Here’s a quick look into the Barry McGee exhibit at the Berkley Art Museum. It’s been up since the end of August, but you’ve only got one more month to check it out, since it closes December 9th.
You may know him as Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, Bernon Vernon, P.Kin, Ray Virgil, or Twist, but whatever moniker he’s creating under, McGee is an incredibly talented artist. Trained as a painter and a printmaker at the San Francisco Art Institute, McGee is now one of the most influential names in graffiti and street art. During his time in college, he began to take what he was learning to the streets off the Mission District, tagging under different pen names and switching up his styles. Now, he’s brining the streets he knows so well into gallery spaces, creating imaginary urban worlds in his installations. These new landscapes are filled with paintings, sketches, graffiti and sculptures, and visiting them feels a bit like walking around in McGee’s own mind.
Anna Garforth is a graphic designer and illustrator working from London. Her inspiration from the “plant life that pushes and grows its way through all the cracks in the concrete,” has led to some amazing works including plant life and moss.
Recent Ontario College of Art and Design graduate Sarah Joncas already has a distinct, characteristic style that has earned her several awards, as well as garnered the attentions of top galleries around the US. Her paintings often focus on a lone woman, drawing out her narrative in a combination of bold hues and shadowy tones. The themes explored in her works are at times dark but at other times quite whimsical. Currently, the Toronto-based artist is representing Canada in an all-female group show entitled ‘International Woman’ which can be caught at the UK’s Warrington Museum now through July 7th. Living on this side of the pond, as they say? Then check out the artist’s upcoming joint show with fellow painter Caia Koopman, opening June 16th at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California.
Matthew Cusick is known for his paintings made with maps that we have featured here in the past. Cusick is also creating a body of work he calls “Defacements”. Pages from vintage schoolbooks are found, scraped and sanded to remove all but the page number, an image, and a few chosen words. The artist removes in order to reveal. The result is work that comments on the human condition, the environment, politics, and the physical act of delicate deconstruction.
These GIFS from David Alexander Slaager, otherwise known as General Dikki, will mess with your eyes (and possibly give you a headache if you don’t quit staring at them). The GIFs use a technique called stereoscopy. Stereoscopic images create the illusion of depth by presenting two images that are very slightly different from each other. Each image is presented to each eye and the brain combines the two images to create a single image that seems three dimensional. Slaagers GIFs quickly alternate between these two images nearly creating the same three dimensional effect.
Italian artist Mimmo Rubino, also known as Rub Kandy, plays with the city. His art’s relationship with the city and its citizens is interactive, even fun. His newest project is simple but imaginative. Rubino uses an urban mainstay as a canvas for his spray paint work: a cement truck. While the mixer spins, Rubino keeps a spraying can of paint steady. Repeating the process with various colors eventually covers the mixer in near perfect stripes. Appropriately, the piece is titled Revolver.
Artist Sheida Soleimani has translated her frustration with her home country Iran and it’s politics into a captivating and symbolically complex photographic series called National Anthem. Her parents fled the country in 1979 after the revolution that overthrew the pro-western Pahlavi dynasty took place. (Both parents were targeted for actively opposing the regime – her mother tortured, and her father escaping across the border.) As a political refugee in America, Soleimani observed her country transition through several fundamental changes and decided to express her disdain visually. Each photographic scene is an exploration of cultural themes and symbols all representing different aspects of the last 35 years in Iran, and the many different dictators and leaders the country has seen. Soleimani says:
In my photographic scenarios, cultural symbols and signifiers are appropriated to create a narrative in regards to my position as an Iranian-American viewing the Middle East from an outside lens. The usage of specific colors and political figures form a symbolic lexicon that runs throughout the series, while party supplies hint at the doctrines of ‘political parties’. Each of the photographs addresses a specific time in Iranian history, while alluding to how both the East and West have responded to societal occurrences. Through incorporating multiple layers, the lexicon can be read and refashioned by the viewers’ ideologies, creating images that remain coeval, while acknowledging former origins. (Source)
Combining collage, installation, performance and object assemblage, Soleimani creates powerful, emotional art-as-activism. The fierce mark making, scrunched up images, burnt candles, and mutilated cultural objects all have the hand of an aggrieved survivor. Managing to turn her deeply personal history into a series of clever, sarcastic visual puns, Soleimani’s artistic therapy is beneficial to us all.