Steven Charles has a show of new work up now at Stux Gallery in Chelsea. Although he was friendly meeting Steven for the first time was a little unsettling. It felt a little like I imagine spiritual seekers felt like when they met the Maharijji in the 1960s’, like meeting some strange saint. I met him through Aaron Johnson who told me Steven was one of his favorite painters.
During the studio visit Steven and I talked about how he was working as a janitor, but just a couple of years ago he was selling paintings for six-figure sums. He was another victim of 2008, but he didn’t seem bummed out. In fact, he was just going along, and to use another Maharajji idea, he seemed very present. His painting method involves creating something to react to: a painting could start by splashing paint on a surface or by gluing a kid’s sock to a board. Click read more to see his work in progress.
When I dropped by his sunlit Brooklyn studio Aaron Johnson was busy preparing for his show at Stux Gallery in Chelsea, which opens Thursday September 15th. In this new body of work Johnson invites us to chow down on a writhing smorgasbord of Americana: severed heads, demonic Uncle Sams, sausage crucifixes, fried eagles, mashed guts, f-burgers, camel roast, and mutant sea creatures sucking down oil oozing fresh from the rig. His new work is opulent and glitters like jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs despite picturing disturbingly grotesque and violent imagery – totally Beautiful/Decay!
Aaron Johnson’s sunny Brooklyn studio is full of riotous, colorfully undulating, larger-than-life monsters. He’s getting ready for a show that opens next week. Luckily, he had some paintings in progress so we can see how he puts his paint on. Known for making paintings that are both incredibly gorgeous and politically aggressive, Johnson continues to develop and has upped the ante with his new work. Now he’s including Old-Master appropriations, political satire, religious abominations, gender-benders, and personal references, all played out in monstrous iconography.