Andy Warhol was a freaking genius at this: taking a commonplace item or omnipresent product and setting them in an unfamiliar context. Campbell’s soup cans silkscreened on canvases. Cardboard Brillo boxes as sculpture. You get the idea. The folks at Chaffey College’s Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art (such as esteemed curator Jennifer Frias) have wrestled with this concept and come up with “Even Better Than the Real Thing: The Art of the Uncanny,” a new exhibition that’s about “the edges of perception” and “defamiliarization,” which involves forcing the audience to look at an everyday or household object (like a trash receptacle or wooden ladder) and see it in the proverbial whole new light—but a light that may end up as uncanny or strange to the beholder. Artists such as Andy Ralph (Ladder, Rubber Screws), Jon Bonser, Joe Davidson, Ben Jackel, Kaz Oshiro, Lauran Splan and others are showcasing their talents at this show, whether they take the form of a painting, drawing, sculpture or even sewn art. Leave it to pop art to make that cardboard box or a pile of screws (are they really made of rubber?!?!) look ultra-realistic and, well, disturbing.
“Even Better Than the Real Thing: The Art of the Uncanny” at Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Chaffey College, 5885 Haven Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 652-6492; www.chaffey.edu/wignall. Thru Sept. 25. Free.
Photos of Rubber Screws and Ladder courtesy of Andy Ralph