Alex Ziv And Mario Ayala At FFDG

SF based Alex Ziv and Mario Ayala recently opened a two man exhibition entitled Going Nowhere at Fecal Face Dot Gallery (FFDG) in SF. From the press release: “Alex Ziv’s works, composed of pen and ink on paper, explore and help to define Ziv’s definition of “Americana” through the visual iconography and language of motorcycle subculture. Through exploring topics of contemporary and historical Americana through a background knowledge of mainstream and subversive symbology found in subcultures, Ziv’s work attempts to enhance and highlight topics of turbulence. Mario Ayala’s work is a further exploration of his lived experiences intertwined with the ideals of the West Coast ethos containing its ritualistic chachkies, cultural luxuries, and the anxieties due to taking mind altering substances while faced with the prioritized decision of guns or butta. Ayala creates pictorial hyperboles from friend/ family experiences to explore the trudges of economic class, multi cultural sacrosanct, and the day to day hustle for egalitarianism.” The show in on view through May 4th, 2013.

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Jonah Freeman And Justin Lowe’s Meth Lab And Space Retreat Installations

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Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s Black Acid Co-op is a large scale installation of contrasting rooms and objects. The space is accessed through a large hole in the wall in the gallery space, requiring viewers of the work to physically climb through the entrance in order to experience it. While some space is sparse and empty, with evidence of abandonment and decay, others resemble a meth lab, a foreign shop, and a space of retreat. All spaces recontextualize the idea of installation space as a place of continual decay and renewal, calling upon viewers to directly engage with the various spaces. Deitch Projects commissioned this particular piece that was available for viewing in 2009.

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Amber Fawn Keig Draws From Real Life

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Bay Area-based printmaker Amber Fawn Keig‘s works on paper are a collection of colored pencil, gouache and lithographic prints—pulled together under the cohesive investigation of memory. The likenesses scratched out in her careful, stylistic black-and-white prints have the visually-loaded tinge of early 1990′s Americana. Keig usually works with imagery of her friends and family to create these works, although the narratives expressed are somewhat vague and seemingly fictional.

If anything, the litho prints pull the viewer in for a moment of intense technical examination, to look closely at Keig’s tiny, expert strokes, and to take in her careful thematic twists and turns, often embedded in the layered images she pulls together. While the black-and-white works stand well on their own, they’re complimented perfectly by the fluid, intuitive colorwork of her painted and pencil-drawn works. THe moments where the two mediums intersect are the most interesting, but each part of Keig’s current series seems to feed well into the same conceptual vein. While the scale is small, the subject matter is quite curious, and these works carry a kind of welcome, yet weary hominess in their portrayal of contemporary American experience.

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Steeped In History: The Costume And Prop Designs Of Petra Storrs

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Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.

But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.

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Sun K. Kwak Paints With Tape

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Artist Sun K. Kwak paints with tape.  She had begun her career as a painter but had felt disconnected with the medium.  After experimenting with black masking tape Kwak had found her choice medium.  Speaking of her first experience working with the tape, she says, “It felt like black ink pouring out over my fingers.  It was very fresh, alive, and free.”  The large installation pictured here is found at the Brooklyn Museum and is titled Enfolding 280 Hours – a reference to the amount of time needed to install the work.

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Nick Stern’s Living Recreations Of Banksy’s Street Art

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The work of legendary street artist Banksy is now iconic, even throughout the larger art world.  Photographer Nick Stern uses these easily recognizable images as a starting point.  Stern literally brings Banksy’s pieces to life.  He restages the wall art using real people and objects in place of the spray paint and posters.  Using living subjects adds emphasis to the often powerful and startling art of Banksy.

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Johan Scherft’s Unbelievably Realistic Paper Models Of Birds

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These incredibly realistic birds are not alive – surprisingly they’re only paper models.  In fact, artist Johan Scherft out of only paper, glue, and paint.  He models each bird’s unique shape on his computer than constructs and paints the rest by hand.  While the fold-and-glue-tabs model provides each bird with their distinctive body shape, the realism is in Scherft’s careful painting.  He says of the painting, “For this part, I take the most time. With very fine brushes, I try to achieve the most realistic effect in color and detail. I use watercolors or gouache paint. It’s always an exciting moment once the template has been painted to assemble the bird and see what the result is.”  [via]

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Lucia Scerankova’s Subtle Reality Shifts

Lucia Scerankova lives and works in Prague and London. Without the use of digital manipulation, Scerankova’s photographs often feature a single reality bending oddity within a mundane setting. In one image a marble slab appears to fold while walked upon, elsewhere a drip of coffee remains frozen in time. These subtle works are comforting and disorienting all at once and allow the viewer to question the nature of time, gravity, and memory. In her own words: “I am interested in active physical approach to photography, to deal with the relation between photography and spaciousness. Outcomes are then home to handmade analogue special effects without use of digital manipulation. Illusion, fiction and myth are the themes which are attractive for me in my practice. I deal with the relationship to perceived, experienced and imagined reality.”(via)

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