What Is My Work About?
In my process, I develop systems to produce object driven work creating content that highlights themes such as society, labor, over-stimulation and consumption. For my current work, I’ve been building an archive populated by remnants of my daily disposable life (currently 2000 objects) to be used as content, medium and character for photographic collages, drawings, video and sculpture.These works start as aesthetically cropped remnants culled from my daily societal refuse (credit card junk mail, mascara packaging, receipts) which are individually photographed, cataloged into a physical archive, and entered into a computer database with searchable data of their characteristics as well as lyrical stories of their importance. Using numerology, color, material, content and lyricality as well as analog and digital search systems, I can bring together these disparate bits of modern day detritus to form aesthetic compositions to speak about contemporary life.
In my process, I develop systems to produce object driven work creating content that highlights themes such as society, labor, over-stimulation and consumption. For my current work, prompted by a conversation with a psychic and a conversation with a friend, I’ve been building an archive populated by remnants of my daily disposable life (currently numbering 2000 unique objects) to be used as content, medium and character for drawings, photographic collages, video and sculpture.
These works start by culling items from my day-to-day societal refuse (credit card junk mail, mascara packaging, pasta boxes, receipts) and turning them into as aesthetically cropped abstracted remnants. These remnants are photographically documented as individual pieces, cataloged into a physical archive, and entered into a database along with searchable data of their physical properties as well as lyrical stories of their importance.
With this system of archiving my disposable objects, I create a visual and lyrical diary with connections to our complicated contemporary life. There are many quiet contradictions fueling this work. The work hovers over realism and abstraction, still life and patterning. The content uses analog systems to create digital works, and digital systems to create analog works. They speak of the handmade versus machine made, the poetic versus the analytical, and value versus the worthless.
There are multiple mediums that manifest itself through this system thus far. The first is the actual archive, presented as an aesthetic sculptural object. Housing the remnants, this growing physical archive currently consists of ten metal boxes each containing 200 hand numbered white cards, each card with their highlighted remnant object. These mysterious boxes are presented as a current anthropological archive, each box adorned with systematic engraved brass nameplates. The boxes are meant to be an used and perused by myself and by viewers.
For organizational purposes and to enable an expansion of lyrical ideas, there is also a digital version of the physical archive in the form of a computer database. This tool can attach information about each object and thus be used as a searching vehicle. For each remnant, data input is collected for each object – an ID number, Name, Date, Material, Use, Colors and Story. While the physical properties are descriptive of the actual remnant, the Name and the Story are much more lyrical and can pertain to anything from events of that day, a memory, a joke, feelings, a related search result on Wikipedia or Google, lines from Facebook… basically anything that attaches words to that object. With that, I have a wealth of searchable attributes with which to draw on remnants and create works. For aesthetic or thematic works, I can search for things such as “light blue”, “plastic”, containing the word “silky”, or “junk mail”, and the database will call up all of those remnants. Or, for more lyrical and ambiguous pieces, I can perform searches such as “anything collected on a Tuesday that is Green that contains Rainbow in the story”. The database becomes not only an organizational and search tool, but one that can create poetic, esoteric or hieroglyphical content.
Using my tools, the archive and the computer database, I am able to create large scale photo collage that can aesthetically speak to societal issues of our contemporary consumer life. Using the archive as a symbol of complication and over-stimulation, the act of pulling out objects from the archive to sort and organize is an attempt to create order in a complicated world. These printed works essentially try to make sense of the chaos, as a coping mechanism of the societal banter that hums present at all times. In the prints, the remnants are presented as objects in a cohesive vacuous environment, yet upon closer examination reveal multitudes of different lighting and angle views, quietly exposing this organized cohesive environment as an impossibility.
The context of the work is also important, and the presentation is used to further the analog versus digital aspects of this project. These photographic collages are all printed on archival watercolor paper, using the physicality of the cotton paper to invoke the handmade in contrast to the machine made remnants. In the framing, as opposed to mounting the works as is commonly done with photography, these works are hinged the way you might frame a drawing, treating the piece as a handmade object instead of a manufactured one. Each print is unique and is not printed as an edition, playing with the idea of the unique made up of the mass produced.
The third medium derived from this system is realistic drawing of these miniature abstractions, presented as beautiful and emotionally imbued enigmatic treasures. In contrast to the colorful collages, these quiet works, void of color, are also void of complication. They are a handmade tribute to machine made objects, taking the disposable and making it triumphant, presenting the mass produced as something unique. This more thoughtful concentration on the individual object also allows for rumination on the labor and the history of that object. As I work, I often wonder how many people feed their family with their labor connection to this one disposable object with its momentary importance.
In an attempt to display the actual beautiful abstracted remnants without breaking the integrity of the archive, I have created sculptural “Vessels”, which can be used to temporarily present thematic collections of remnants “on loan” from the archive, treating them as specimens of our cosmopolitan age. These Vessel boxes, housed in disposable repurposed wooden packaging, are used as presentation vehicles for the Vessels. This aspect of the project is temporary, performative and allows for a fluid investigation and interaction with the physical remnants.
To be able connect the archive with the print and drawing based works, I created a handmade ledger, a simple printout of the entire database. With this, viewers can see the extent of the data and how it is collected and organized, explaining the depth of process. This ledger can also be used as a Key in a simple Color Coding System that can help trace a remnant featured in a print or drawing back to the original remnant piece located in the archive. Using the ledger, a viewer can investigate an artwork from the macro to the micro and not only experience the art, but the system used to create the art.
In the past, I have relied on systems based processes to create work because I think the use of parameters opens up a whole world of artistic exploration. With the consistency and backbone of a system, I am totally free to explore new mediums and modes of working while still connecting with the content. For the future of the work, I want to expand the functionality of the database, creating more complicated searches that are less visually structured and more lyrically influenced, letting a self-made hieroglyphics enter the work, and to use this to create more complicated drawings and paintings. I am interested in experimenting with works that combine digital prints with drawing. I’d like to make giant vinyl wall murals, on their own or alongside traditional framed prints. I have been making simple animations, and see a future in interactive video, where viewers can use the database searches to create their own personalized dynamic video works. With the structure of the archive, I see a limitless future of inspiration and work I can create from this system.
In my work and my life, I think a lot about labor, over-stimulation, and distraction; about how much more beautiful things in our society look through the lens; what we throw away and what we keep; and about how to further the genres of abstraction and realism. I think about the balance between the human touch and the machine, and about building a work that has life. I think about beauty, craft, and excellence. I think about dedication.
Sydney Croskery is a third generation Angelino, who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work generally is about society, over-stimulation, and consumption. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has participated in group shows at Raid Projects, LACE, Angles Gallery, 18th Street Center, antena Gallery in Chicago, and has done multiple performance projects both at the Getty Museum, the Deitch Art Parade in NY, and was included in a show on performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She is an active member of the LA Art Girls and was one-half of the World Famous Wiener Girls of Chicago.
MFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago
BFA San Francisco Art Institute
“6H to 8B, Drawings by Los Angeles Artists” at Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
“Inaugural Show at Outpost Projects” curated by Aili Schmeltz, Joshua Tree
“LACE Pop Up Shop” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Hollywood
“Olly Olly Oxen Free” at Offramp Gallery curated by Kristi Engle, Pasadena
“Squaring the Circle: Llano del Rio Centennial” with performances by the LA Art Girls
“MAS Attack” at the LA Mart, organized by Artra Curatorial, Los Angeles
“Oh The Humanity” at the Pomona Packing Plant, curated by Kelly Thompson, Pomona
The Egg in Stephanie Allespach’s “I Feel As If I Have Two Wolves Fighting..” at LACE, LA
“La Cosa Nostra” at Gallerie Rheeway, curated by Max Presneill and Grant Vetter, Los Angeles
“MDW Art Fair, Sydney Croskery and Pamela Johnson” at Portage Projects, Chicago
“Alumni Art Show” at Sam Francis Gallery, curated by Elsa Longhauser, Santa Monica
“Unfinished Paintings” at LACE, curated by Kristin Calabrese and Joshua Aster
The Egg at “The Outpost Cup” sponsored by Outpost for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Wiener Girl Video and Performance in “Zombies: A Mindless Affair” at antena, Chicago
I AM SIMON video at “Favorite This!” at Meridian Gallery, San Francisco
The WIENER WORKOUT TM video at “Favorite This!” at Meridian Gallery, San Francisco
“LAAGAFBLA08, LA Art Girls Art Fair Bienniele LA 2008” at Phantom Galleries, Los Angeles
Wiener Girls Performance at “artXposium”, West Chicago
Wiener Girls Performance at “The 4th Annual Deitch Art Parade”, New York
The Egg in “On Procession , Parades and Street Pageantry”, Indianapolis Museum of Art
“Overflow, A reinvention of Kaprow’s Fluids” by The LA Art Girls at the Getty Museum, LA
“Big Bang, and Other Origins” at David Salow Gallery, Los Angeles
Wiener Girls at “The 3rd Annual Deitch Art Parade” with Deitch Projects, New York
The Egg at “The 3rd Annual Deitch Art Parade” with Deitch Projects, New York
“Boys 4 Girls,” LA Art Girls at OutFest Auction, Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles
“Hysteria Deluxe” at Angles Gallery, Santa Monica
“Painting’s Edge” at Fullerton College, Fullerton
“Fluxwear Event” by the LA Art Girls at LACE, Hollywood
“Total Art Performance Event” by the LA Art Girls at The Getty Museum, Los Angeles
The Egg at “The 2nd Annual Deitch Art Parade” with Deitch Projects, New York
“Artists Who Teach” at the Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School, Santa Monica
“Painting’s Edge” at the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside
“LA Art Show” with Raid Projects, Santa Monica Civic Center, Santa Monica
“Conversations” at the Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School, Santa Monica
“Rapid Response” at 18th Street Gallery, Santa Monica
The Wiener Girls in “Performance Week” at the Jack Tilton Gallery, New York
“A Taste Sensation 2” at the American Pop Culture Gallery, Nashville
“A Taste Sensation” by the Wiener Girls at The Wiener Circle Hot Dog Stand, Chicago
“Textuality” at G2, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
“The Body Show” at Purple Gallery, Los Angeles
“The Newer Language” at Purple Gallery, Los Angeles
“Psychic, Physical & Emotional Baggage” at The Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco
“Sweet Like Sugar, Sticky Like Bubble Gum” at The Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco
“Snacks” at ACME Gallery, San Francisco
Work in Progress Lecture Series: LA Art Girls – Getty Museum, Los Angeles, December 2006
On Feminism, Talking with the LA Art Girls – Dangerous Curve, Los Angeles, July 2006
REVIEWS AND BIBLOGRAPHY
On Procession – The Egg at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Catalog
LA WEEKLY – What Makes a Painting Finished? by Carol Cheh, June 22, 2011
Art 21 – Revealing Unfinished Paintings by Lily Simonson
Artforum – “Previews: On Procession” by Phillip Auslander, May 2008
Time Out New York – “Marching Madness,” by Howard Halle, 2008
The Indianapolis Star – April 27, 2008
LA WEEKLY – “Chaos Theorizing ” by Peter Frank, LA Weekly, January 2008
Bikini Magazine – “Oscar (Meyer)- Worthy Performance” by Scott Sterling, February 1999
Projector Magazine – Visual Art Exhibition and Lunch, by Grant Samuelson, October 1998
Juxtapoz Magazine – in the Beatdown, December 1998
D’Art International – Interview by Steve Rockwell, December 1998
Curator’s Lab Award – Fellows of Contemporary Art, 2015
Nomination for the Rema Hort Mann Grant, 2015
CCI Quick Grant, 2014
Painting’s Edge – Idyllwild, CA 2006
Honor Studio – San Francisco Art Institute 1994-5
LA ART GIRL – Member since 2006
WIENER GIRL – Member since 1997