CHERRY Makita - Honest Engine Work Press Release
September 11—October 16, 1993
On September 11, 1993 the gallery will open an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles based artist Jason Rhoades. The exhibition, entitled "CHERRY Makita- Honest Engine Work" will be the artists first one-person show in New York City.
"CHERRY Makita- Honest Engine Work" is the latest project in an ongoing group of exhibitions which the artist has been working on during the past three years. Common to all of these exhibitions is the physical presence of the "working" artist in the gallery, even after the show has opened to the public and the traditional installation process should have been completed. In this particular installation the artist situates into the gallery space the hallucinations and fantasies of a weekend hobby-mechanic. In the course of this fantasy the artist renovates a structure that he describes as a semi-suburban garage. Inside of this homemade construction the artist attempts handiwork and operates the "CHERRY -Makita".
"Makita", a brand name synonymous for most hand held cordless drills, advertises their products with the slogan "All the power you need". Jason Rhoades interprets this need for power literally. A Chevrolet 350 General Motors V -8 car engine powers his "CHERRY -Makita". The engine, which the artist brought with him from Los Angeles, is now used to drill holes where needed. The "Honest Engine Work" the artist promises is not visually evident. However, his attempts to make his tool "CHERRY", a term used to express automotive embellishment, are apparent all over the gallery. A multitude of tools and models, all handmade by the artist, line the gallery/garage. The nonchalance with which the artist makes his objects betrays a sensibility that is as demanding as it is mature.
The exaggerated power of the V -8 driven drill and its dysfunctionality, the amount of physical work and the futility of the efforts involved create an atmosphere that is both absurd and disturbing at the same time. One finds oneself confronted with a multitude of associations, some obvious and almost too easy to decipher, others more obscure. The continuous presence of the artist at "work" during the course of the show further obstructs any efforts to interpret what is present in the gallery space. A unifying reason for this endeavor does not surface. The harder one tries to clarify this installation, the more elusive it seems to get until one realizes that meaning itself is put on the agenda.
One is left to think about the reasons and necessities of artistic production per se. The artist and the artist's work as an abstract phenomenon are at the conceptual heart of this work.