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.
Ventured over to Brooklyn to see what visual awesomeness Melissa Brown was up to in her studio. Melissa had the studio organized for making large-scale prints. She’s known for working with a variety of media including: used scratch tickets, oil paint, lino-cuts, wood-cuts, drawing, mail art, video, and performance. The color in Brown’s prints and paintings is what initially drew me to her work, but I admire her work for its openness and psychological generosity. Talking with Melissa was really fun. I actually got a little dadarhea of the mouth and started talking about philosophy, which in retrospect is embarrassing. Melissa is in a bunch of cool shows, one at Canada called Dadarhea which runs until March 20th, and two upcoming shows: Paper A-Z at Sue Scott, and the upcoming show at Zieher Smith in Chelsea.
Last Summer Evan Gruzis openned up his studio for a visit with B/D. His work struck a chord with me. It’s the way he takes “cheesy” tourist imagery, 80’s nostalgia, and advertisements; and then intellectually flips-that-shit to create paintings that deal with death, infinity, and desire. It was like he was reading my mind, because those are the first three things that occur to me when looking at an add for a cruise ship or a Caribbean resort. His work interested another website, sightunseen, and there’s a new studio visit where they get into creativity and the aspects of hallucinogenic perception.