For his first solo exhibition at Metro Pictures, T. J. Wilcox presents two new digital video projects and related photographs. Wilcox, whose previous 16mm films have explored the past using ancient history, dead queens, and movie stars as subject matter, has used a mini video camera to capture cult movie fans and extravagant friends who weave an opulent and theatrical presence.
Ladies Room (20 Questions) borrows its form from the parlor game "20 Questions." Two women, each of different generations and taped separately, free-associate from single-words written on note cards and drawn at random from a pile. The women, two very grande dames ever-ready for their close-ups, are encouraged to explore whatever associations or memories are evoked. Wilcox makes no attempt to direct or influence the content of their monologues, but simply allows each to "star" in her own movie.
The footage for Midnite Movie was shot over the last year at participatory screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show throughout the U.S. and Europe. Wilcox's extravagant, rhythmic editing and vivid use of sound, color and lighting relate what he calls "a celebratory ritual that takes place in the flickering light of cinematic projection." The artist's affection for these flamboyant characters who escape the monotony of "real life" to enact their 15 minutes of fame, produces a poignant portrait of this cult spectacle.
T. J. Wilcox was born in Seattle in 1965. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1995. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions including "The American Century - Art & Culture 1900-2000" and the "Whitney Biennial" (1997), both at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; "Greater New York" at PS1 in New York; "Dialogues" at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and "The Americans - New Art" at the Barbican Art Gallery in London. Wilcox has had one-person shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London (1998); Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (2000); and the Berkeley Art Museum (March 2002). He lives and works in New York City.