steel sculptures and digital video. In these new works, Scott-Douglas employs the tools native to the worlds of industry and commerce in an exploration of capital’s attempts to render quantifiable the experiential (and, potentially, non-mensurable) qualities of nature, honing in on examples of natural bodies made visible in the service of the production of value and the organization of labor.
Trade Winds is the umbrella term for an ongoing series of printed paintings born out of the artist’s continued interest in images and objects existing as casualties of material moving through analog distribution networks. For this series, Scott-Douglas uses FleetMon, a piece of logistics industry-specific software, which generates and subsequently captures images of the ocean’s fundamental weather patterns. Non-graphic, organic and experiential elements of the ocean—the direction of currents and winds, for example—are quantified here through graphemes. These captures are manipulated, both materially and chromatically, and then printed digitally in a manner that echoes the analog process of screen-printing.
In an adjacent gallery, Scott-Douglas presents a new series of sculptures that continue his investigation into capital’s endeavor to codify natural abstractions. Employing CargoLoad, a program used to algorithmically map the efficient loading of a shipping cargo container (both spatially and efficaciously), the artist measured his own body to create a forty-two-part manifest representative of and proportionate to his body parts. The manifest is loaded into the program at various scales and CargoLoad generates both an image and a protocol, which are in turn used to fabricate the “anatomical” sculpture—all constituent parts are present, but capital’s desire for friction-free networks yield forms that no longer represent a human body.
Rendering natural bodies visible through an abstraction is a means of quantifying and thereby commodifying a concept. In a nearby gallery, Scott-Douglas achieves this through a digital video projection of ghost jellyfish. As the jellyfish float (as they often do in the shipping lanes of ocean container ships), LED lamps pump light through pink lighting gels, coloring the otherwise clear bodies of the creatures as they drift against an illuminated blue background. With their existence put on display in the service of accumulation, their bodies are made perceptible, both through and for this spectacle. Scott-Douglas subjects the footage of the jellyfish to a feedback loop he has created—the video played on a monitor, and filmed again—generating a moiré in the picture, a wholly contained ghost image of the network that is facilitating the production of the video.
Hugh Scott-Douglas (b. 1988 in Cambridge, UK) lives and works in New York. Recent museum exhibitions include solo presentations at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Art, Togichi Prefecture, Japan (2016) and the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA (2015); and group shows at Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH (2014); MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2014); and Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI (2013). His work is included in public and private collections internationally including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA.