Hypertension brings together multi-media artists and designers whose work reflects the blurring of artistic disciplines evident in our contemporary visual culture. The selected works disrupt boundaries between the cerebral and the physical; between past and present. They encourage us to absorb and interpret information across multiple channels, channels that often trigger paradoxical emotions, expanding both the intellectual and emotional involvement of the viewer.

-Lindsay Prestion Zappas, Editor-in-Chief of Carla (Contemporary Art Review LA)

According to Molly Shannon’s voice over in the first scene of the 1999 film Superstar, there are two different ways of getting into a swimming pool. In the first way you take your time, carefully testing the water’s temperature. If that feels okay, you slowly get into the water, letting your body adjust to the cold. Then there’s the second way of getting into a pool: YOU JUMP! Cue young Mary Katherine Gallagher leaping into the water with arms flailing.

It is in jumping that we make a choice – to submit to gravity. Although in jumping we experience a loss of control (surrendering to the fall), we also demand a total control (the choice of action). I maintain that the choice of action overrides the submission to gravity. After all, we chose it. It’s not like we had to do it. It becomes a controlled chaos. I’ve always loved oxymoronic phrases — jumbo shrimp, living dead, mad wisdom — they jumble the synapses in the brain. They are physical. The way Oppenheim’s fur lined teacup is physical.

HYPERTENSION, a new four person show spanning two floors at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University, is oxymoronic. It would jump into the pool. The show, which was curated by Zack Ostrowski and Tom Pyrzewski, is filled with bold choices, paired with moments of complete surrender. While exerting a mastery of composition and design, the work gives into the physical and the optical. The work is first felt. It is heavy and smart: sampling across culture and art history, and leaving us ruminating in the visual. Though the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery is on Hancock Street in Midtown in Downtown Detroit, the work in HYPERTENSION transports to the Las Vegas strip.

In Dave Hickey’s article “A Home in the Neon,” he explains that “Vegas only has two rules: one, post the odds, and two treat everybody the same. Just as one might in a democracy. In Vegas, there is a deficiency of secrets and economy.” HYPERTENSION embraces Vegasian democracy. The four artists approach culture democratically: Elmer Fudd and Maxim, Freud and psychedelia, Burger King and Nike. All the cards are on the table. The work is rooted the layered. The pop. The saturated. Responding to our contemporary cultural condition, the mediated abounds, and the simple is non existent. The sample however becomes normative.