Classic Paintings Re-Imagined As Photographs

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Generic Art Solutions Classic Paintings

Generic Art Solutions is a duo made up of artists Matt Vis and Tony Campbell.  The two artists comment on present day anxiety by re-imagining classic paintings.  Their photographs are carefully staged, often to resemble classic works of art.  Their images are clearly populated with subjects, clothing, and settings that are all modern.  However, the compositions immediately bring to mind the paintings of Caravaggio, Goya, and Marat.  Perhaps a reason the images of the classic artwork and re-imagined in the duo’s photographs are still relevant is because people have never moved beyond the anxieties and problems that plagued us centuries ago.  The gallery statement for their upcoming exhibit at Miami’s Mindy Solomon Gallery expounds on that point:

“The work of Generic Art Solutions (whether it be a photograph, performance, video, or print) begins with a thoughtful re-examination of the human condition, and the effect of recurring cycles of technological advancements and cultural awakenings. But, how much has mankind really evolved? Aren’t we essentially still making the same mistakes? According to the artists, it would certainly seem so. Compare Gericault’s famed painting ‘The Raft of the Medusa,’ 1819, to the G.A.S. representation of Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill in April 2010, as depicted in their photographic work ‘The Raft’ (2010): these two artworks portray shockingly similar tales of human suffering brought on by corporate greed. Or, take Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’ commemorating the French Revolution in 1830, and the perpetual revolutionary uprisings of the Arab Spring as seen in G.A.S.’s ‘Liberty,’ 2011. The artists state: “However evolved we may think we are, the folly of human behavior is still the root of all societal (dis)functions. This is a sobering thought that demands attention. But there is a message of hope in these contemporary homages: through thoughtful reexamination and a commitment to change, we can break the cycle of repeating our mistakes.”

Christophe Avella-Bagur’s Mass Produced Perfections

On an ethereal ground of white light Christophe Avella-Bagur shows us archetypal representations of male and female bodies that answer our expectations of mass-produced perfection. Avella-Bagur disrupts this ideal with a second layer of portraits painted in visceral flesh-tones that never quite register with the face’s outline. The two portraits are collapsed together to create disturbingly distorted juxtapositions painted in the grotesque manner of El Greco or Goya.

Avella-Bagur first began the Floating Souls series in 2005, working in a medium-sized format.  These paintings contained archetypal figures with their eyes closed, in which a “floating soul” was depicted attempting to register with its host. Now the idealized bodies have their eyes open, creating tension and visual complexity between the two faces.

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Laurie Lipton’s Dark Vision

Laurie Lipton’s meticulously rendered drawings are what nightmares are made of complete with skeleton kings, scary clowns, and ghostly reapers.

The artist on her work:

“It was all abstract and conceptual art when I attended university. My teachers told me that figurative art went ‘out’ in the Middle Ages and that I should express myself using form and shapes, but splashes on canvas and rocks on the floor bored me. I knew what I wanted: I wanted to create something no one had ever seen before, something that was brewing in the back of my brain. I used to sit for hours in the library copying Durer, Memling,Van Eyck, Goya and Rembrandt. The photographer, Diane Arbus, was another of my inspirations. Her use of black and white hit me at the core of my Being. Black and white is the color of ancient photographs and old TV shows… it is the color of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness. Black and white ached. I realized that it was perfect for the imagery in my work.”