Michael Dee: Melted Hearts and Deadly Force / 2009

Sculpture, drawings, video and photographs September 12 – October 31, 2009

Opening reception Saturday September 12th 5-8 pm

Western Project is proud to present new work by Los Angeles artist, Michael Dee. Entitled, Melted Hearts and Deadly Force, the exhibition explores the contradictions of materials and content, and the primacy of illusion, beauty and transformation. Dee uses plastic as a synthetic messenger; a manifestation of the sublime. Transparent plastic Lexan tubes are heated and structured into web like creations, colorful nests or polycarbonate environments, hiding bright neon hearts. The individual sculptures and large ceiling installation allude to the natural world and the historic works of Chamberlain and Eva Hess. From cheap industrial materials, aesthetics arise; each work a phoenix of desire, lust, and emotion. The neon hearts glow in the center, as fragile decoys, or sign of True beauty? Hearts Melt, How Many More Times, is a work comprised of hundreds of cheap plastic heart shaped boxes, melted into sexual orifices. A similar transformation occurs in Dee’s graphite drawings of exploded jacketed hollow point bullets: a phallic projectile transforms into an orifice upon impact; force becomes a flower formation. Conversely, Dee’s video, Song of Myself, superimposes live performances of Devo (Uncontrollable Urge) and Led Zeppelin (Black Dog) to create an uneasy unity. It is a noisy examination of two different generations/attitudes using the same blues rock structure; mirroring songs grind against one another – lust and anxiety as inseparable partners. As a cacophony of longing, the video exemplifies Dee’s search for meaning in artifice; as opposites illuminate one another in our dualistic universe.

Dee has exhibited in Japan, England, France, New York, Larry Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles and numerous other galleries and museums in the United States. He will be in the upcoming exhibition, Sweet Subversives: Contemporary California Drawings, at the Long Beach Museum Of Art.