ARTIST INTERVIEW: JUSTIN JOHN GREENE

Red Room - acrylic and oil on canvas, 36" x 60" 2009

Los Angeles has always held a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans, but for most it exists in an almost fictional capacity.  Hollywood isn’t a real place – it’s a postcard, a huge sign on the side of a mountain bracketed with strategically placed palm tree silhouettes.  Certainly not a place to call home, but for artist Justin John Greene that’s exactly what it is.  Hollywood is a part of his heritage, and the work reflects that.  Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Greene’s work is strongly imbued with the history of the most romanticized industry in American culture.  In his most recent solo show at Actual Size (an exhibition space he co-runs in the Chinatown gallery district of east L.A.) the influence of the film industry is in full focus.  You Oughta Be In Pictures is a comprehensive installation that utilizes painting, sculpture, and video to create a truly immersive experience for the viewer.  Installation may seem like a bit of a leap from Greene’s primarily two dimensional practice, but a closer look into the artist’s process bridges the gap seamlessly.  His work is a distinctly enjoyable blend of sly historical references, direct compositional tactics, and cleverly applied humor.  If you have the opportunity to see the work in person I strongly encourage you to do so.

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Violet Dennison’s multiverse sculpture

“Art should be beautiful, sensual, and transcendental,” says sculptor, Violet Dennison, paraphrasing John McCracken and providing insight into the directives for her newest sculptural work. Dennison is an emerging talent fresh out of NYU’s Steinhardt School. We recently discussed her raw, multiverse sculpture. In which, the artist offers an exciting and refreshing counterpoint to the trending ‘detritus movement’ taking her work further than mere groovy dyes and grainy façades. Instead, the impetus behind Dennison’s style comes from disco, sensuality, California car culture, and a suspicious yearn for utopian escapism.

The collection of works in Dennison’s Gowanus studio range in materials, from cement, plaster, burlap, granite, to wood, and measure from four to seven feet. Stylistically, they push at the boundaries of 60’s minimalism, entering into the viewer’s spatial field by modes of leaning, hanging, or existing as lone vertical structures.

Heavy fabrication and a dematerialized aesthetic are juxtaposed in Dennison’s work through her use of raw material and visual trickery. Materials are manipulated and meticulously re-invented, reaching a visual regression to a seemingly more organic state. Coated in dulcet tones of light pinks, blues, and pale greens, her palimpsest process delivers seesawing conclusiveness on their physical and visceral nature. “Is what’s in front of me heavy and cold or in fact light and sensual?” He or she must decide whether or not to trust his or her initial perception. 

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Montgomery Perry Smith: A Delicate Blend

 

Chicago based artist Montgomery Perry Smith finds beauty in the unexpected.  His process often includes taking discarded elements of once functional objects (i.e. the base of a papasan chair or a broken lamp) and coupling them with meticulously handcrafted details.  The end result of which is a strikingly sophisticated body of work.  Smith’s sculptures are as sexual as they are formal, but he is never hitting you over the head with it.  Drawn forms are delicately paired with altered materials to create elegant compositions that reveal subtle references to sexuality.  Since graduating with a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the spring of 2008, Smith’s artistic career has been steadily gaining momentum.  A recent solo show at Sabina Lee Gallery marks Smith’s first foray into the Los Angeles art scene, but if the prediction of Smith’s future success by Chicago publication Newcity as one of nine “Breakout Artists” to watch in 2010 is as prophetic as I think it might be – we will be seeing much more of his work in the years to come. Read More >


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ARTIST INTERVIEW: ROBERT FONTENOT’s Bread Dough Sculptures

Robert-Fontenot-artist-Daniel-Rolnik-bread-dough-peg-leg

 

Robert Fontenot’s sculptures, made out of bread dough, present the viewer with extremely humorous, yet severely violent worlds. He’s the author and designer of three books. Two of which are about the histories of ancient mythologies and the other of which is an illustrated history of performance art – that is, in my opinion, far more entertaining than Roselee Goldberg’s classic Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. However, skillfully sculpting the human form’s most revealing gestures is not Robert Fontenot’s only mastered practice. He also has an ongoing series, where he embroiders textiles, as well as another project entitled Recycle LACMA – in which he buys deaccessioned items from the museum at auction and then turns them into items of use. For example, he transformed a Brocade evening dress into a fully functional fanny pack. If you have your wits about you, then it won’t take long to recognize the awesomeness of Robert Fontenot’s work.

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Matt Nichols: Objectified

Artist Matt Nichols takes craftsmanship to a new level by pairing bold symbols with an acute sensibility for surface material.  While stunning as photos, the work is best experienced in person.  Physically interacting with these sculptures definitely forced me to reevaluate the relationship I had to the familiar iconography he often uses as a point of entry for the viewer.  Nichols comes from a serious design back ground, being largely responsible for much of the visual branding associated with the clothing company Neff.  While most would remain comfortable in that roll – he needed to push things further by shifting his focus towards a more physical realm.  With the closing of an exhibition at Hungryman Gallery just behind him, new work is already on the way.  Having recently returned to the Los Angeles area you can expect to see his name popping up in galleries across the SoCal area in the very near future.

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Rusty Shackleford

 

Rusty Shackleford creates collages, sculptures, and arrangements that investigate the relationship between image and form, engaging vintage printed matter to extrude its inherent qualities, of color, context, and nostalgia. The resulting images are delicately poised between abstraction and representation, paint and print. Shackleford does not treat his images preciously: he ravages them with swaths of paint, but he strikes a surprising equilibrium between readymade and intervention. His sculptures function similarly to his collages, where color and form, executed boldly in a minimal, Modernist style, integrate smoothly with the colors and forms in their surroundings. Read More >


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SAMANTHA REHARK


Samantha Rehark is a 22-year-old multimedia artist and graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design. Her artwork limns the psychological space nature holds in our collective consciousness. Aside from creating collage, installation, and sculpture, Rehark plays keyboard in the band Threesome with Jordan DiDomenico and Alex Ross. Pony, her recently released artist’s zine, was made during a residency in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Read More >


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André da Loba’s Cardboard Sculptures

André da Loba was born in 1979 in Portugal, to a mama and a centaur. In a family of nine brothers he was the ugliest. His nose was very big, and still is. As a result, his parents sent him to join a sea circus”.  His work has been published in a myriad of publications including the New York Times, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. “Currently he lives in New York City, where he is secretly happy”.

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