This handsome likeness of Lord Darth Vader is proudly displayed alongside a Tie Fighter and the back end of a Tauntaun in this photo that I snapped at the Museum of the Moving Image on a recent visit. Note that Vader is not merely an action figure in this case, but an official doll, suitable for cavorting with Barbie should she grow bored with Ken and wish to make a move to the Dark Side.
This mesmerizing kinetic art sculpture by Italian Artist Walter Rossi can be observed from the first floor front window of the Agora Gallery, located at 530 West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Since 2000, Rossi has been working in kinetic art. He animates action toys and other found items by using a magnetic motor. The results are like theatrical presentations; often very funny and profound at the same time. I could watch them fly around all day long!
For his mixed media assemblage, Koh-i-Noor (2005) Hew Locke (Scottish, born 1959) arranged thousands of cheap plastic toys and trinkets — disposable products of the new global economy — into one edition of a series of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II (entitled the House of Windsor Series), one of which was among the most extraordinary works in the Museum’s exhibition, Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art (2007). Locke, born in Scotland but raised in Guyana, created these works in response to ethnic tensions within contemporary British society, often growing out of Great Britain’s colonial history, with that history now brought home to Britain.
The title of this Silver work from the portrait series refers to the Koh-i-Noor (“Mountain of Light”) diamond, once the largest in the world. Mined several thousand years ago, this uncut Indian treasure passed through the hands of many regional rulers and was likely cut during the seventeenth century, before ultimately being seized by Britain in 1849 in the name of Queen Victoria. The series also includes a Golden sculpture entitled El Dorado, and a Black edition entitled Black Queen.
I stumbled on the listing for Melodie Provenzano’s Stealth Peace exhibit (on now at Nancy Margolis Gallery) when I was looking for cool shows to add to last week’s art crawl, and was immediately attracted to her painting of the above image: a giant colorful bow. I love hyper-realism and the more I looked at the online preview, the more I knew this would be a must-see exhibit. I was not mistaken.
Stealth Peace, Provenzano’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, features a new series of highly detailed paintings of single objects and still lifes, all based on objects — toys, glassware, figurines, bows — the artist has collected herself. It is really quite charming and compelling, and I would recommend it especially for fans of Jeff Koons’ Banality series.
Melodie offers that her collections, “is a well of inspiration that I rely upon when composing the still lifes that I draw and paint from direct observation. The artworks are like a catalog of dreams with layers of meaning open to interpretation.”
She continues, “One may find impressions, reflections and sensations as various as the objects in them. The meanings are revealed through visual metaphors of the experiences that we share as human beings, dependent as much upon where the viewer is coming from as where I have been.”
Provenzano works on one painting at a time, making it her world until it’s completion, and her attention to detail in each work is just insane.
She even paints the shadows!
Paintings such as Heaven and Hell have a specific theme in contrast to Champbaby! (above), a straightforward, playful spin on the common found object – a full champagne glass spilling out miniature toy baby figurines.
In addition to her still life compositions, Provenzano paints singular objects, notably, the two largest paintings in the exhibition, Color Bow and Reign Bow, each 54” x 72”. Enlarged way beyond their normal size these otherwise mundane objects are imbued with a gorgeous powerful presence.
Nostalgia, memory, loss, a bygone era, these are the underlying themes of Provenzano‘s work. Bringing together her passion for collecting found objects, which eventually become the subject of her paintings, we see this melding into her art practice alongside a thoughtful searching with-in.
Melodie Provenzano’s Stealth Peace will be on Exhibit Through June 27th, 2015 at Nancy Margolis Gallery, Located at 523 W 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Takochu are little plastic/acrylic Octopus toys manufactured by the Japanese company Pine. They stack on top of each other and are incredibly cute. A little bit of research on the Google indicates that they’ve been around for about four years and no longer appear to be readily available to purchase expect on eBay.
In anticipation of rampant Easter-inspired Sugar Worship, Peep Domination has taken over FAO Schwartz’ Flagship Toy Store on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street.
Whether you crave the marshmallow treat or a plush Peep-shaped toy to cuddle. FAO Schwartz has got you covered.
Giant, violet-colored Chick Peep (Peep Chick?) Totems stand guard over a mixed display of multicolored Plush Peeps and Candy Peeps. Peep Mania!
It’s a Peeporama, people.
If you pay attention to global pop culture, then you’ve probably heard of the Japanese Harajuku style and Kawaii (Cuteness) culture, where the adorable has an undercurrent of rebellious edge. For just a short time you can immerse yourself in a kind of Cuteness Overload at Tokyo-based Artist and Fashion Designer Sebastian Masuda’s Colorful Rebellion (Seventh Nightmare) installation, through March 29th only at Kianga Ellis Projects. Geoffrey and I paid the space a visit yesterday and it was positively disorienting.
According to the Artist’s statement, Masuda has, “created this work as if I was writing my own autobiography.” The small room (about 150 SF), covered on all sides with the collage of multicolored material speaks to his different reflections on “the various mortal sins I have committed, or to which I have fallen prey, through my life thus far.”
The only props in the room besides the wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling ocean of multicolored brick-a-brack is a twin size bed, which evokes the feeling that you are entering child’s fantasy bedroom.
Since the space is so small, it gets crowded with, say, more that five people in the gallery at one time, especially of you are trying to get photos that show a good section of the space. But fortunately, people were being very courteous about waiting out in the hall of it got too crowded, since many visitors (including several Asian girls dressed in their full-0n Harajuku Babydoll Lolita fashions) wanted to get their photos taken against the colorful backgrounds. And who could blame them?
You probably won’t see another exhibit quite like this again in your life, so if this seems like your thing, don’t waste any time in checking it out.
Sebastian Masuda’s Colorful Rebellion is on Exhibit only through through March 29th at Kianga Ellis Projects, Located at 516 West 25th Street, Studio 306B (when you get to the Third Floor Landing, walk through the door marked “3” and the exhibit is down the hall on the right) in the Chelsea Gallery District. Hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.