Megan Van Groll paints women– mediating on the fine line between nakedness and nudity, or how these two concepts relate to freedom or identity. Likewise, from bathing in cocoa puffs to sensually brawling at a donut shop, her food motif is an interesting one, often working in tandem with the female form– provoking thoughts of fetish from the outside, but also, a much more personal and complicated binging ceremony.
Of her own craft, Groll states, “My narrative portraits of women are, at their core, a painted attempt to understand and portray how modern women create identity and meaning from the world around them. I am interested in exploring the way we perform our projected ideal personas, for ourselves and for others.”
Brooklyn based artist Matt Phillips creates colorfully complex paintings that act as vibrant odes to the ordinary. Phillips’ practice meditates on his comprehensive observance of classic aesthetics, including modernist abstraction, folk art, and African textiles. Drawing notes from these traditions, his paintings meld low and high brow art, creating contemporary pastiches that are just as colloquial as they are clever.
Phillips’ uses notions of pattern, textile, and the decorative to hint at referential codes that allow the abstract to take on tangible, even comforting forms. It is the moment in which each work switches from foreign to recognizable, that invites in humor and endearing relatability. For example, his piece Bungalow (Spring) depicts a warm tonality along soft river blues on a overtly sunny day, and hums the delicate, independent flow of a melodic riddle.
The artist paints with a pigment and silica blend — this mixture results in each brush stroke becoming dry instantaneously. Due to the lack of forgiveness within this process, his work not only speaks about the traditional observation of light, but also to economical choices and purposeful mark making. Although each painting begins as a mapped geometrical formation, his method of building composition pushes through routine constructs of painterly semantics and becomes playful with common structures such as the grid. Phillips has a true touch for quiet beauty and perfected moments of yearned memories.
Check out Matt Phillips’ spectacular solo show, Comfort Inn, at Steven Harvey Fine Arts Projects in New York, running until February 6th. The exhibition is taking over both of the gallery’s two locations located at 208 Forsyth Street and 237 Eldridge Street.
Andreas Kocks’ work might look like boiling tar splattered on gallery walls but it is in fact meticulously cut paper covered with layers of graphite.
Marc Quinn’s surreal sculpture work is undeniably provocative and captivating. While he uses many different materials for his sculpture and installation work, he always seems to address the idea of bodies and their boundaries, the materiality of the human condition, or the relationship between nature and culture. Quinn’s 2004 exhibition, The Complete Marbles, is a collection of marble sculptures depicting amputees and disabled individuals that alludes to the style of Greco-Roman statues. Quinn recently donated his paradoxical sculpture from 2008, “Planet,” for permanent display at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Very large and heavy, this sculpture depicts his son as a sleeping baby and appears weightless, almost floating. His most recent solo exhibition, All the Time in the World, is currently on display at Mary Boone Gallery in New York until June 29th.
We have been following William Emmert on the Beautiful/Decay blog for quite a while (see posts here and here). We enjoy the exploration into his past and the pop culture nostalgia he recounts. Emmert has recently expanded his practice by employing trompe l’oeil techniques using nothing but paper. His familiar use of 80’s Professional Wrestling imagery and quotes still remain but have taken a backseat to sculpture and installation. The viewer is confronted with what looks to be an exhibition space in transition before banal studio materials are revealed to be paper objects.
John Kissick’s paintings are a colorful explosion of abstract patterns, forms, thick paint, and gooey textures. Kind of like a Piñata filled with paint.