Artist Jeffrey Gibson blends art histories and cultures with seeming effortlessness. His work isn’t the pastiche of past decades, a witty pairing of disparate influences. Rather, Gibson’s work appears more to be rooted in contemporary remix culture. Portions of modern and contemporary art styles inhabit art pieces along traditional Native American artwork with an inclusiveness that’s refreshing. Interestingly, the gallery statement of his latest exhibit at Shoshana Wayne Gallery notes:
“This mash-up of visual and cultural references comes from the artist’s Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, moving frequently during his childhood—to Germany, Korea and the East Coast of the U.S. , and his early exposure to rave and club cultures of the 1980s and 1990s. Gibson cites that the sense of inclusiveness and acceptance, the celebratory melding of subcultures and an idealistic promise of unity all galvanized by the DJ’s power to literally move an audience to dance to his beat, continues to serve as a primary inspiration for his inter-disciplinary practice.”
Still, the way in which the Native American styling especially stands out makes the Native American artists largley left out from the discourse of modern art history conspicuous. The gallery statement continues about this relationship: “The paintings are done on elk rawhide stretched over wood panels. Gibson arrived at this format after years of looking at painting techniques found in various non-Western art histories, of paintings on shields, drums and parfleche containers (animal hides wrapped around varying goods). The paintings also read within a modern and contemporary art context whereas artists from the 1950s and 1960s were looking towards traditions such as Native American and Oceanic art to create ideals of spirituality, animism and purity. One can infer artistic influences from Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, and Donald Judd.”
It’s in this way that Gibson inserts himself and his heritage into art history: by this smart mixing and remixing, and an artist’s eye at the past.
Thomas Demand meticulously recreates scenes from photographs he finds through mainstream media entirely out of paper. The images are next to indiscernible from the real thing, and complicate the process a step further, the artist destroys his creations and only presents a large-scale photo print of his paper sculptures. Thus the viewer is not allowed to examine the execution, and is left all the more baffled by the precision of his pieces. He never includes people in his work, perhaps for logistical reasons as much as aesthetic, but it gives the photos an eerie quality that was already present in the clean cuts of the paper. No matter his effort to maintain a natural messiness and used quality to the spaces he creates, there is still subtle evidence that something is off, due to the lack of ware on the objects themselves.
Demand also creates animations (see a clip after the jump) using the same paper sculpture technique. His most ambitious production is Pacific Sun. Demand took the footage from a YouTube clip and completely recreated it in paper (editing out the people, of course). The clip is from the security camera on a cruise ship caught in a storm in the South Pacific. The animation tracks hundreds of objects – from tables and chairs to a straw – sliding back and forth across the dining room as the ship pitches in the waves.
Oakland-based artist Grady Gordon produces ghoulish black and white monotype prints. The knowledge that each image is unique contributes to a sense that the figures depicted are real. That at any moment they could leave the paper and enter your nightmares. Until this year, Gordon only depicted heads in his work; the full figures definitely amplify the gruesome vibe. But the heads definitely have their appeal as well- leering faces that move in and out of swirling blacks. Gordon is having a solo show in Denver in October. Some of these works will be on view then.
The best way to stay current with the world of Grady Gordon is to follow the dude on instagram @joaquindead. Don’t blame me if you never sleep again though. More full figures and previews of the Denver show after the jump.
Using themes of life and growth in nature, artist Myeongbeom Kim constructs stunning installations of surreal situations. His work often conveys a state of transition between two strange pairs, like he has stumbled upon bizarre metamorphoses frozen in time. Certain imagery is often repeated in Kim’s work, like deer, antlers, trees, and balloons. In one installation, a beautiful, still deer is acting as a trunk of a tree, with its antlers turning into tree branches. In another installation, it is an inanimate object like rope or a bed that is transforming into a plant. Kim’s use of balloons is rather different than his typical nature infused environment that he creates. Balloons act in fantastical, irrational ways in the artist’s work. They hold up a three-legged chair, a noose, and even a woman’s hair. Kim’s work revolving around themes of life and nature, organic elements can also be found included with his shiny, latex objects. In an incredible piece of Kim’s, a cloud of bright, red balloons float while a tree trunk and roots miraculously come forth from its cluster. This displacement of nature found in his work creates a dialogue with the viewer, evoking questions of life, death, and nature’s place in our lives.
Originally hailing from South Korea, the currently works between Seoul, South Korea and Chicago. He has exhibited all over the world and has installed his pieces in a variety of innovative spaces.
I’ve walked past this mural on 2nd Street just east of Bowery on my way home a bunch of times, but for whatever reason, it finally caught my eye last week. And wouldn’t you know it, the guy who made it has a super sweet website full of amazing artwork! Sebastian Wahl is originally from Stockholm, but now works out of a studio in the South Bronx. Using a resin based technique, he creates psychedelically super-charged mandalic inspired collages.
Cody Hoyt of Apenest fame recently created a brand new limited edition silkscreened print, “Rise and Shine,” sent straight from an astral projection and into your orange shag, unicorn carpet disc0-ball custom RV. Cody is part of ourindependent artist’s network (represented by tiles on the lower right hand side of our site). What is probably most exciting about this acid-induced multi-armed vision is that it can be viewed in daylight….and blacklight! Remember in high school when your one friend had the cool hang out with the parents never home and you’d have friends over to stare at mushroom-vortex blacklight posters and pretend you were burned out hippies on mushrooms, even though you were only 14? Well, my friends, Apenest has created a slightly more adult version for all us UV-obssesed kids who have grown up (or not). Some amazing behind the scenes process shots after the jump, including his tromp l’oiel suggestion box bathroom…..
In case you haven’t heard, the new, limited edition book-format B/D will be specially themed moving forward! Each issue will cohesively incorporate a chosen theme within all aspects of the book– from editorial, to featured artists, to the design and layout of the mag itself.
Here’s the best part: we wanted to open up the forum to all of you devoted readers! If we pick yours, we will send you one of our new books with your theme free of charge!
Some ideas us here at B/D have come up with are “Art & Commerce,” “Digital Domains,” “Rules are Made to be Broken,” to name a few. The themes you choose should be open enough to encapsulate a wide variety of contemporary expressions, but no so loose that just about anything could go into it. Examples of things that are too loosy goosy: “Figurative Painting,” “Artists of 2009,” “Skulls,” things that are way too specific: “Artists that use root beer as paint,” “Performance art in Central Park,” “Guys that incorporate mustaches into their imagery.”
You get the idea- so send away, we’re excited to hear from you! Please leave your ideas for book themes in the comments section of this post.