September 7 — October 12, 2019
Conduit Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of paintings by Dallas-based artist, Jeff Gibbons.
Jeff Gibbons has explored a wide array of materials in his art practice. His sculptures have made use of HVAC equipment to create constantly freezing coils of ice, and have animated found and repurposed materials – cheese, noodles, heavy machinery - into reactive and automated beings. He has choreographed dance performances, made films, written numerous stories and essays, and developed musical works. You would not have called him a "painter”. Until now. Following his December 2018 show, this upcoming exhibition won’t feature the kinetic sculpture or interactive statuesque characters that one might be used to in his work. This fall season, Gibbons will show a series of new paintings that loosely tell the story of Planet Sandwich. Gibbons describes:
“Planet Sandwich is a story about the future of Planet Earth, as well as a series of paintings, exploring themes such as nuclear war, genetic mutation, childhood development, artificial intelligence, failure, hopelessness and pluck, and the universal appeal and staying power of humankind’s greatest invention — sandwiches.“
Gibbons’ propensity to create a universe out of a single character is on full display here, in semi-narrative form. The paintings can feel like a series of vignettes in a family of related concepts – curious characters making their way through landscapes that have long been victim of apocalyptic catastrophe, and a massive world city inhabited by robots and run by Artificial Intelligence which serves up sandwiches to the wealthiest beings in the Universe.
Gibbons’ talent as a writer is manifest more directly in this body of work than ever before. The collection of paintings waxes poetic on our collective concerns for the future of the plant and ourselves, whilst remaining hopeful and humorous enough to exist in Technicolor.
Escape from Planet Sandwich
by Jeff Gibbons
On Earth there was a small, family-owned sandwich shop, called Planet Sandwich, that made delicious sandwiches, but couldn’t bring in the bucks. The owner, Mike, was a brilliant sandwicher, but a terrible businessperson, so they hired a friend to develop an Artificial Intelligence that could run their business.
The entity known as Planet Sandwich became a corporate giant two years after its creation. After five years it was deemed sentient, and given U.S. citizenship. Consequentially, it sued the original owner and acquired full control of the Planet Sandwich empire, which by then had established Planet Sandwiches all around the globe.
Soon after, Planet Sandwich ran for President of the United States, and won. At the time, the planet had warmed to such a degree, that entire countries of people began to seek asylum elsewhere. Planet Sandwich accepted all refugees, and began building cities on large buttresses in low lying areas, to prepare for rising sea levels. Other countries throughout the world saw the progress happening under Planet Sandwich’s office, and perceived an imbalance in power. Despite all of Planet Sandwich’s efforts, the situation escalated to become the largest war in the history of the world. Nuclear weapons where deployed to all of the most populated areas. Radiation crept into every fold of the planet.
Some people escaped to the deserts, forests, mountains, tundras, and seas, where they were genetically altered over many generations, by a slow but steady intake of radioactive materials. Their bodies became amalgamations of their environments and the native animals throughout the lands, as their genes were gently interwoven upon contact and consumption.
Centuries passed. Many of the survivors lived happily in small villages. One such village, lovingly called “Only,” by its inhabitants, consisted of a few dozen hermaphroditic people, with colorful, and sometimes interesting, forms and personalities. When the past was nearly forgotten, many people began to find their way back to the homelands of their ancestors, some due to curiosity, and others, like the “Onlies,” by force.
Most of the Earth’s past cities had become high-speed gateways to a single central hub, which was called Sallad. It was filled with various robots, people, and aliens, who lived lives much as humans did in the past, being given a job, a place to live, 500 credits, and a complimentary media compilation of Motown’s Greatest Hits, immediately upon registration.
The planet was no longer called Earth, it was called Planet Sandwich. The central mechanism of the Sandwichling’s economy was a renowned restaurant, also called Planet Sandwich, which hovered high on a glistening spire in the heart of Sallad. It catered only to the most prestigious of beings, serving THE BEST SANDWICH IN THE UNIVERSE, as advertised via massive etchings into the far-side of the moon.
Jeff Gibbons (b. Detroit, 1982) is an installation artist, sculptor, painter, musician, writer, film maker, curator, producer, choreographer, and often collaborator, living and working in Dallas, Texas. He earned an MFA in Intermedia art from University of Texas in Arlington, and a BFA in ceramics from University of Tampa. Notable exhibitions include, The Nasher Sculpture Center, The Power Station, Conduit Gallery, The Goss-Michael Foundation, the Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro, CentralTrak Gallery, 1-800-789-2228, Le Sud Bébé in Marseille, France, BeefHaus Gallery, Epitome Institute, Oliver Francis Gallery, galleryHOMELAND, Red Arrow Contemporary, the Majestic Theater in Dallas, and the Texas Theater. Some recent collaborations include The Birds with Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet, Grubnik and Suzanne with Gregory Ruppe, Lazer Tag with Jesse Morgan Barnett, and Apophenia Underground with Justin Ginsberg. Select group shows include the Dallas Biennial, the Texas Biennial, and the Dallas/Austin/Houston Art Fairs. Select international exhibitions include Cerámica Suro (Guadalajara, Mexico), KoncertKirken (Copenhagen, Denmark), the Berlin Becher Triennial (Berlin, Germany), Réunion Gallery (Zürich, Switzerland), and Hiroshima Art Center (Hiroshima, Japan). He co-created the art space Culture Hole with Gregory Ruppe in 2016, and co-created the exhibition series Deep Ellum Windows with Justin Ginsberg in 2012. In 2018, he participated in the DASER lecture and panel series at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C. presenting on the topic of ice. He was the inaugural artist in residence for Proximidad in Guadalajara/Dallas through the Power Station in 2017, an artist in residence at the Goss-Michael Foundation in 2015, and at CentralTrak’s International Artist Residency in 2014. Recent awards include The Dallas Museum of Art: Art Ball Prize, a Special Support Grant from the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, a Nasher Sculpture Museum Micro-grant, and the Dallas Observer 2015 Mastermind Award, and both Culture Hole and Deep Ellum Windows were named best art spaces/projects by D magazine.
Read the 9/23/19 Glasstire interview with Jeff Gibbons here.