Jered Sprecher makes paintings that do not fit neatly into any category. At first they look like geometric abstraction, but then you realize that there is something different about the surface, it’s brushy and the edges of the shapes aren’t dogmatically hard like other geometric paintings. In his broader body of work there are images peppered in among the abstract elements, but the images are sort of soft pictures with interruptions, like paintings based on a faded calendar that was exposed to too much light in a hallway. Sprecher’s paintings seem to accept the modern idea that paintings are things, that paintings are first and foremost flat sculpture. This train of thinking says illusions are a kind of deception, which they are. Modernism goes a little further by hinting that illusions are lies that are also moral defects. This aversion to illusion brought us abstract artists like the evangelical Donald Judd, the graceful openness of Helen Frankenthaler, and the philosophical diagrams of Peter Halley. Enjoying painting as a window into an illusory world is a “mistake” everyone made until the 1940s, when some smart people came along and told us to be careful about it. Modernists say any artwork that hides its true nature is a metaphor for misunderstanding life in a bigger way. Sprecher does not seem to completely buy the modernist talking points, and like a bad political surrogate goes off message on a Sunday talk show, saying “Yes, but… I always lie!”
You can see Sprecher’s newest work in his show I Always Lie at Jeff Bailey Gallery in Chelsea until March 23rd. Interview after the jump.
The French paper towel company Sopalin decided to have a little fun and create a tongue in cheek ad campaign that incorporates artistic input, literally. Instead of using the standard selling method of having their product cleaning up a spilled milk scenario Sopalin features the product creating a design in the spilt milk instead. It takes advertising into another level entirely. The designs in the ad are decorative and simple but the idea is highly creative and innovative. The message touches on the virtues of producing art using common found objects (or messes). While this is not new in the art world it definitely is a rarity in the mainstream ad world.
Sopalin’s other advertising ventures have examined gender roles. In one, a husband and wife team are in the kitchen and after she spills something cannot lift up the paper towels. After much fuss, the husband gets up off his chair and lifts the paper towels. The idea of course is that the towels are so strong you need a man to lift them. Its basic concept definitely a bit more creative than your average product sponsorship.
It’s an interesting study to look at how this particular company uses artistic ways to sell a basic product. It mainly speaks to the fact that manufacturers are recognizing more and more the power art has in not only enriching, educating but now selling too. (via 1designperday)
Along with working as an editorial photographer, James Pearson – Howes also creates wonderful themed series of photographic documentations. I especially enjoyed his continuing series, British Folk which follows various people who take part in folk events that are held throughout Britain.
My friend at Zachary Kellogg at CalArts is having an opening tonight. It looks really great- whoever in the area should go check it out. I’m probably going to attempt the 357875445 mile treacherous drive as well.
Zachary Kellogg’s practice revolves around an ever changing fantasy typically using motifs involving fictitious relationships, masculine symbolgy, queer aesthetics, love/ obsession, and sadness/ hope.
At times strangely numb, and at other points echoing a modernist affection for the coldest of structures and surfaces, the most recent work by Philadelphia painter Erin Murray certainly doesn’t lack in focus. Murray’s fixation on the bland, eerily coded architecture of American cities reveals an underlying criticism (or slightly tongue-in-cheek reference) to the simultaneous banality and sinister intentionality that exists in the spaces around us. Rather than allowing these ever-present backdrops of contemporary life to fade quietly into the background, she brings them forward in the hopes that the viewer will find the same suspicious significance in each graphic, expertly rendered façade.
Where her graphite works are dark and slightly ominous, the lush, surrealistic landscapes Murray has sketched out are deliciously disorienting. As a group, they reflect a curious interest in space, place and structure—something that might eventually push Murray’s works off the page and into the 3D realm.
Artist Sam Songailo uses bright colors, straight lines, and bold, graphic shapes in his outdoor and indoor installations. Geometric repeating patterns span span floors, ceilings, and walls. Lighting plays a role in his work as it enhances color and gives the work a sense of space and a depth of field. Once the viewer is immersed in the space, all of the elements of Songailo’s work transports them to another place.
Outdoor installations, like the ones on a city street, work with the existing landscape. Songailo’s patterns fill and conform to every inch of the given space like a mutating organism. The high-contrast colors and intricate trellis-like shapes create a disorienting effect. Not so much when viewing it as a whole from above, but walking through it leaves little indication of direction.
Before he started large-scale installations, Songailo was a graphic designer. This is evident in the execution of his work, especially in one of his few indoor installations, Zen Garden (directly above). The piece mimics the lines of sand, with a few “rocks” that are spread throughout the gallery floor. Songailo is able to have full control over the space, and uses principles of design to make it not only attractive, but to effectively transport the viewer to a minimalist, geometric zen garden.