It’s hard to stand out as a collage artist these days. But Brooklyn-based Pierre Botardo is so good at what he does that his wonderfully composed , vibrant works have no trouble ‘standing out’. This new batch of collaged goodness from Botardo gives you the idea that the artist has somehow gazed into the collective childhood memories of all Americans, and combined his experiences into a collection found on paper that is so empathic, that it makes us want to go home and do it all again.
Rory Dean deserves to be as prolific in the arts scene as pop culture references are within his work (read: very prolific). Dean, who graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2006, wields his brush and pencil with great acuity, throwing the world we’ve created for ourselves back into our faces with merciless black humor and insight. His colorful yet maddeningly dark paintings and drawings pull no punches in shedding the current state of affairs in an honest, and concurrently scary light. But cultural context aside, Dean’s work is mainly fun, quality stuff. You really can’t go wrong here.
Bill McRight, of Philly powerhouse Space 1026, employs gnarly printmaking skills in the creation of images not confined to a place in time. In McRight’s work, Garish figures sans-pupils populate a stark environment of violence, movement, and open mouths containing sharp teeth. But it all looks so good that the reaction of the viewer is inclined toward pleasure rather than pain.
Edie Fake resides in Chicago. In his work with zines, comics, and illustration, he applies a unique sense of design to playful postmodern compositions, and creates original musings on eroticism with subtle, deft penwork. He recently received a book grant from Printed Matter in NYC. He does pretty rad tattoos as well.
Elik is a true NYC graffiti legend, gettin’ up hard with the roller. But like many of his peers in the graff world, he’s turned to exhibiting ’street art’ on indoor, gallery walls. Last spring he unleashed a full load of collage and mixed media works on the Brooklynite Gallery in Bed-Stuy. The compositions are playful, and full of dynamic elements. Any one of the works could serve as an advertisement bill for a show (or party) that serves as a gritty, comprehensive sum-up of the entire 20th-century.
What happens when a classic Victorian illustrator lives through poverty, World War I, and the deaths of a sister, mother, and wife; all in the space of a few years? Louis Wain (1860-1939) has become a famous case study in mental illness. Wain, who became famous in the early twentieth-century for his pioneering, whimsical illustrations of anthropomorphic cats, suffered a mental breakdown at the age of 64, and spent the remaining 15 years of his life in various mental institutions. The Chris Beetles Gallery of London recently exhibited a host of works from various points in his career.
Where to start with Jay Howell? The legendary laidbacksman and zinester, recently relocated to Los Angeles by way of San Francisco, seems to have taken good vibes to every corner of every creative cul de sac. Howell, who participated in the group show “Supply and Demand” at Brooklyn’s House of Vans early this fall, works his quirky, character-driven vision onto all available formats. His trademark dudes, rockers, and big-breasted babes have graced gallery walls, skate decks, apparel, original cartoons, original “nickelodeon cartoons”, album covers (he has serious ties to the musical community), and public spaces. Sometimes it feels like he has a message, but then you kind of wonder whether it’s really reflected in his work or not. And then you’re just like, dude, who cares?
Bill Sullivan‘s large-scale works; which cover a range of meaty subject matter from lucid portraits of unwitting subjects in the street, to confounding postmodern digital prints on canvas, are both visually appealing and conceptually titillating. Even while navigating such a wide artistic breadth, Sullivan’s work is still pulled under one umbrella; that of the artist’s mind. Sullivan applies a piece of his own subjective vision to all his material, it doesn’t matter what the specific subject matter is. And this is all that can be asked of an artist.