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.
Eddie Martinez is hands down one of the best artists working today. I’m not even going to qualify it by saying he’s one of my favorite artists, he’s a lot of artists’ favorite artist. For visual people, being in front of Martinez’s work is like sitting down to a dinner where the food is so delicious you forget to say anything to each other. If you count visual as a sense, it’s sensual. I was very happy to get to visit his studio and report back to Beautiful/Decay with the goods. Eddie had a big stack of drawings which had not been photographed before. As I flipped through that rich pile of drawings my brain melted and the hair on my arms stood up. So take a moment, picture your spirit animal, relax and enjoy this. I feel like Morpheus, and you’re Neo, in that scene from the Matrix where Neo has to choose between the red pill and the blue pill. Once you’ve seen things through Eddie’s eyes you can’t go back.
Erik Parker was preparing for two solo shows, one in LA, and one in Fort Worth, when I visited his studio in Brooklyn. Parker is known for making large scale paintings that are as comfortable with their roots as they are disorienting with their forms and spaces. First you get a hug, and then a slap. He said he wanted his paintings to still look good 40 years from now. By reorienting Modernist and Pop sensibilities, and then almost using contrapposto to create a balanced but expressive distortion, Parker was remixing some old school classics — like flower still-lives– into something fresh. His LA show is at Honor Fraser and opens on October 30th, and the Fort Worth show is at the Fort Worth Modern and opens on December 5th, and is curated by Andrea Karnes.
A few weeks back I headed over to the studio of painter Alison Blickle. You may remember Alison from a previous post as well as her killer contribution to book 3. Alison recently moved to LA , with a studio down the street from the B/D office so I thought i’d stop by and check out what she’s been up to.
I first met Wendell after we interviewed him for an issue of B/D a few years back. You never know what artists will be like when you actually meet them but Wendell’s been one of the most sincere artists I’ve met in a while. We’ve been trading studio visits for around a year now and will be in a group show together later this month at Pedersen Projects in Pomona. Wendell is also getting ready for a solo show in October at Kravets|Wehby and a group show at Galerie Jean-Luc&Takako Richard in Paris so I stopped by his studio to check out the progress. Turns out Wendell had a studio jam packed full of massive paintings well on their way to being finished.
Adam Helms is known for drawing radicals and constructing ominous wooden watch towers. His current project is a series of 48 charcoal portraits in response to Gerhard Richter’s “48 Portraits.” Richter’s work used encyclopedia photos to catalog the iconic males of Western culture. Helms is also cataloging icons, but shifts focus to the dangerous fringes where civil wars and insurrections take place. Ranging over the entire political spectrum, from anti-establishment and anti-government groups to official government troops, Helms’ portraits are intentionally politically ambiguous, stating “The politics are less interesting to me then this idea of a repeated identity.”
No trip to SF is complete without visiting St. Francis Fountain, the ultimate brunch spot. I ordered the wrong thing and my server was cool enough to bring me the right stuff without gruff. I felt like I should have given him some B/D shirts or a book but I didn’t have anything with me. I have no idea what his name was but someone reading this blog has to know him. Blonde dude with tats who looked like a surfer/skater type and was wearing a hat with the rim bent back ala Suicidal Tendencies style. If you know who he is email us on our contact page so I can send him a care package for the great service. Okay let’s head back south….
Sometimes life’s day to day bogs you down and you simply need a break from the norm. San Francisco is anything but normal…. so I thought I’d jump on the 5 freeway and head north to the land of new age hippies and dot com millionaires for a bit of fun and a lil bit of business.