Dan Colen’s trash-to-treasure mixed media installations remind us of the potential of beauty in the discarded. In his exhibition, Blowin’ In the Wind, Colen repurposes the painting tools which he uses to create his Trash series. These objects are placed or hung in the gallery, absent of the painted canvases that resulted from their use. Painting tools include objects such as a flip-flop, a paint can, rags, string, bottles, a tire, a yellow mop bucket, a McDonald’s food bag, and an umbrella handle. In Out of the Blue and Into the Black, Colen tars and feathers an entire gallery wall with one small and bright painted canvas among this image of morbidity. Also part of this installation is a cluster of suspended beat-up and forgotten blue bicycles. Representing the more literal approach of trash-to-treasure are canvases onto which Colen has pasted painted trash or gum and gum wrappers. Colen’s background is in painting and a series of his oil paintings, entitled The Spirits That I Called, will be on view at Oko Gallery in New York from May 15 – June 15.
After spending a few decades shooting high-concept high-fashion spreads for the likes of i-D, Vogue, W Magazine, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior, photographer Nick Knight has recently launched a body of work in London, nearly 10 years in the making. Inspired by paintings from the Baroque period, Knight’s altered large-format photographs of elegant floral arrangements take on a psychedelic, gorgeously twisted liquidity. By exposing the prints to various combinations of heat, chemical and water treatments during the printing process, he’s able to interject each piece with an intriguing, painterly flair.
Helen Frankenthaler once said, “I don’t start with a color order but find the color as I go. I’d rather risk an ugly surprise then rely on things I know I can do.”
Likewise, we get the sense that LA based artist Caitlin Lonegan’s process is similar. Her color palette (collected here) meditates on the bravery of a spontaneous stark of brightness erupting from the murk. Yet, there is also an overall resonating calm sense of vibrancy that is truly understated, not forced.
As viewers, we can’t help but embrace the comfort and excitement of well laid paint in seemingly simplistic guttural compositions.
Whether David Mesguich is creating sculptures or painting with watercolors, he maintains a basic color palette, heavy in contrasting blacks, whites, greys, and tones of sepia. His geometric sculptures of faces and people look like they were printed from a 3D printer. This conception gives his figures a digital effect that, when paired with the size, gaze, warp effects, or placement of them, has the potential to unsettle a viewer. This effect is even more pronounced when considered alongside Mesguich’s cardboard CCTV camera sculptures,100 of which he placed in various locations around Marseille. This idea of surveillance is even depicted throughout his watercolor paintings that represent scenes of city life, usually related to mobility and movement. Mesguich’s work seeks to challenge “modes of control” by addressing the “transparency of windows and shadows.”
Jesse Fillingham lives and works in Pasadena, CA. His cosmic paintings are usually framed within a geometric void. Drippy figures hover in and out of dark realms and grids. From a recent press release his work is described as “…exploring themes of myth, introspection, creation, and wizardry. A series of drawings depicts an alternate creation myth composed of trees of strife, knowledge and life, as well as ephemeral libidinous spirits – robed men ponder and wander through graphic landscapes.”
A curious emptiness permeates the work of painter Chris Ballantyne. Pulling inspiration from the flat, graphic façades of industrial buildings and cookie-cutter suburban streets, Ballantyne merges elements of the banal with the absurd. Upon closer inspection, the vibrant, delicately rendered landscapes reveal strangeness that showcases the artist’s wry, observation-based humor. A giant cavern appears between bright, friendly row houses, surfers ride breakers down a peaceful mountain stream and a tiny footbridge spans a huge geological tear through a grassy plateau—shifting the viewer’s expectation of what “should” appear in the context of each frame.
His subdued, sophisticated color sense marries well with the stark, simplified structures Ballantyne creates. He intentionally omits visual information in the hopes that viewers will instead focus on the subtlety of each scene, their attention swallowed by the strange beauty of each place. The empty, isolated nature of the subject matter also quietly points to our own relationship to space, built structures and contemporary landscape.
Before his untimely death, even before he was taken under the wing of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat was something of legend. He’s since become an enduring art icon. His street art sensibility, youthful energy, and handling of themes of racism, class, psychology, and popular culture keep his art relevant from year to year. However, Basquiat’s popularity is enjoying a special renewal over the course of 2013. The hugely popular Basquiat retrospective at Manhattan’s Gagosian Gallery will be followed by another at Gagosian’s Hong Kong gallery later this month. Additionally this month, Basquiat’s painting Dustheads is expected to fetch up to $35 million dollars in auction at Christie’s. In conjunction with the auction, Christie’s has released a three-part video series on Jean-Michel Basquiat. The first video features Basquiat’s early partner in graffiti, Al Diaz. The second in the series speaks with fellow contemporary artist Toxic on Basquiat’s transformation into an art-star. The third installment (featured after the jump speaks with Macklemore, one of many contemporary rappers to express inspiration from the late artist. [via]
It’s problematic calling the work of Jake Fried either animation or painting – it is a bit more than both. Fried uses exceptionally simple materials: White-Out, coffee, ink, gouche, and paper. He creates and image, and adds countless layers. The result is an evolving and unfolding psychedelic image. Fried appropriately calls this type of experimental animation “moving paintings”. Using the image of a face as its foundation, Fried quickly elaborates on the painting barely allowing the viewer’s brain to keep pace. You can see more of Fried’s work previously featured here. [via]