FORT WORTH.- Glenn Kaino's work carefully balances formal and conceptual concerns as the artist combines an often unexpected hybrid of materials in order to best communicate an idea, history, or system that might be less effective with traditional art media. His installation Tank, 2014, for example, is composed of seven aquariums containing clusters of coral species thriving on clear resin replicas of military tanks that are submerged in the water. Tank signals life after violence, rebuilding, and the organic triumphing over the inanimate. Kaino's project also mirrors the United States' practice of discarding used military weapons in ocean beds for an ironically positive outcome in the aquatic ecosystem: the artillery actually encourages reefs to flourish in areas of the ocean where the coral had previously been eradicated. The colorful variations of coral specimens in Tank border one another to form a coded, map-like appearance, indicating colonialism and the territorial battles connected with war. As the bordering coral species sting each other in nighttime battles to either seize more space or to protect themselves, they represent a microcosm of global concerns regarding conflict. As Kaino has stated, "Growing corals on this piece of artillery was a way for me to visualize a combination both beautiful and violent and to explore an urge at the most basic level to conquer and occupy in order to sustain life."
Kaino's assemblage process is akin to that of "kitbashing," when parts in a model kit are used innovatively to create something different than the project proposed by the set. His ability to dart from one material to another reflects his background and divergent interests; trained as a sculptor, he has also been involved in magic, software development, and other technological pursuits. For his FOCUS exhibition, Kaino presents all-new work that relates to space and space travel, including L'ènetènafionale, 2015, an animatronic installation that replicates the iconic nineteenth-century French character Pierrot serenading the crescent moon. Kaino's piece interacts with viewers via song and spoken postcolonial texts.
Glenn Kaino was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where he continues to live and work. He received a BA from the University of California at Irvine and an MFA from the University of California at San Diego. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Grand Arts, Kansas City, Missouri; Studio Museum, Harlem; Creative Time, New York; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. He participated in the 12th Biennale de Lyon, France; Prospect: 3, New Orleans; and he represented the United States in the 13th International Cairo Biennale. He has been in many group exhibitions at such institutions as the Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Australia; and the Asia Society, New York.