Bobo is an art collective that emerged out of the Providence scene post-Fort Thunder. I really love Bobo’s poster “The Global Order of the Youngbloods,” it’s an overdose of occult and conspiracy infotainment. Bobo has managed to create a fun scene on their own terms. They ran a space in Philadelphia for a while, but now seem to be arranging/curating shows in New York, and performing as a band. Annie Pearlman brought them to my attention when I was doing a studio visit with Brian Belott.
Brian Belott’s Brooklyn studio is an immersive installation. Spelunking into a cavern on an alien planet filled with glittering artifacts from a lost culture, might, might compare to walking through Brian’s place. I was going to stay for an hour, but ended up being there for four hours because there was so much to look at and talk about. The whole situation is arranged with the discerning eye of the most selective, borderline pathological scavenger – and set to easy listening music, Brian’s “sonic wallpaper.” I got the feeling that each scrap of torn paper, every tube of glitter has been internalized. Then arranged into an invisible system that had started to resemble the stratified layers of rock at the Grand Canyon – there was a geological, epic scale to the amount of materials. Brian works with some art materials, but mostly with found stuff. He uses those thick cardboard kids books, colorful plastic combs, found audio, and posters. He makes paintings on glass, original music, found sound audio collages, paper collages, books covered in paint and decorated with rocks, and catalogs of other people’s private photography grouped by themes. In addition he does performances, many of which are on YouTube. Meeting Brian I got the immediate impression I was meeting someone special. He has a gigantic solo show “The Joy of File” opening Friday, February 26th at Zürcher Studio from 6 to 8pm.
I met Brian Blomerth a few years ago, he is an interesting guy who makes art about Pomeranian dogs and Alysssa Milano. He combines those two themes with acid colors, mysticism, and snazzy design. He also lived in a (now closed) building called The Church of Crystal Light, and was from what I saw he inspired that group of people. They were Richmond Virginia’s version of Fort Thunder.
Taylor McKimens is one of my favorite artists, ever since finding his comic book “The Drips,” his work has been on my radar. So, using my new blogging gig here at Beautiful/Decay as a good reason to see his studio – I went over to Taylor’s studio at Deitch Projects in New York. I had to ask the perfunctory question about what was happening with Deitch Projects, and he said things depended on several variables – and didn’t go into any details. His work in progress completely blew me out of the water, and I walked around with my mouth open like a tween at a Jonas Brothers concert.
Tom Sanford had me over to his spacious basement studio in Tribeca this past Saturday. I became aware of Sanford’s work in 2008 when I saw his show “Mr. Hangover” at Leo Koenig, Inc. Tom’s main project is capturing our rapid-fire digital culture in the slow language of painting. If it’s in the news – it’s likely fodder for his paintings. When we watch TV, a pop star’s recent public tantrum is covered with the same attention as the death count in a war zone. Tom doesn’t try to adjust the playing field between pop culture and world events – he conflates them. But when that happens in a painting the dissonance is in your face in a way that it isn’t on TV. For instance, in a new large-scale painting, Bill Murray (as a red capped Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic) is being held at gun point by pirates off the coast of Somalia. It’s inexplicably poignant – maybe because I care about the character from a movie? Sanford speaks eloquently about how painting is slow media, and how we’re all enmeshed in fast media – he has a sign up in his studio that sums it up as “The worse the better.”
Kate Smith, based out of Melbourne Australia, was raised on a farm and makes work where everything feels precariously balanced, built on her experience with struggling on her parents’ farm. Art tries to grow like plants, which makes the work feel alive – or – depending on your perspective, emphasizes its deadness. There’s a dystopian element to Smith’s project, but there’s also a smeared, warm-hearted vulnerability. Kate’s got a way with words too – her compact, slippery, and foreign use of the English language reminds me of the ultra-violent punks, the “droogs,” in Clockwork Orange – read her artist statement after the jump.
Brent Harada and Rusty Jordan have a bi-coastal collaboration going where they make zines by alternating panels. Their pages are a cartoon documentary of a gnarly, drug induced mystic state where everything veers unpredictably from panel to panel, and there is isn’t a story – it’s more of an experience. I like the 60′s underground comix meets Monty Python’s Flying Circus animation vibe, and feel that these two put their own stamp on it.