Amy Mahnick Recycled

Amy Mahnick takes garbage, things like empty plastic containers and packing tape, and makes paintings.  The paintings are very realistic, which isn’t something that I normally get excited about, but this case is special, because the realistic technique serves the purpose of making us say “Hey, that garbage is beautiful.”   It makes us think about living better.  Maybe our stuff could be put to good use, maybe we could be more graceful, maybe our garbage could serve a higher purpose like Amy’s.

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Studio Visit: Eddie Martinez

Eddie Martinez invited Beautiful/Decay over to his sunny Brooklyn studio to check out his new body of work.  The next day the show was headed to Berlin, so it was excellent to get to talk to Eddie before the work shipped.  I was able to take pics for over an hour while Martinez came in and out of the studio space.  Martinez had shelves built to hold the work at nice heights, making it easier to get up close and examine the paintings.  The reason I like Martinez’s work is that it doesn’t try to mimic reality, but instead the work represents reality.  It works sort of the way a great story functions: there is a language which uncovers something hidden or reveals something new about the world.  As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures which live with a sense of time.  Because we are bound to our own time, each generation needs people who show us back to ourselves, which in turn allows us to conceptualize ourselves and the world.  I think this is what Martinez is doing, and without a doubt his work does that for me.  The show, Seeker, opens November 11th at Peres Projects Mitte, Berlin.

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Don Porcella Sculpture and Tunes

Don Porcella has a show of his signature, brightly hued sculptures and encaustic paintings up for one more week at Spattered Columns in NYC.  The show is entitled Everything and Nothing at All.  In a recent conversation Don and I had, he brought up his love of imagery that could be read in multiple ways.   He talked about painting secrets, and casting shadows in multiple directions, dislocating literal time and space into a psychological time and space.  He is an artist worth paying attention too.  His show has a closing party on October 26th, from 6 to 8pm.  Porcella will also be playing music during the closing party.  Porcella has performed his music in San Francisco, Nashville, and recently at Robert Miller Gallery in NYC.  Should be a very good time.

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Go Figure and Ted Gahl on the Lower East Side

There’s a pretty great pair of painting shows on the Lower East Side in NYC at Dodge GalleryTed Gahl is in the front room with his cryptic, interpretive and symbolic paintings.  I was drawing with him once, and he drew something that looked like a mysterious jelly bean, using a marker on construction paper.  I was curious so I asked Ted what it was, and told me it was a car mirror reflecting the driver.  Go Figure is group show curated by Eddie Martinez, and it has a bunch of artists that have appeared on Beautiful/Decay’s website and in the book series.  There is some very choice work too, it’s interesting to see the work together as well.  After the jump you can see work by Allison Schulnik, Erik Parker, Jamison Brosseau, and Jose Lerma.  Both shows are up until November 13th.

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Ashley Zelinskie is making art for computers

Ashley Zelinskie is making art for computers.  I admit when she told me about it, I was a little freaked out.  Basically, she constructs three-dimensional sculpture on the computer, then has it printed in three-dimensions.  It consists of a form humans understand, like a chair, and a code computers can understand too.  Zelinskie also makes “paintings” which consist of a series of numbers, after the jump you can see Van Gogh’s Starry Night recoded for artificial intelligence.

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Dan Attoe’s in Berlin

Dan Attoe has a new show up in Berlin at Peres Projects.  The places in Attoe’s new work are psychologically pregnant.  Some feature groups of people doing a focused activity together, like camping or going to a dirt track demolition derby.  There’s enough detail that we can put ourselves into the places, and hear the moon crickets, or smell the b.o., beer, and car exhaust mixing into a sort of glorious perfume.  Many artists are concerned with myth making, and that’s because we live on the Earth, but in a world.  A world isn’t a physical thing – it’s a story we tell ourselves to make sense of our experience.  Attoe’s newest work conjures places in order to get at the heart of that human story, and he’s weaving a spell of world-making as much as image-making here.  All the images in this post are courtesy of Peres Projects.  Dan’s show is up until November 5th.

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Studio Visit: Aaron Johnson

When I dropped by his sunlit Brooklyn studio Aaron Johnson was busy preparing for his show at Stux Gallery in Chelsea, which opens Thursday September 15th.  In this new body of work Johnson invites us to chow down on a writhing smorgasbord of Americana: severed heads, demonic Uncle Sams, sausage crucifixes, fried eagles, mashed guts, f-burgers, camel roast, and mutant sea creatures sucking down oil oozing fresh from the rig.  His new work is opulent and glitters like jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs despite picturing disturbingly grotesque and violent imagery – totally Beautiful/Decay!

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Studio Visit: Ryan Schneider

I headed over to Brooklyn to check out what Ryan Schneider had cooking after not seeing his work for a year.  He was painting when I got there; mixing a fleshly color on the big glass palette in the center of the room.  Canvases lined the walls, some were finished and some were in progress.  He paints all the nouns: people, places and things; and does so in a thoughtful way that reflects life.  Still lifes which range from bathtubs to bookshelves, and landscapes which seem to suggest an alternate, more romantic reality.

The paintings are populated with figures, and he had interesting things to say about figure painting.  In person, the paintings are very obviously physical.  They combine juicy paint, carved-in-words, bold colors, and a funky sense of space.  This makes for paintings which flip between pattern and illusion.  His new paintings were confident, and maybe even more colorful and spatially complex than his previous work.  Schneider recently left Priska C Juschka, his gallery of several years.  Besides being a painter, Schneider is also a curator and has organized high profile group shows in locations near and far, and he was at it again.  He is behind a show which just opened in Austin, at Champion Contemporary, called “Wild Beasts.”   He included a group of artists who share a love of color and admiration for Matisse and the French Fauves.  Read some of our discussion after the jump.

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