Tony Matelli’s hyper-real sculptures of meat and vegetable portraits, sprouting weeds, stacked cards, sleepwalking humans and malicious chimpanzees captures your attention with immediacy, a visual poignancy that would make it hard not to react with curiosity and amusement. This initial response opens the door to a slightly somber and disturbing environment where each series tackle concepts of death, resurrection, failure, pessimism, loss and reinvention. Matelli’s own personal concerns are projected onto these works buliding a relationship between object and artist that is further extended to the public.
Russell Leng’s paintings have an immense depth to them; his latest series, “Nature Systems,” features floating geometric shapes that look like faceted crystals. On his site Leng says he wants to “explore the relationship between constructed and natural terrains,” (which might explain why the organic yet jagged shapes suggest both a harmony and a dissonance.) If his paintings make you think he’s too calm and cool, check out his website to see him shovel cake into his face in his short film, “Let Them Eat Cake”.
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. He was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute were he initially began working with gunpowder to foster spontaneity and confront the suppression that he felt from the controlled artistic tradition and social climate in China at the time. Pretty bomb. Check out some of his work after the jump.
During a recent trip to Istanbul, Spanish artist Pejac completed a series of three murals in Üsküdar. Titled “Lock, Poster and Shutters,” each piece has been meticulously painted and employs a trompe-l’oeil technique to suggest three-dimensionality. Through painted-on shadows and methods of forced perspective, Pejac renders realistic architectural elements, including a keyhole receding into a stone wall, a ‘poster’ of a lancet window, and unlatched shutters framing a small, intricately patterned screen.
In order to impeccably blend each piece onto its architectonic canvas, Pejac utilizes lifelike, subdued hues—namely black, white, grey, and gold. To further evoke realism, the artist paints each object true to size, and even creates illusions of elemental exposure through synthetic discoloration and signs of tarnish. Echoing the existing imperfections apparent on each façade—including chipped paint, subtle cracks, and accumulated dirt—Pejac’s murals simultaneously trick the eye and call attention to the innate potential that surrounds us on a daily basis.
In an interview with Société Perrier, Pejac notes his recurring “intention to not only play with the concept but with the very perception of reality.” And, if “Lock, Poster and Shutters” is any indication, his playing proves successful.
“Taggart’s project began when she met a Mambo, or female Vodou priest, named Rose Marie Pierre, who runs a temple in the basement of a nondescript storefront in the working class neighborhood of Flatbush. It was here that Taggart made these images of priests and laymen undergoing possession by the Loa—powerful spirits that act as intermediaries between humankind and Vodou’s distant god, Bondye. Most Loa are benign, some are malevolent, but every spirit has a distinct personality, role in the world and set of demands and services. In their different ways, practitioners believe, these spirits determine our fate and must be consulted and appeased.
Beckoning the Loa requires elaborate preparations unique to the particular spirit desired. Practitioners indicate the Loa they want to call upon by drawing its vever, or symbol, in cornmeal sprinkled on the floor. They place offerings on an altar and perform particular songs and dances. When the Loa possesses the worshiper Taggart says the scene becomes “wild, very physical and intense.” Though she works with black-and-white still images, Taggart is able to convey the noise and energy of these rituals. “There is screaming and thrashing…sometimes [congregants] run around the room as if confused. It can happen suddenly, so it’s often jarring. People immediately gather around the one possessed and assist them with what they need and catch them if they collapse.” Practitioners say the experience induces short-term amnesia; “Mambo Rose Marie is always surprised (sometimes shocked) to see my documentation of what has taken place while she was possessed,” recalls Taggart.” – Myles Little
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.
Franklin Evans examines the processes of making art—the generation of ideas and materials, their transformation from one to the other, and the many varied states in between. For this exhibition, he will present paintings, sculptures, photographs, and a sound piece in an all-encompassing environment. The wall paintings and collage environments of past installations, such as timecompressionmachine from Greater New York 2010 at MoMA PS1, have been collapsed by the artist and transferred to the surface of large-scale canvases. Mundane materials such as artist’s tape that previously played a key role as a barrier, frame, and drawing tool, are carefully recreated as trompe l’oeil representations, as the use of actual tape in the final compositions diminishes.
In the past, Evans has used gallery press releases to create a framing system presented as temporal floor sculpture. This practice has morphed into the usage of visual highlights from the artist’s gallery visits, captured online images, text highlights from books read over the past year, and scanned photographs from family albums. The viewer will discover various aspects of Evans, as an artist and a person: his childhood in Nevada, his mixed Mexican heritage, and his gay male identity. By focusing on the myriad visuals referencing the various aspects of Evans’ personae, some of these “peripheral” images remain on the periphery, while others become a focal point, as they do for indexicalmeasfocalscreen2012. The archive of hundreds of photographs is threaded to create an “image curtain” that divides the main gallery in two and which occupies an artistic space that builds on the Atlases of Aby Warburg and Gerhard Richter.
Entering this tandem exploration of periphery and focus, the viewer walks into the gallery over Evans’ sculptural “library”, an elevated floor and installation object in flux. It starts as a representation of the literal, moves to a residue of process, evolves as the ideas are extracted from the represented books, and settles into the sound piece 1967 in the main gallery room. 1967 consists of 350 fragments from his readings in the past year, ranging from Justin Spring’s biography of Samuel Steward, Secret Historian, to October Files’ Robert Rauschenberg. The text extractions are voiced by five performers and are played on random shuffle. Operating in the slippery non-linearity of memory, 1967 takes us back to Evans’ birth year. Eyesontheedge is on view at Sue Scott Gallery in NYC until April 15th, 2012
Personally, I love this sorta thing, although I might never get used to the flux between live people and seemingly stationary sculptural artifact. Maybe its the live-action/still-life combo that makes these pieces so great, maybe its an abstract sort of foreshadowing of an apocalyptic future. Dont ask me, Im addicted to benzedrine.