Game on

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Rock Paper Scissors, 2011
  • Rock Paper Scissors, 2011

Alan and Michael Fleming seem like guys who’d start the dance party. At least, that's what their playful show at Threewalls gallery, “Game On” suggests. Walking through the Threewalls space, "Game On" provides insight into the twin brothers' shifting relationship as they chronicle their first year apart from one another. It's a relatively large show with work divided into two distinct time periods; the first is based on the brothers’ correspondence while living in different cities (Alan in Chicago and Michael in Brooklyn), and the second was made during their reunion in New York City.

The narrative begins with Rock Paper Scissors, three sets of plaster-cast hands that capture the Flemings' hands midgame. While living apart, the twins would play rock-paper-scissors over the phone without knowing who won until they reunited months later. According to the artists, the games stood as a metaphor for a disjointed studio practice. The six hands are cut off at the wrist and together create a pattern of isolation. I found that Rock Paper Scissors was the most poignant piece in the first collection of work. In contrast, A Sea Shanty, a worn and torn package that the brothers sent back and forth during their separation, did not resonate with me.

The second group of work celebrates the twins' reunion. This is where "Game On" gets fun. Among the highlights is one of three video installations titled Psychic Color Pour. The piece is set in an absurdist landscape with stark white walls and very few props in sight. When the brothers appear onscreen, they are clad in plastic suits that resemble chemists' uniforms. The video is an in-time documentation of each brother climbing a ladder and pouring a bucket of paint on the other. The piece is dryly funny. Humor permeates most of "Game On," and this is where the show succeeds.

"Game On" is a refreshing reminder that humor can imbue an artist’s work. The Flemings illuminate the playfulness of their partnership and the (underrepresented) joy in creating work.

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