Caves evoke primordial feelings. In our globalized culture they seem to suggest looking for a home in a world full of anonymous locations. Secret and safe places, caves also point towards introspection – an unknown location where you can think your deepest, most private thoughts. Noah Becker uses caverns in his recent work to set the stage for both the social and private. In some paintings people to play and socialize and in others people are withdrawn into thought.
Don Porcella is best known for his awesome figurative sculptures made using pipe cleaners. He also makes very tactile and colorful paintings. I love how the flatness of a messy drip painting can transform into the immensity of a sky which is back-dropping a space opera on an alien planet. Check out Don’s blog for updates and shows, he’s been in a bunch of cool shows over the last couple of months.
Nestled around a fire, inside a cozy cave, the first painter picked up some charcoal and drew a Mastodon. The Cave is also the place where Plato described the world unenlightened people view as “shadows of the images the fire throws” against the back wall. Courbet painted his cavern, The Source of the Loue, with an oarsman like the mythical Charon, ferrying people across the river Styx for a coin. Caves are mysterious places, tied into our deepest roots: metaphors for our experiences, fears, and knowledge. Melissa Brown, who we did a studio visit with a few months ago, has been working with an interesting group of printmakers at Random Number. She has a new silkscreen out – Cave View. Check, it, out.
Michael Anderson has been busy, since the studio visit Beautiful/Decay did with him in August he’s prepared two major solo shows. Anderson makes large-scale collages from street posters, sometimes measuring 12 feet across. Anderson’s newest show promises to a be visually mesmerizing cultural stew of optimistic, reverse advertising, aka subvertising. I talked with him about “She’s Okay,” the above collage, and he compared the golden lattice structure to the complexity of the girl’s thoughts and experiences. The exhibition, Equal Opportunity Destroyer, is opening April 8th in Copenhagen Denmark at Gallery Poulsen.
Samantha Bittman makes good-looking opstractions. They are painted on handwoven textiles, which adds a nice ripply surface to go with the hand painted lines. If you focus and un-focus your eyes they get even better.
If there is an artist known for documenting other artists’ work habits and studio spaces, it’s Joe Fig. Definitely do yourself a favor and check out the sculptures on his website, they’re amazing. In Joe Fig: New Paintings, up until April 9th at Cristin Tierney, Fig takes us on a detour to another time and has painted dudes you might recognize from Art History 101, and also some that are more obscure. By placing them in scenarios where they are either in front of a mirror and painting their self-portrait, or surrounded by art; Fig has made paintings of people who are looking. Putting us into a position where we are looking at them looking.
Chris Kerr uses the fantasy aesthetic of wizards, unicorns, beer cans, and psychedelic swirls; but in his best work Kerr adds a disorienting dose of reality. In the process creating what philosophers might describe as a parallax view. Kant referred to this sort of arrangement of irreconcilable ideas as antimony, the purpose of which is to create a “decisive experiment, which must necessarily expose any error lying hidden in the assumption of reason.” In Kerr’s work, where we see both the hip iconography and reality, something starts to skew inside our heads. It’s a message written in two languages which you already know how to read, but it takes a long time to read them together.