Kevin Cooley creates Controlled Burns, a series of striking images that showcase swirling and imposing clouds of black, white, and gray smoke. Inspired by the communicative purpose of smoke signals during Papal conclave, the series focuses on ideas and actions dealing with communication, specifically human interactions with nature.
Cooley creates and manufactures the images himself, the smoke is real, and so is the fire creating it, but the artist here is rendering an image, controlling it and taking charge of something that can potentially be uncontrollable. The project is indicative of something we are well aware of, particularly our impotence yet possibility to control natural, powerful elements in our world. The paradox makes us contemplate on something we know, but do not really think about often.
Fire is a powerful natural force that we harness for greater good, and it is the only Classical element that we can create on demand. Yet, when out of control, it has the potential for grave destruction. Controlled Burns is a visual representation of this inherit duality, symbolic of our desire to conquer and control, reminding us that sometimes we must fight fire with fire.
Beginning January 11th, 2014, the Kopeikin Gallery will present Cooley’s work in UNEXPLORED TERRITORY, an interdisciplinary exhibition that explores “the limits of human exploration and our desire to conquer and control nature.” Themes range from colonial exploration of the American West, harnessing fire in the form of combustion to launch rockets into space, to anthropomorphic actions of everyday objects such as box fans, and helium balloons.
Paintings and sculptures by artist Marcus Kenney, utilizing a wide variety of materials and subject matter.
To call Clark Goolsby a multi-media artist almost seems like an understatement. Indeed, the sheer volume of materials and techniques he expertly employs is staggering, often combining spray paint, acrylics, pencil, wood, foam, plastic, string, and even audio into one finished product – but even that far from represents the impressive span of Goolsby’s “multi-ness.” He seamlessly transitions between different styles, from abstracted, multifaceted geometric forms to realistically rendered objects, crisp lines to more impressionistic strokes and drippings. As if that wasn’t enough, Goolsby tackles a seemingly endless mix of iconography, juxtaposing rainbows and antlers, inverted crosses and trophies, pyramids and statuesque faces. Oh, and by the way, it’s all in technicolor.
The result is just as overwhelming as you might imagine, and that’s exactly the point. Goolsby’s work parallels the milieu of stimuli we are constantly barraged with every day of our lives – a combination, he suggests, which poses a persistent, sometimes surprising threat to our survival. Goolsby’s most recent solo exhibition, Strange/Love at POVevolving Gallery in Los Angeles, focuses on “how we maintain optimism in a world that is so full of potentially life ending situations.” At the center of this exhibition, an 18 foot long skeletal form made of wood and foam entitled “Dead Man” lies horizontally, suspended from the ceiling by hundreds of neon-colored threads. Goolsby’s work reminds us that, even if we are all essentially dead men grasping onto life by the threads, at least those threads are bright, illustrating a sense of playful joie de vivre which urges us to live larger than life, finding beauty in the unrelenting stream of chaos while we still can.
I feel like if Harm van den Dorpel’s gave a seminar about his work that he would be completely deadpanned and really matter-of-fact about it. Even though some of them look like 20-minute photoshop exercises, I can’t help but be mystified.
Also, definitely watch the clips with the guys lying around the hallway of an apartment building. There is definitely some magic to the mediocrity.
One of my favorite tendencies in Mexican cultures is their positive relationship with death, and the above skulls are some beautiful evidence of it. Our Exquisite Corpse partnered with artists from the Huichol community of the Sierra Madres in West Mexico to create a series of stunning beaded skulls. Bead art goes back centuries on centuries on centuries in Huichol culture, from enormous tableaus to, more recently, tiny tourist coasters and covering every object on the way . The skulls are a combination of Huichol artists and OEC designers, painstakingly hand-beaded, and for sale on their website. ( via )
I particularly like the dreaminess of Todd Hebert’s above painting aptly titled, Dreamcatcher. The soft focus fireworks insinuate the mundane and transcendental in a surreal fashion. I love the feeling of feather contrasted with the light, as well. Hebert’s new works will be on display at Mark Moore Gallery beginning July 11th.
Scott Greenwalt is an Oakland-based painter whose mixed media works walk the line between geometric order and gruesome chaos. His palette often resembles that of our most decay-prone biological structures and fluids: the dirty beige of crumbling skulls, the electric pink of strained arteries, and the bright green of runny mucus. His compositions exist within empty landscapes or without any background context at all. And it should be hard to look at his work for too long. It hits so hard that we should be running for the hills. Instead, probably due to his immense level of skill, it’s hard to look away. Peep some recent work from the artist below.