20 – 30 November 2014
Closing Event & Artist Conversation | Sunday 30 November 4pm
A new work developed specifically for presentation at Boxcopy, Dry Gulch considers the relationship between the artist’s body and the oft-inhabited contemporary art space. For the exhibition Shorter will extinguish the natural light that permeates Boxcopy and occupy the space for the duration of the show. As viewers enter the darkened room, their pupils will dilate only to reveal a manifestation of the artist’s body as an unsettling chiaroscuro vision. This durational performance will take place from 20 – 29 November 12-6pm and Sunday 30 November 12-4pm.
Join us on Sunday 30 November for a conversation between Mark Shorter and Melbourne-based artist and curator Simone Hine. Simone is the co-director of Screen Space and is currently undertaking a PhD in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne.
Dry Gulch is an extension of Shorter’s previous performance, Dark Contact (2012) in which the artist haunted a dingy hotel room for the day-long exhibition, Appin Labyrinth. Like Dark Contact, Dry Gulch revisits the haunting process, yet this new work places the artist’s body firmly within a gallery context, thus calling into question the complex historical relationship between these two entities. The term “dry-gulch” means to sinisterly ambush and comes from the eponymously named dried-up ravines in the American West where predatory bandits lay in wait to murder and rob travelers. “Gulch” also invokes the onomatopoeic notion of swallowing or drinking voraciously. Such ambivalent significations will permeate Shorter’s performance as the exhibition space is transformed into a site of dry-mouth anxiety and dripping, sweaty-bum anticipation.
Shorter works across painting, sculpture and performance. His practice draws on a grotesque and unsettling humour to unpick established conventions and social mores. He has developed and performed identities such as the bawdy country music singer Renny Kodgers, the quixotic journeyman Tino La Bamba, and the time-travelling landscape painting critic Schleimgurgeln. These three performance investigations express a unique contemporary grotesquerie and propose a criticality in art that is guttural, visceral and funny. Shorter regularly presents and enacts work in atypical venues to reflect a core concern of his practice, which is to consider the function of art both inside and outside conventional modes of display.
Mark Shorter (lives and works in Sydney) studied at the National Art School, Sydney and the Sydney College of the Arts where he completed a PhD in Visual Arts. Shorter has exhibited extensively throughout Australia. Significant exhibitions and performances include: 50 Ways to Kill Renny Kodgers, Contemporary Art Tasmania, Hobart, 2014, presented as a part of the Dark MOFO festival; Acts of Exposure, a survey of his Schleimgurgeln performance and video series, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, 2013; and Renny Kodgers LIVE with Pee Pee, presented as part of the Biennale of Sydney’s Superdeluxe@Artspace, 2010. From 2010 to 2012 he was the host of The Renny Kodgers Quiz Hour on FBi 94.5FM and in early 2014 he published Quixotic Visions: Tino La Bamba’s Great Australian Adventure.
Image: Mark Shorter Dry Gulch 2014. Installation view at Boxcopy.