Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, in partnership with Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, is pleased to present Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head, an exhibition featuring a major commission of new works by Andy Coolquitt. Since the 1990s, the Austin, TX-based artist has garnered recognition for his dynamic assemblages and expansive installations composed of ordinary found objects and materials that explore relationships between art, its viewing context, and the human body. Aiming to confound the distinction between these three categories, Coolquitt produces atmospheres of comfort and sociability where his works companionably coexist, and at times are not always discernible, from their surrounding environments.
For this exhibition, Coolquitt has generated a vibrant body of work that includes paintings, sculptures, and video which the artist uses to form connections between some of the juxtapositional aspects of a place that is simultaneously private and public, homelike and commercial, an exhibition venue and a hotel. While acknowledging the tensions between these realms, Coolquitt’s focus is on the potential of their intersections. In conceiving the works for this exhibition, the artist employs a straightforward tomfoolery intended to dislodge the typical viewing practices associated with contemporary art.
Throughout the exhibition, Coolquitt uses the language of geometric abstraction to riff off of the hotel’s architectural and design facets, incorporating, for example, site-specific hard edge or gestural painting as a tactic to reimagine the lounge, stairwell, or skylight. Such interventions expand the engaging potential of these areas while they emphasize the impact of shapes, lines, colors, patterns, and textures on our spatial experience. Other works in the show consist of familiar domiciliary items such as bathmats, chairs, light bulbs, and nylon stockings. Coolquitt elevates the significance of undervalued ubiquitous objects that enhance our visceral response to interior environments, prompting viewers to critically analyze the dimensions of our attraction to these basic yet undeniably essential things.