Phoebe Washburn’s constructions, built from found or discarded objects such as plants, plywood, cardboard, or fish tanks, to name a few, have been gaining critical acclaim and momentum since 2008, when she took part in the coveted Whitney Biennial.
Of her craft and salvage, in W Magazine, Washburn states: “I’m not green; I’m greedy . . . There’s definitely an aspect of hoarding that drives this, absolutely! If I see someone walking down the street with a nice piece of wood, I’m like, Where did they get that?”
Her approach to discussing art is as playful and humble as the structures themselves, or their titles, which range from “Nunderwater Nort Lab” (above, top) to “Baby Brain (Not Safe for Use as Jacuzzi)” (above, below).
While many of us as tourists may walk looking up at the tops of buildings, artist Thomas Lamadieu is looking at the sky. Lamadieu uses negative space to create playful drawings and illustrations. Utilizing photographs of a sky squeezed between rooftops, he illustrates within the patches of blue. The pieces of sky cut out by the buildings are a point of inspiration for Lamadieu culling stories from the shapes he’s dealt. Rather than being a limit, they become a point of departure.
Born from a complicated mixture of graffiti, typographic abstraction and installation art, the work of Italian street artist Teo “Moneyless” Pirisi differs slightly from what you would expect to find in an outdoor space. His mathematical, geometric sketches are quiet, contemplative—an appropriate precursor to his finished installations. What started as lettering on walls steadily shifted toward pure abstraction, where Pirisi says “my efforts then dropped the symbolic meaning of the letter.”
Pirisi ditched the paint, the letters and the walls for a series of carefully choreographed suspended rope installations. He has traveled the world creating multiple iterations of these works, which are often found suspended in wild or forgotten spaces. Pirisi’s attention to perspective and material are seamless, and his placement is usually quite surprising—providing moments of wonder for curious passerby.
From the artist: “My shapes are reduced to the minimum, at the same time they carry some kind of an intense tension, an invisible movement; most of my patterns hide multiple visions and different perspectives. I think my art now speaks through geometry.”
Gallery Nicolai Wallner in Copenhagen recently opened a new solo exhibition by Copenhagen based art collective A Kassen. The group describes their work as “…performative installation and sculpture. Actions, discretely part of the exhibition space, are characteristc of A Kassen’s works. The actions may even be so discrete, they don’t get noticed. But if they do get noticed, they contain strong elements of humor and surprise.” The group’s discretely humorous style can be found in pieces in which the four sides of the frame have been planed down and the resulting sawdust has been transferred onto paper with glue. Another example is Permanent Reflection, a piece that is described in the press release: “Permanent Reflection consists of four framed photos that are placed perpendicular to each other in two separate corners of the exhibition space. The images appear to be distorted by reflections due to the framing glass, but are in fact photographs capturing the reflection of the site”. The show is on view through May 18th 2013.
Multi-disciplinary artist Christopher Taggart‘s work elegantly investigates ordering systems, photographic dissection and dissemination. Most compelling are his large, meticulously woven collages of carefully selected imagery—a combination of playing cards, personal photos and government archives. Taggart presents these works in such a way that the viewer’s attention is simultaneously swallowed by the physical scale of each piece and lost in the smallness of the individual cuts.
The overwhelming nature of the work does not seem to be accidental, as he plays with the viewer’s sense of curiosity in each bite-sized fragment of imagery. While trying to look for themes or recurrences within the work, at times the subject matter reveals itself and sets a different tone. For example, Taggart’s digital photographic collage Colony combines and restructures aerial photographs of 21 California state prisons—something that casts a darkness over the colorful shards of imagery almost immediately.His latest solo effort, Cuts And Splits, is on view at Eli Ridgway Gallery through May 4.
“At age 17, I lost every possession I had accumulated in my short life span; ever since I have been a collector. My mission is to document and observe the world around me as if I have never seen it before. I take notes. Collect things I find during my travels. Document my findings. Notice patterns, Copy. Trace. Focus on one thing at a time. Record and follow what I am drawn to. It brings me immense joy to create space for what has been left behind. To preserve the history of others.”
Oakland-based illustrator and installation artist Lauren Napolitano works with found materials: wood scraps, old bottles, paper torn from old books, tattered lace and dried flowers amass in her subtle shrines, which are layered with the tiny, intricate painting style she has honed over the last decade. Entirely self-taught, Napolitano uses her thin, fragile, art-deco-inspired linework to coat forgotten relics of the everyday with new meanings, and new life. Her recent traveling project with street artist Shrine, called the “Reckless In Love Shack,” has been set up at Symbiosis and Lightning In A Bottle, and she continues to fill spaces with her lovely, lightly aged drawings and paintings, most recently at White Walls in SF and Old Crow in Oakland.
Gallery Nicolai Wallner in Copenhagen recently opened a new solo exhibition by SF based Clare Rojas. From the press release: “Known for her illustrative paintings full of folk art imagery and rich storytelling, this latest body of work is contrastingly minimalist, geometric and abstract.” The show is on view through May 18th 2013.(via)
Kim Tucker’s ceramic sculptures are burly messes of gender– exorcising primal desires, akin to a Bukowski or Fante novel, with a dash of Freud, but crafted with more of a surrealistic feminine charge. Each nude, for example, sexually and emotionally gestures at our gentle need for communion from one body to the next, illustrating psychologically how we bleed failure, rejection, isolation or loss.
KCRW’s Laura Schumate laments on each figure’s soft absorption: “There’s a desire to protect them like your own children or a friend, while acknowledging their familiar sorrow within yourself.”
On that note, the entire menagerie evokes not only Tucker’s inner children, but also our own, as they engage in “psychological storytelling”– narrating open wounds we are inclined to protect, lick, mother, or share: a deep commiseration over the tragedy of bodily confinement.