Gaia (Brooklyn and Baltimore) pastes huge lino cut prints of animals and other naturally infused imagery onto walls. Massive in scale but not overly so, the works cause us to question our role in nature and our connection to animals. Gaia’s also referencing a lot of renaissance art lately, and the newer works bring a really calming element to the locations in which they’re installed. The artist recently took a degree from MICA — maybe production will be amped up now that the artist has more freetime?
Recent MICA grad Andy Vible makes “life-size sculptures of human bodies whose heads have been replaced by everyday objects”.
Straightforward enough. Or maybe not. By decapitating his sculptures he makes us feel slightly uncomfortable. In a way, we’ve lost our heads too, and that’s a good place to start. Without a head (without a brain), we are left fully subject to Vible’s will. He has our attention. And that’s where the “everyday objects” come into play. Vible inserts these elements (cctv cameras, loudspeakers, reference globes, birdhouses, etc.) into his works in order to “communicate in a type of language that everyone understands”. In common language and without our personal projections, the works are able to come across clearly. Click the link and hit your bookmark button. You know what to do.
MICA 2012 printmaking grad James Bouché is doing some really dark, meditative work touching on themes of history, death, and decay. Yeah- it’s something we’d like. Bouché’s lithographs and screen prints of desolate wastelands, crumbling artifacts, and dead soldiers hit the tone pretty well. There’s almost like an arcane magic at work here, as though the artist is in touch with the ancient Mayans, transmitting 2012 death knells via ink on paper. But even if such sinister implications are completely imagined, the works’ ability to generate them in the first place is pretty special. But I’m still hoping that James is talking to the Mayans anyway. That’d be pretty cool.
“Lines between the organic and the man-made become blurred and a larger narrative is evoked.”
There’s a lot going on in Allison Renshaw’s paintings, so take a second to breathe. Renshaw, who received an MFA from MICA, lives and works in Encinitas, California. Her works create a “universe…that is seemingly random and difficult to decipher. This chaotic quality becomes a visualization of today’s open-source culture of sampling and recycling.” I love that element of controlled chaos with these. She definitely pulls it off. Renshaw is represented by Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla, CA.
Joseph Parra, who received his BFA in Painting this year from MICA, has started his career with a running start. Back in 2008, he worked with famed architect Richard Gehry as part of HBO’s Masterclass, and last year he completed a solo show at Galerie M in Milwaukee, WI. He distorts portraits of absentminded subjects with unorthodox techniques, employing sand paper and collage. Parra’s charcoal drawings, also figurative in nature, are equally of note. His drawings (like his prints) are ghostly. His figures are presented with little distraction, no context or background. This demonstrates a confidence in his image making. He’s showing us exactly what he wants us to see.
Since I started Beautiful/Decay while attending the Maryland Institute College Of Art I have a soft spot for artists working in Baltimore. There’s something about living Baltimore (see “The Wire” for more on that) that changes you and your artwork forever. Baltimore is a giant pot of crazy that just seeps into your work and wont let go. Keep up the good work Suzanna and make us Alums proud!