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.”
Megan Van Groll paints women– mediating on the fine line between nakedness and nudity, or how these two concepts relate to freedom or identity. Likewise, from bathing in cocoa puffs to sensually brawling at a donut shop, her food motif is an interesting one, often working in tandem with the female form– provoking thoughts of fetish from the outside, but also, a much more personal and complicated binging ceremony.
Of her own craft, Groll states, “My narrative portraits of women are, at their core, a painted attempt to understand and portray how modern women create identity and meaning from the world around them. I am interested in exploring the way we perform our projected ideal personas, for ourselves and for others.”
Born in Tehran, amidst the 1980s political suffering and strife, Nouar’s family fled to Germany and then the US, where she resides today. Her oil and acrylic paintings touch on vintage commercial Americana with a sinister twist– but without being too cynical. Instead, each dollop of cream or slice of pie provokes a more tempting side of advertising, where the taste of nostalgia and its childlike promises are the main indulgence.
On this theme, the artist elaborates, “I have always been completely fascinated by our massive consumer culture and often feel everything around us is a commercial, constantly manipulating us into desiring things we don’t really have a need for, or shouldn’t want in the first place.”
With funny fake titles that satirize the real thing, Harland Miller paints a colorful collection of paperbacks which function as a shrine for predictable literary personalities from Waugh to Hemingway . . . and he doesn’t stop there. He also gets personal, implicating his own self-titles into the mix, adding a whole other autobiographical subtext that is both playfully light and familiarly bold.
Miranda Donovan explores the invasion of graffiti from the exterior world of landscapes and buildings to the interior one– of bathrooms, bedrooms, and yes, even galleries, where street artists are finding more and more of a home these days. However, Donovan’s work is not just about street politics or the art of tagging here– each piece also examines the quality, textures, associations, and contexts of walls themselves.
Of her work, in Cool Hunting, Donovan states, “The point of departure is a wall, which so often people just overlook . . . It’s something in our daily space constantly, internally and externally, and there’s a romanticism in that, which draws me in. The different combination of languages, the grid, the broken plaster breaking up that grid, the colors, the erosion, is something that really excites me. It’s about combining those languages to tell a story about the passage of time and the analogy of the human psyche, peeling back the onion layers to find the core.”
Ariana Papademetropoulos’ long last name may be the very thing that inspires her mystic paintings. Or, at least that’s just what I’d like to believe. I saw her work during CalARTS’ open studios and it was definitely some of my favorite stuff on display. Especially, since it deals with spiritualism in a way that’s remarkably beautiful. Just look at her paintings of crystals that have hidden reflections of women and symbols, which can entrance the viewer into a reflective stare. There’s much more going on in Ariana’s work than one’s initial glance.
Maine-based artist Matt W Moore is a favorite of mine, and here’s why. For one thing, this guy is into a little bit of everything. The multi-talented, multimedia artist founded and runs MWM Graphics, a studio specializing in illustration and graphic design. More recently, he started Core Deco, a brand that lets him bring his signature style to more functional design objects. But that’s all business – let’s talk more about that signature style. From large aerosol murals in Brazil or France to brightly colored, boldly patterned digital illustrations in a style the artist calls “vectorfunk,” the mark of Moore is instantly recognizable. Sculptural installations – like those done for his ’Sun Ray Ricochet’ solo show in Moscow - are similarly characterized by well-placed angles and lines, as well as vibrant colors. Lately, it seems that Moore has been moving away from the strictures of more formal geometry and embracing a more organic, flowing style. I’m definitely liking the results so far. Check out more of his works after the jump!
Self-described daughter of an eccentric mechanical engineer and a stiff-upper-lipped British nurse, Canadian artist Bonni Reid specializes in exploring the spaces between worlds through her works. The Vancouver-based painter mixes together dapper gents and lovely ladies of old with exposed – and sometimes floral – anatomy, surreal landscapes, and a bit of humor at times. Her well-crafted curiosities have been shown in Los Angeles’ La Luz De Jesus Gallery, Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle, and several spaces in Canada, among others. Take a closer look at her work after the jump.