In the so-wrong-it’s-right fluorescent pallor of Art Palace hang Nathan Green’s latest paintings. It’s important not to misread “latest” here as “new and shiny,” as they are in fact a sly mixture of clunkiness and exacting craft. Green’s materials vary widely, from fuzzy orange pom-poms and beige carpet squares to sculpted rock-like forms in saturated hues.
There is an uncanny familiarity to these pieces. It’s akin to that moment in a sceney restaurant when you hear the fifth song that is also on your iPad and you realize…oh, they’re marketing to me. The “found” objects here are almost aggressively plebeian. Plastic clothes hangers on Specimens are in a variety of fleshy hues. Their pairing with various low-pile polyester carpet swatches underscores their “suburbanity.”
Green’s work is most joyful when he amps up the scale to jumbo proportions. Golden Hour balances Nauman-esque awkwardness with slender stained wood. Each bright and blobby oversized form fits tightly into its own niche, like Fred Flintstone’s rock collection. The goofy earnestness of these objects is endearing. This may have been the intention in the “found” works as well, but they come off with a whiff of self-conscious irony. This too-cool-for-school vibe can be sensed in Open Skies, a wooden assemblage of cabinet doors and knobs. The design here is smart and formal, which only emphasizes the quaintness of the domestic materials. Duchamp’s famous urinal was supposedly a “non-aesthetic” choice, but these everyday objects are overly specific. They are the accoutrements of Saturday morning cartoons and .25 acres, yet somehow not at all nostalgic.