"Scarlet Fever" at the Hogar Collection

Paddy Johnson Jill Magid I Can Burn Your Face 2009 custom pillow 18" x 18" x 5"
and Iliyan Ivanov, Apocalyptic Unicorn 2009 stoneware pet food bowl 2.5" x 6" x 6"
each edition 1 of 3 [installation view]

Ouch. Late again. "Scarlet Fever", an oddly-intimate group show at Hogar (little more than a handful of artists who studied and worked on their MFA's at Rutgers around 2000-2001), closed on Monday, and I had fully intended to do this post well before it disappeared.

I decided to spotlight this shrewd piece by Paddy Johnson not because it shows she is any more closely identified with the school's mascot, the "Scarlet Knight", than her colleagues in the show but because in a modest and wry way it seems to pull together (or finish off) so much of what has been described as the leading edge in the art world over the past decade, in art both material and conceptual.

Johnson's public visibility is very much a function of her popularity as an arts blogger, so when we learn that she called in her art for this exhibition it seems perfectly natural. Working off the only thread which held together the group of artists represented in the show, she did an on-line search using the term "Rutgers MFA" and found a Jill Magid neon image, "I can burn your face", and Iliyan Ivanov's "Apocalyptic Unicorn" triptych. Still on line, she then placed an order with Cafe Press, an internet site that prints images on all sorts of things (cups t-shirts, etc.), for a pillow and a pet food bowl, and asked them to be shipped to the gallery. Johnson calls the pair, mounted here on a white wooden shelf, a couple of "unlikely alumni gifts".

The other artists in the show were Saul Chernick, Michelle Forsyth, JJ Garfinkel, Andrew Guenther, Matthew Day Jackson, Michael Maxwell and Clifford Owens. I was only able to salvage the few images which follow. Even then, because of the reflection on the plexiglas I had to be satisfied with a detail of one of them, and, unusually, even a closeup shot hardly begins to suggest the depth and complexity of that piece (check out the description of the medium).

Matthew Day Jackson LEM Interior 2 2009 laser-engraved burned wood and plastic 48" x 36" [installation view]

Andrew Guenther Plate Face #5 2009 acrylic on canvas 45" x 35"

Michael Maxwell Self-portrait in another dimension 2009 saffron, poppy, indigo, lapis and other natural pigments, crushed quartz crystal, silver leaf and crylic on giclee print 67" x 45" framed [detail]