This is Barnes's second effort as the gallery's guest curator, the first being a political exhibit presented last year. There's no real unifying theme in Peachy Keen; Barnes simply invited a group of his friends -- Justin Beard, Jeremiah Teutsch, Harry Walters and Amy Bennett -- who also happen to be promising young artists.
Beard is represented by a shamelessly Bruce Nauman-ish video and a couple of installations, none of which hold a candle -- or, more aptly, a cigarette -- to Second Hand Smoke, his solo at Capsule a couple of months ago. That was one of the best installations I've seen in years.
The same goes for Teutsch's paintings. The ones in his solo at Gallery Sink this past spring were much more successful than those in Peachy Keen.
Self-appointed enfant terrible Walters maintains his edgy reputation with paintings that have been gouged with a tool. They're the kind of thing he showed in his solo at ILK @ Pirate (now HazMat) earlier this year. What he's doing is deconstructing formalism by violating its essential flatness. He's not respecting the rectangular margins of the canvas, either, since the strings of paint hang off the bottoms like fringes.
Bennett's "Wonder Bread Trees" (above) is absolutely the best thing in the show, and better than anything she showed in her own solo at Gallery Sink. Even though it's made of small components -- pipe cleaners, pompoms and plastic gels -- it's enormous. The tree-like forms seem to float between the ceiling and the floor, an effect that is pulled off with nearly invisible filaments used to hold the elements up.
The uneven Peachy Keen at Andenken closes this Saturday, August 28.