MAR 4 - APR 22, 2012


My love, do you ever dream of
Candy coated rain­drops?
You’re the same, my candy rain

–Soul 4 Real, ‘Candy Rain’

Joe Shef­tel Gallery is proud to present Philade­phia based sculp­tor Alex Da Corte’s first major New York solo show, Candy Rain. The show will open on March 4, 2012 from 6 to 8 p.m. and run through April 22.

Candy Rain is inspired by the Soul 4 Real song ‘Candy Rain’ which hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in April of 1995. The Soul 4 Real video pro­vides all the clas­sic hall­marks of 90’s R&B boy-band sat­is­fac­tion; hand­some young men in coor­di­nat­ing out­fits singing sim­ple roman­tic lyrics in front of a series of glit­ter­ingly low bud­get back­grounds and low tech spe­cial effects. The video acts as a ready­made object whose lan­guage and imagery have been watched, cel­e­brated and then pushed out of col­lec­tive con­scious­ness.

Da Corte’s sculp­tures uti­lize objects and ideas that our soci­ety adores, con­sumes and dis­cards. An old music video iso­lates a moment in visual his­tory and reminds us of what was cul­tur­ally impor­tant and visu­ally pleas­ing at that time. Sim­i­larly, Da Corte’s sculp­tures pro­vide per­spec­tive on what is visu­ally impor­tant today. His use of found and hum­ble mate­ri­als reminds the viewer of one’s inti­macy with the thou­sands of dis­card­able items that sur­round him and the role these items play in our shared self-definitions. Da Corte’s work cam­paigns against the con­tin­ued nor­mal­iza­tion and stan­dard­iza­tion of our cul­ture by hold­ing every­day mass-produced objects under the spot­light of his artis­tic process.

The sculp­tures in Candy Rain inves­ti­gate the arti­facts of con­sumer cul­ture to begin a deeper dia­logue on what we have loved and for­got­ten. Repur­pos­ing every­day prod­ucts like dis­count sham­poo to make an abstract paint­ing, Da Corte asks view­ers to re-examine the items placed clos­est to their bod­ies. Posi­tion­ing dol­lar store rub­ber balls on col­ored acrylic pedestals, he simul­ta­ne­ously invokes Anne Tru­itt along with the smi­ley face on a deli shop­ping bag. Da Corte digs beneath the sur­face of our object ori­ented lives to find sto­ries of class, gen­der, and diverg­ing real­i­ties.

Exam­in­ing and ven­er­at­ing the item from the gro­cery store, street cor­ner or Ikea, Da Corte hopes to resus­ci­tate a roman­tic lan­guage and failed iconog­ra­phy that caught our col­lec­tive inter­est for a moment and then faded. The sculp­tures often carry a unique his­tory of their pre­vi­ous lives in their cur­rent incar­na­tion as an object look­ing for sec­ond chance at recon­sid­er­a­tion, love and redemp­tion. Through his use of mate­r­ial, Da Corte probes the imbal­ances of power that define soci­ety, one where the man­u­fac­tured object is used a proxy for power, sex and hap­pi­ness.

Alex Da Corte was born in Cam­den, NJ in 1981. He cur­rently lives and works in Philadel­phia, PA. He received his BFA from Uni­ver­sity of the Arts and a MFA from Yale Uni­ver­sity in 2010. Da Corte will have a solo pre­sen­ta­tion at the upcom­ing First Among Equal show at Insti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Art (ICA), Philadel­phia. He was also recently included in the ICA Philadel­phia exhi­bi­tion How We Escaped: Reflec­tions on Warhol. His works have been shown at Museum of Mod­ern Art, MoMA PS1, TEAM Gallery, Yvon Lam­bert Gallery, and Nicole Klags­brun Gallery in New York. He has had solo shows at Extra Extra and Bodega in Philadel­phia in 2011.