San Francisco Gallery The Popular Workshop recently opened a solo exhibition by Australian artist Ben Barretto entitled Self Help. From the press release: “Self Help continues Barretto’s ongoing exploration into recursion; with each of the series of works he presents ‘making’ themselves to some extent. That is, the chosen material and its inherent properties inform the process and drive the work into a constant loop of feedback.
Self Help presents iterations of this process over 3 different mediums, including hand woven tapestries made from used climbing rope, reconfigured nylon training pants and a set of oil paintings. Within each of these series, Barretto creates a system through which the material qualities of each medium are unbound and rebound into a continuous ongoing cycle, a cycle which sits in collaboration with the expressive additions of Barretto’s own hand, having these works sit somewhere between assemblage and action painting.” The show is on view through April 12, 2013.
Christopher Saunders lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His paintings are gloomy, atmospheric, and mesmerizing. In his own words: “My recent landscape paintings are primarily built around the cloud symbol as a depiction of event, at once internal, experiential and representational. The parameters for these events are of place rather than site and suggest the apocalyptic and contemplative sublime. The clouds depicted do not reference a specific photograph but are aggregated forms generated from a multi-source photographic index. Each cloud composition is derived from a collage method which conflates images of sky, pollution, smoke, explosions, plumes, swarms, and overexposed film. Additionally, the convention of field (plane) is employed to frame and stage these lurching deformations. Compositionally, field assumes the dual role of ground (rural and urban) and atmosphere (color and light). The image value of cloud (as event) lies within its openness, its internal dynamism, and the scope of the imaginary variations to which it lends itself. Thus field and cloud collide, collude, overlap and unfold along the horizon line of precipice. These are dramas of transition, a landscape on the move where there is no contradiction between the limitless of becoming and the singularity of the event.” (Via)
Todd Hale lives and works in Virginia. He is producing an ongoing series of vibrant and grotesque illustrations using nothing but his fingers and an iPad. Eyeballs floating in gloomy waters, skulls fused with dripping watermelons, and a deranged clown with a cherry for a nose are a few examples of what can be found in the drawings. It is refreshing to see a series of work that resembles vector illustration and discover that it was created in the age old manner of “Finger Painting”.
Baltimore Gallery Nudashank has just wrapped a new exhibition entitled Dead Zone. The exhibition was presented as a “new film” about the future by Alex Da Corte. The materials used in the various installations are so vital to the exploration of the show that they are listed in the press release as characters in the “film” (along with additional artists): “Starring (in order of appearance) Paint roller extension pole, package of dish sponges, enamel paint, gold chain, Coca-Cola can, electrical tape, pink giraffe patterned dust broom,clamp, wire, John Roebas‘ AMONG THE MAXIMS,vertical blinds, Alex Perweiler‘s Chameleon (Juicy Fruit), miniature hand chair, Thigh Masters, metal gridwalls, display brackets, Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope cds, Kyle Thurman‘s Untitled (501 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014), John Roebas’ UNTITLED (THE ONLY ONE I CAN’T), IKEA frames, digitally printed hamburger ottoman cover, Borna Sammak‘s Borna Print Burton Jacket, gold foil, carpet, mattress foam, cheese head, shampoo, mirror, Jamie Felton‘s Fog II,ratchet straps, Christmas ball, Andrew Gbur‘s Untitled, Sean Fitzgerald‘s 16 Colors, fringe, leggings, foam, rubber glove, cardboard tube, metal stand, zip tie.”
Berkeley based artist Mel Davis has just opened her latest exhibition at Eleanor Harwood Gallery entitled Begin Here. From the press release: “With these new paintings, Mel Davis explores the polarities between the natural and the allegorical, the decorative and the expressive, the representational and the gestural. She is engaged in a conversation that exists between these states, measuring the gaps between thought and language, trying to expand on her diverse visual vocabulary. Integral in Davis’s new paintings is the notion of foliage as a connecting thread, both pictorial and metaphorical, describing a taut emotional and private landscape that illustrates the potency of variation. The works are engaged in a simple pared down composition but push an expansive, dramatic and romantic use of language. Always with the goal of achieving visual pleasure, the paintings are calculations of light shifts, the space that trees occupy, the reverie that happens when looking out a window, reminding us of our fragile coexistence with the natural world and its everlasting powers.” The show is on view through April 27th, 2013.
Leah Rosenberg lives and works in San Francisco. Using layer upon layer of dried acrylic paint she creates colorful monuments that blur the line between painting and sculpture. These luscious slabs appear to be wet, ready to curl and swirl at any moment. In her own words these “…bodies of work combine systems of accumulation and elements of layering to explore how our experiences, emotions, and memories build up over time.”
Chicago based Ryan Travis Christian has just opened his first Museum Exhibition at CAM Raleigh entitled Well, Here We Aren’t Again. Ryan spent three weeks on site creating a large-scale wall drawing, sculptures and floor installation specifically for CAM Raleigh’s Independent Weekly Gallery. This new body of work continues his hazy vision of dank landscapes ripe with powerful patterns, cartoon personalities, and awkward situations expertly rendered with graphite and ink.
Brandon Bird lives and works in Los Angeles. Utilizing an array of pop culture references he creates disarming paintings. The work is whimsical, dark, and subversive in equal measure. One piece depicts a child on Halloween dressed as Philip Seymore Hoffman’s nurse character from the film Magnolia. Despite being downright bizarre it is a hilarious reminder of the cheap Character Costumes of old that consisted of nothing more than a plastic mask and an image of the character on a sticky vinyl wardrobe. Another painting shows the eccentric actor Christopher Walken in the middle of creating a robot in his garage. A visual such as this embodies the joy that permeates through Bird’s hysterical pop culture laced paintings.