It is hard to summarize what Ben Jones does. One, overly broad, way to describe his work is that Jones creates genre defying art in a wide range of media, and within his oeuvre there are a lot of nooks and crannies, each of which has its own special ideas and charm. His creative work has been enthusiastically followed by artists since the late 1990s through zines, underground animations, painting and sculpture. I remember seeing something called Paper Rad on the internet around 2003 or 4, and being mesmerized by the bold drawing and color, and, not to be cheesy, but there was also a contagious sense of joy. The imagery remixed pop culture with high cultural stuff like abstract painting. A few years later, towards 2007, the broader popular culture became aware of Jones through his animated television series Problem Solverz, and more recently his new series entitled Stone Quackers. All of the work seems to hover half in the subconscious, placing seemingly real and present iconological formations alongside impossible or wonderful subconscious riffs. In Jones’s work it feels like half the colors are colors, the other half are memories.
Jones has a new exhibition opening Saturday July 11th at Ace Gallery in L.A from 7 to 9pm, and you can see the show until September. This is a major show that is going to transform the gallery. You will be immersed in both high-tech painting and the ladder sculptures we discuss in the interview. His televison show, Stone Quackers, has recently aired new episodes on FXX in the Animation Domination block, and you can see his animations all over the internet and on Hulu.
Paul Cherwick approaches his subtractive wooden sculptures with the spontaneity of drawings, treating them as quick, multi-sided one-offs. Employing a carving technique, he chooses an art that runs the gamut, unchanged between folk art material, and the stuff of priceless antiquities. Cherwick creates his figures as allegories, each with an absurd background story; they show the classical grace of the commoner, rather than his or her banality. His cast of personal folklores draws from Classical Greek mythology, in which individuals serve as tropes, created to personify human qualities in ways that are often very literal. Though he is drawn to wood for its classical nature and inherent morality, his translations of the material often verge on Pop.
New York’s Buke & Gase recently released their second LP, General Dome on Brassland to great reviews. Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez have once again succeeded in creating a unique sound based on their homemade instruments as well as Dyer’s amazing voice.
“Buke = (pronounced “Byook”) a self-modified six-string former baritone ukulele.”
“Gase = (pronounced “Gace”) a guitar-bass hybrid of Aron Sanchez’s own creation.”
They’re currently finishing up their North American tour with a stop tonight at the Echo in Los Angeles and also a show at the Casbah in San Diego tomorrow, February 20th before heading to Australia and Europe. Check out their new video for their very catchy single, Hiccup and grab a ticket to one of their last shows of the tour.
Barnaby Barford is a British artist who works primarily with ceramics to create unique narrative pieces. He works with both mass-market and antique found porcelain figurines, cutting up and exchanging elements or adding to them and repainting them, to create sculptures which are often sinister and sardonic but invariably humorous. With irony, he draws a portrait of our contemporary lives.
In Barford’s world a kitsch figure of a 19th century peasant boy becomes a 20th century teenage thug in a hoodie; cute little girls roast adorable lambs on a spit; a rosy cheeked boy beats and cracks humpty dumpty into hundreds of pieces. Through his unique works, Barford explores all aspects of our society. Following in the tradition of Hogarth, Chaucer, Dickens and Shakespeare; with a dark sense of English humor and satire, Barford’s work explores and celebrates the human condition.
Jimmy Joe Roche recently sent me an email with the subject line: A BAT SHIT VIDEO 4 U. Naturally, I opened it up and watched. The best I can describe JJR’s menacing just over a minute long video as, is some kind of hallucinatory digital death metal head-bang mind-bang freak out. It’s like he overloaded on pixel-pushing and is in the throes of some kind of ethernet-ether-ecstasy. Crazy. Check out some of his other vids too- wolves, Peruvian embroidery, gradients, more seizure-inducing psychedelia. Also, in this video is he wearing a fake beard?
If you take a peek at Danielle Nelson Mourning’s blog, you will find wonderfully candid observations about places, things, or people she’s encountered and how they influence her creative perspective. For instance, there is a post about Marchus who has Stargardt, a rare eye condition. Mourning writes about his desire to experience more smells in artwork, specifically, “leaves in a forest which change constantly depending on light.” Then, there is Tod Papageorge’s brave encounter with Garry Winogrand which leads to a lifelong art-filled friendship. Mourning talks about this pair with honest admiration.
Each quick note or meditation brings us back to Mourning’s own body of work– drawing us deeper into the magnetism which aids in cultivating her own quietly powerful narratives. It’s an appreciation for the human condition and all its ephemeral passions. Although Mourning started out in the commercial world, it’s clear her heart transcends that superficial artifice.
New Zealand-based illustrator Henrietta Harris, previously featured here, continues to compel the eye with her alluring and dreamily distorted portraits. In her pastel-toned watercolors, she renders the human figure fluid and infinite. Seemingly caught in moments of a romantic introspection bordering on spiritual transcendence, her subjects dissolve into swirls, scribbles, and line.
Here, Harris’s artistic process is inextricably fused with the completed portrait, and the creative act of art making is just as significant as the subject itself. Quick, doodled lines of primary and secondary colors become equally as material and substantial as the multiple-toned and shaded flesh itself, and the artist’s stream of consciousness thrillingly interrupts any objective reflection of reality. Individual identities collapse to form a whirlpool of ecstatic color, and the body itself becomes a cosmic landscape, revolving, twisting, and floating like a strange fleshy galaxy.
The intense movement of Harris’s work is balanced only by her soft, muted colors and the hushed expressions of her subjects. Peering sleepily downwards, her watercolor muses exude a quiet yet concentrated aura, as if lost in a meditative trance. Two-dimensional lines like static electricity course through three-dimensional bodies, slicing their features in two, and still they stare forward resolutely. Deconstructed perhaps by their own imaginations, they surrender themselves to the hand of the artist, which leaps and coils whimsically across the page. Take a look. (via The Inspiration Grid)
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.