Busted On The Hot Spots
An exhibition by Cali Thornhill DeWitt

I EAT OUT OF YOUR GARBAGE CANS it says in black gothic lettering embroidered on four large American flags stitched together to form a cross. A profound visual entry to Cali Thornhill Dewittʼs iconic text and image based work. The piece instantly reminds us of the economic inequality that exists and is growing in the world, where less have more and more have less. The iconic American flag, that in the past would fly universally for freedom and prosperity, serves here as a reminder of broken dreams and promises. Not as a direct critique of America, it could have been the European Unionʼs stars or the Russian tricolor. At the same time the work has a contrasting empowerment – signaling independence, survival and opposition. The duality of the piece is typical for Cali Thornhill Dewittʼs practice that juxtaposes imagery culled from the internet and other archival sources with word plays lifted from news headlines, spam mail, advertising slogans, street lingo, mundane phrases and a myriad of other influences.

On a wall 40 “sign” pieces in a grid, each 60x45 cm and unique, relates diverting messages such as: GLORY HOLE combined with a photo of a bullet hole, RAPID DECLINE in combination with an image of a beautiful bouquet of lilies, NATIONAL ANTHEM combined with a sequence of images from the Rodney King beating, BUILD MORE JAILS juxtaposed against an eerily beautiful image of the Hollywood Hills burning and SMELL THE ROSES in combination with a flock of B52 planes dropping their payload of death. Strong imagery that we have grown sadly accustomed to is recontextualized and revitalized in Cali Thornhill Dewittʼs work. He works in the same tradition as Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, John Giorno and the late great Mike Kelly. Offering reflection, social critique and engagement. Strategies from advertising and breaking news that we know and are almost immune to, are turned so that each message and work stand out with lasting urgency. Cali Thornhill Dewitt rummages and eats out of our collective garbage cans and internet clouds stuffed with past and present content and pollution. The regurgitated result is subversive and heartfelt with a strong signature aesthetic, equally punk, internet banner and realtor. Cali Thornhill Dewittʼs Busted On The Hot Spots is an immersive exhibition, reflecting a complex and fragmented world, but instead of fostering first world apathy or nihilism, it induces defiance and hope. The words SURVIVAL GUIDE are juxtaposed against a photo of a police barricade.

Cali Thornhill Dewitt (born 1973, Vancouver Islands, Canada) lives and works in Los Angeles, USA. He is a multidisciplinary artist and eclectic instigator. He runs the independent record label and publishing house Teenage Teardrops, together with his wife Jenna Thornhill Dewitt (a frequent collaborator). They have the photography blog Witch Hat. He has directed numerous music videos and montages, recently the video for Danish band Iceage single Godʼs Favorite. He collaborates closely with Danish label Posh Isolation on various endeavors. He also creates unique memorial sweatshirts, part fashion - part art. Several books on his work have been published, the most recent one Grave Yard came out in late 2014 on And Press. He has recently had exhibitions at Big Love, Tokyo, Human Resources, Los Angeles and Muddguts in New York. Busted On The Hot Spots is Cali Thornhill Dewittʼs first exhibition with V1 Gallery.