Still Life Landscape
by Kenneth Baker
Saturday, July 2, 2011
The long creative collaboration of Charlie Castaneda and Brody Reiman, who sign themselves Castaneda/Reiman, has kept their work on a slow upswing, as their show at Baer Ridgway proves.
Its overall title - "Still Life Landscape" - hints at their mischief with genres and media. Castaneda/Reiman continue to find promptings and materials in their employment as contractors. Drywall and mud, lumber and cast plaster figure in many pieces here, along with output from digital scans of the flea market landscape paintings they have collected for years.
"Still Life Landscape (Sculpture)" (2011) appears twice in the show, sort of. A framed color photograph hangs near the entrance. It appears to describe an ensemble of fameless paintings from C/R's collection stacked, leaning against a wall. At the far end of the gallery space, kept out of view by some stairs, the visitor finds the same ensemble of paintings in reality.
Well, not exactly the same - they appear flopped in the photograph. And not exactly in reality either, as the ostensible paintings turn out to be pigment prints on drywall. These include a slab that at first seems to reproduce a patched section of wall, which also reveals itself to be an adhered image, not real repair.
The only actual painting here has been done on the wall: just some plain old coverage, no hand, no eye.
All this play with simulations and substances - only a taste of what goes on in the show - would implode from trickiness if Castaneda/Reiman took it too seriously, or too flippantly.
But they know how to make materially satisfying objects whose conceptual facets always work humor into them.
And although the early postmodernist worry about simulations eclipsing reality may sound stale, its truth surrounds us like wallpaper. Castaneda/Reiman's materialist approach to this condition finds in it an almost utopian sense of opportunity.
Castaneda/Reiman: Still Life Landscape: Sculptural installations. Through July 16. Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, 172 Minna St., San Francisco. (415) 777-1366. www.baerridgway.com.