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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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”.
Breanne Trammell’s work is categorized by oversized every day objects created in monumental proportions. Her work is playful, inspiring, and just plain intriguing. Her candy cigarette installation is genius with giant cigarettes decorated like rainbow sprinkles, Reese’s cups, Sweettarts, Swedish fish and Junior Mints. In addition to her larger than life sculptures, she also incorporates patterns, prints, and 2D expertise into her body of work.
Bradford Haubrich creates wondrous works of art containing a set of iconography culled from personal experiences and past memories. His work ranges from two dimensional paintings on found wood, to clocks and hand made mugs, and even a large scale installation containing a series of wooden flumes that dispense beer.