This week we chatted with NYC-based painter Chris Hood to find out a little bit more about his most recent work—abstracted mixed media and traditional oil-on-canvas pieces—that pull from a variety of contact points in visual culture. Hood’s curious arrangement of imagery feels as though it’s connected to some larger narrative, and it’s interesting to see what inspires his process. Full interview after the jump.
The collisions between art and life can create an interesting space for an artist to create work from—and something that Atlanta-based installation artist Gyun Hur seeks out. Even though she works abstractly, Hur chooses to charge her work by using the medium’s significance as a conceptual starting point. Artificial flowers and colorful woven fabrics are hand-shredded into a brightly colored powder, which she disseminates throughout the space.
Hur creates her soft, delicate, vibrantly-colored installations through a carefully choreographed “performance,” in which she works to create perfect arrangements of materials that have been released from their original forms. Tweezers, masking tape, and a ruthlessly meticulous attention to detail all play a part in Hur’s impressive, site-specific works. The simultaneous tangibility and impermanence of the works force the viewer to become startlingly aware of every breath, every step—every movement made while in the space.
Not unlike the waves that he’s surfed religiously for more than 50 years, the mangled surfboard pieces by artist Herbie Fletcher soar in scale. Up close, you can see the bites taken out of each piece by rocks, sun and surf—recalling the moments that each board was obliterated by crashing waves. They echo the sheer power of the sea, and the tenuous line that pro surfers ride when trying to catch a massive, championship wave.
The somewhat cleverly titled “Wreck-tangles” carry a colorful, graphic collection of various decals, traction pads, fins or logos carry the personality of the surfer who used it, collected sponsorships and awards with it…and ultimately wrecked it. The collision of precise, formal geometries with the pop cacophony of logos and images finds an appropriate resting place on these destroyed relics of surf culture.
Born from a complicated mixture of graffiti, typographic abstraction and installation art, the work of Italian street artist Teo “Moneyless” Pirisi differs slightly from what you would expect to find in an outdoor space. His mathematical, geometric sketches are quiet, contemplative—an appropriate precursor to his finished installations. What started as lettering on walls steadily shifted toward pure abstraction, where Pirisi says “my efforts then dropped the symbolic meaning of the letter.”
Pirisi ditched the paint, the letters and the walls for a series of carefully choreographed suspended rope installations. He has traveled the world creating multiple iterations of these works, which are often found suspended in wild or forgotten spaces. Pirisi’s attention to perspective and material are seamless, and his placement is usually quite surprising—providing moments of wonder for curious passerby.
From the artist: “My shapes are reduced to the minimum, at the same time they carry some kind of an intense tension, an invisible movement; most of my patterns hide multiple visions and different perspectives. I think my art now speaks through geometry.”
Multi-disciplinary artist Christopher Taggart‘s work elegantly investigates ordering systems, photographic dissection and dissemination. Most compelling are his large, meticulously woven collages of carefully selected imagery—a combination of playing cards, personal photos and government archives. Taggart presents these works in such a way that the viewer’s attention is simultaneously swallowed by the physical scale of each piece and lost in the smallness of the individual cuts.
The overwhelming nature of the work does not seem to be accidental, as he plays with the viewer’s sense of curiosity in each bite-sized fragment of imagery. While trying to look for themes or recurrences within the work, at times the subject matter reveals itself and sets a different tone. For example, Taggart’s digital photographic collage Colony combines and restructures aerial photographs of 21 California state prisons—something that casts a darkness over the colorful shards of imagery almost immediately. His latest solo effort, Cuts And Splits, is on view at Eli Ridgway Gallery through May 4.
“At age 17, I lost every possession I had accumulated in my short life span; ever since I have been a collector. My mission is to document and observe the world around me as if I have never seen it before. I take notes. Collect things I find during my travels. Document my findings. Notice patterns, Copy. Trace. Focus on one thing at a time. Record and follow what I am drawn to. It brings me immense joy to create space for what has been left behind. To preserve the history of others.”
Oakland-based illustrator and installation artist Lauren Napolitano works with found materials: wood scraps, old bottles, paper torn from old books, tattered lace and dried flowers amass in her subtle shrines, which are layered with the tiny, intricate painting style she has honed over the last decade. Entirely self-taught, Napolitano uses her thin, fragile, art-deco-inspired linework to coat forgotten relics of the everyday with new meanings, and new life. Her recent traveling project with street artist Shrine, called the “Reckless In Love Shack,” has been set up at Symbiosis and Lightning In A Bottle, and she continues to fill spaces with her lovely, lightly aged drawings and paintings, most recently at White Walls in SF and Old Crow in Oakland.
When looking through photographer Caroline Mackintosh‘s visual archive, the themes are immediately evident: beauty, youth, adventure. Using her lens, she paints a vivid storyline of an endless summer, stretched out over empty streets, swimming holes, and desert air. The sun-soaked quality of the colors, and slight dip in and out of focus give her work an air of honesty, as though she’s invited the viewer to casually sifting through a box of snapshots.
The scale and color density of artist Spencer Keeton Cunningham‘s work makes it almost impossible to ignore—but it’s the poignant, painful subject matter that makes his work difficult to forget. By pushing around the overly romanticized notion of North American Indian culture as a series of icons, sketches or markers, Cunningham is able to speak to the viewer through short, graphic strokes that hit hard. He’s interested in presenting his own take on the demonization of tribal people in American culture.
Being 1/4th Colville from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (which consists of 12 different tribes: The Colville, The Entiat, the Nespelem, the Okanogan, The Arrow Lake, The Methow, The San Poil, The Chelan, The Moses Columbia, the Palus, the Nez perce, and the Wenatchee), Cunningham is able to make assertions with his work that relates to his unique position and perspective in this world.