Friday, October 7, 2016

Distracted Driving @ Real Art Ways

Scott Penkava: ad hoc ad hominem @ Novella Gallery

Scott Penkava's ad hoc ad hominem is a bent re-imagining of a work-space, that examines the benefits and pitfalls of a studio practice. The anchor piece of the show, titled "all the useless things my hands have done..." is a large work table, covered in artworks, tools, books and distractions, that slowly and of it's own accord tilts itself up and then comes back down to rest. To quote the artist, "One day in grad school I set my over loaded backpack down on the end of my sawhorse style table, the whole thing tumbled toward me. As I stood there trying to assign blame to the crappy table or the heavy bag, I realized that I made both of them, and that this was going to be a battle that went on forever, and I was going to have to accept the disruptive and balancing force that was my studio, or I was going to have to quit, and let that disruption manifest itself in my every day life."
The titular piece of the show, "ad hoc ad hominem" pulls its title from two latin phrases meaning "for this" and "at the person", ad hoc being familiar to most artists as description of a slap dash approach to making, often used by artists such as Bruce Nauman, whose fingerprints are all over this work. The phrase ad hominem is less familiar; it refers to an argument that is made by attacking the character of the person making rather than the argument itself. The work is an awkward piece suspended from a chain where a casting of a thumb is eternally drilled into by a mechanized exacto knife. Again from a conversation with the artist, "My former studiomate and friend Katherine Behar, who generally considers herself a performance/video artist, said to me one day, 'I'm making sculpture now!' I was puzzled because she had made a bunch of objects in the time I had known her and I said as much, she replied, 'The material I'm working with now is toxic and the process is dangerous, that's real sculpture.' She was being funny of course, but when I looked around my studio and saw the way that the objects and processes that were everywhere threatened me I realized that there was something that courted death in the practice of sculpture. Most other fields have been able to eliminate their poisons, but sculpture has a strong death drive that seems built into it."
One of the smaller works in the show entitled "it's not much for collateral..." is a sculpture of a laptop, lovingly, albeit roughly constructed from parts of old VCRs. The form meditates on the ubiquity of the current technology that has replaced the technology of the material used to make this copy. Karl Marx wrote, ‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please, they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past’ (Marx, 1951). This work creates a trash totem to an idol of modern design, playing with representation and presentation, while never giving over to simulation.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


thanks to Rachel Higgins, see the full project at


Postcard for SCOTT PENKAVA IN 3D!!!

you let me love you, until i was a failure...
Sheetrock, studs, plaster, paint, winch, chain
Dims variable

lost in thought and love and faithless fear...

Bukowski wrote something about it not being the large things in life that drive us mad, but the simple things the broken buttons and snapped shoelaces, adding up and driving us mad, in the same way, it's not all of the large things that you have in common with a person that make up so much of your relationship, but the small things. having a favorite food in common, remembering to buy someone else chocolate or beer, even when you don't like it yourself. its building up all of that little shit creates the inertia that creates what sustains a relationship. so its this simple exchange a hand gesture that echos the birth of man, that we do all the time that creates a relationship.

for reference,d.dmQ

"It's not the large things that send a man to the madhouse
death he's ready for
or murder, incest, robbery,
fire, flood.
No it's the continuing series of small tragedies
that send a man to a madhouse
not the death of his love, but a shoelace that snaps
with no time left......
.......and with each broken shoelace
out of 100 broken shoelaces
one man, one woman, one thing
enters a madhouse
so, be careful when you bend over"
~Charles Bukowski, 'The Shoelace' from Mockingbird Wish Me Luck

i'll love you with all of the madness in my soul.
Pen, saw blade, wax, wood, motor, and mixed media

There's something in the way that the machine that E.T. built that surpasses anything that i have ever seen engineered by art or science, it works in my brain in a way that only an eight year old can comprehend. a way that really works, so magically, a way that nothing works when i'm sitting up late trying to work. You know how you drink a cup of coffee late into the night to work late, but instead you sit and worry. the machine works the way i want a thing like that to work, but is about how so often you can't work the way you want to work.
Building this kind of machine i just flow back and forth, fiddling, adjusting, tweaking, until it working on it, an accident happens, and when that happens suddenly the motion becomes more more authentic than i could have imagined, maybe not always, it's not a perfect repeating reliable machine, it's a machine that comes into occasional moments of perfection. A machine that does the same thing over and over again exactly the same way isn't human, a machine that repeats almost the same thing over and over and sometimes gets it right, but often doesn't but keeps doing the same thing, that's human.

i've had kisses that make judas seem sincere...
Chain and padlocks

On job sites they lock the doors shut with a chain, the individual crews each have a padlock on that chain, each padlock functions as a link on that chain. It's a perfect trust exercise, anyone can betray anyone at anytime, but violating that trust has such a limited window. You get one violation, make the most of it, but it's not worth it, there's not enough to steal to make up for the relationships you have in there. it's the practical application of the prisoners dilemma.

IN 3D!
C-Print with 3D glasses

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

i make art and i'm not smarter than you... @ ArtSPACE New Haven

I have an exhibition running from May 5 - 31, 2012 at ArtSPACE New Haven (50 orange st. New Haven, CT 06510). There will be four or five new sculptures and a new multiple in the show, and the opening is on Saturday night! Also, i would be remiss to not mention that the space will also be open on Sunday May 6th from 12-6 (normally they are closed on sundays), due to the fact that Yale Open Studios is happening at the same time, so anyone who is commuting for this event gets to kill two birds with one stone. Actually you should eat a Miya's while you're in New Haven, thereby killing three birds.

and now some things from the press release:

I wasn't exactly raised by wolves, but I didn't have a whole lot of supervision either, what I did have was rules, lots of them, and I hated the rules. I was allowed books, which allowed escape from the rules. Lacking supervision and having a rich internal life I developed a notion of the man I would grow into, an internal father figure, and I grew up to be that, kind of. The problem arises when you become what you thought was cool when you were ten, and now you're a grown up and some of that is kind of silly, because being everything that you learned from Bruce Springsteen's three minute record doesn't quite add up to a life. At the same time that inner child is still kicking around in there, and needs your attention the same as ever. So I guess I'm still trying to impress and care for myself at the same time. I'm building a lego model of a motorcycle that I'm going to have when I grow up.

"your thoughts aren't real things, and neither are your feelings..."
molecular model of psilocybin
bowling balls and black iron pipes
dimensions variable, approximately 6'x10'x8' in this installation 2012

"there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
sheetrock, steel studs, corner bead, spackle
80"x18"x16" 2012

"but especially from the back"
plywood, spray paint, wiring, bulbs, aluminum flashing
40"x200"x6"  2012

"i learned that love was out of my control"
novelty comb, steak knife, chemical bonding
2"x2"x9"  2012

"thank you for the items that you sent me"
waste wood, waste aluminum, milk crates, guitar parts, electronics
48"x60"x24"  2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"i smile when i'm angry..."

                                           "i smile when i'm angry..."
                                           wax, wood, matches, hardware, motors, found objects 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

"even damnation is poisoned with rainbows..."

                                          "even damnation is poisoned with rainbows..."
                                          OSB, plexiglass, motor, lights, cowbell, paint 2011