ADAM KRUEGER: EN CAUL
Kin + Gold at 124 Forsyth Street, NYC
June 2 - 25, 2017
Kin + Gold is delighted to present— as its inaugural exhibition—En Caul, a solo show of paintings, drawings, and hybrid-sculptures by Adam Krueger. Derived from visceral sources yet thoughtfully planned and meticulously finished, Krueger’s art is the result of intensive self-reflection resulting from his confrontations with isolation that stem back to early childhood, or perhaps even from birth.
Despite being esoteric with personal symbolism, his art explores the nearly universal human capacity for self-awareness. Recognizing the self (“me”) as being separate from the external world (“not-me”) begins when an infant comes to understand that they are a separate being from its mother, resulting in feelings of loneliness and fear. To cope, a child may become attached to a comfort object, which exists in limbo between the internal and the external, to serve as a stand-in for its mother. Krueger taps into this impulse with Security Blanket, which transforms a ubiquitous childhood balm into an allegory of distinctly adult experiences. In this work, Krueger weaves together outwardly trivial imagery, such as Christmas themed wrapping paper, take-out menus and magazine ads, to form a curiously expressive collage made from hundreds of intricate oil paintings in the shape of a quilt on a hanger. The kaleidoscopic patterns initially appear random, however, upon deeper inspection a cryptic narrative appears. Images such as the packaging of Plan B, a plastic packet holding traces of white powder and an upright Seven of Swords tarot card all serve to allude to a wanton tale of lust, danger, betrayal, and grief.
Krueger continues with the motif of coverings with those that are used for protection and/or concealment. The depictions vary from plastic furniture covers to clear poly garment bags. Like a baby born en-caul (born in the amniotic sac), these encasements evoke a clinging on to an existence pre-birth— a yearning for the privacy and unity with one’s mother that exists only while in utero. Krueger simultaneously investigates the psychic barriers one creates to hide the vulnerable true self from the outside world. Krueger covers his private relics with mostly crystal clear materials, conveying his conflicting desires to protect his true self while indulging in exhibitionism, underscoring the dualities inherent in human nature. Reflecting this dichotomy are his delicately rendered graphite drawings on paper displayed in plastic baggies. Things like a cankered shower drain cover, a cigarette butt, a scraped scratch-off ticket or an engagement ring come across as both evidence and precious relics enshrined. Detritus and gems, the spent and the unused are presented equally, exploring the elusiveness of time and mercuriality of memories. Wrought solely in black and white, evoking the silver screen hues of a bygone era, the artifacts convey a nostalgia for the recent past. Krueger’s use of grayscale remind that although potent and often vivid, keepsakes and the recollections they evoke are not red-blooded life itself, but like smoke and ash from a once burning flame.
In Krueger’s most recent of works on view, he explores the most intimate covering we all have: our skin. For these pieces, Krueger tattoos synthetic skin (rubber silicon) with imagery that explores notions of self-evaluation and identity, such as through the symbolism of tarot cards, which are used for divination and tapping into one’s subconscious. Krueger illuminates the means that one can use to help satisfy curiosity about one’s self: past, present and future. By using the unusual medium of tattooed artificial skin, Krueger expresses how deeply embedded our notions of self can be, either true or imaginary. Yet our skin is a constantly self-refreshing organism, sloshing off the dead weight to make way for the new. Krueger’s work serves as a talisman through the tumult of this cyclical change: from birth, to childhood to adulthood.