Tag Archive | Collage

Modern Art Monday Presents: Todd Gray, Euclidean Gris Gris 2

Euclidean Gris Gris 2
Photo By Gail

Todd Gray’s work draws from his archive of photographs amassed during the past forty-five years of his career. Taken in locations from Hollywood to Ghana (where he maintains a studio),  these images have been selected by the artist to explore the complex interrelation of Blackness, diasporic identity, and historic systems of exploitation. For his ongoing series Exquisite Terribleness, begun in 2013, Gray collages photographs into a layered arrangements of thrift store frames, creating compositions of fragmented bodies. Many of the individual photographs that Gray uses for his collages were shot following his own creative visions; others, such as in Euclidean Gris Gris 2 (2018) were commissioned, including many he took as Michael Jackson’s personal photographer in the 1970s and early 1980s. Jackson is significant here for Gray not as a celebrity or figure of controversy, but as a global phenomenon whose almost mythic status serves to frame the complex issues explored in Gray’s work. Michael Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in 1983 and then tried and acquitted for the crime in 2005. New allegations surfaced in a documentary released on HBO in early 2019.

Photographed as Part of The 2019 Biennial Exhibit at The Whitney Museum, NYC

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Tom Wesselmann, Still Life Number 36

Still Life Number 36
Photo By Gail

The enormous sandwich and pack of cigarettes in Still Life Number 36 (1964) reflect Tom Wesselmann’s nonhierarchical approach to subject matter and technique. He believed that anything could be art, including the ordinary consumer items that fill our pockets and kitchen cabinets. In 1962, Wesselmann began a series of large-scale still lifes that incorporated fragments of discarded commercial billboards, which he initially scavenged from trash cans but later procured in new, pristine condition directly from advertising agencies. The larger-than-life proportions of the objects in Still Life Number 36 at first seem to celebrate the surfeit of commercial goods in America’s postwar consumer culture. Yet the layers of collage and painted areas bring together incongruent depictions of reality, creating tensions in the composition that Wesselmann described as “reverberation.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC

Erik Jones, Twenty Sixteen at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Erik Jones Split Heart
Death From Above: The End Is Nigh (All Photos By Gail)

After a leisurely, scenic walk on the High Line, Geoffrey and I showed up fashionably late at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery for the opening reception of Erik Jones‘ new exhibit of collage paintings, Twenty Sixteen, which is the name of the year that we are in right now! By the time we got there, the place was really packed. Scroll down to see a photo of the hot crowd action!

Where The Gods Go
Where The Gods Go

Erik Jones challenges viewers to see beauty in his chaotic, mixed-media works that merge nude subjects with nonrepresentational, abstract elements. Describing the human figures in his compositions as “aesthetic anchors,” they are the calming foreground upon which bursts of color, stenciled shapes and custom-made stickers create surreal landscapes. Using multiple mediums, such as watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, wax pastels and oil paint, Jones’ portraits are technically complex and express a heightened sense of realism.

The Forbidden Words
The Forbidden Words

The relationship between Jones’ subjects and the abstract motifs that engulf them can be interpreted as conceptual fashion design. His portraits are dressed in a stunning hurricane of color and geometric patterns, suiting the needs of the individual while also maintaining their own autonomous beauty.

The Nation
The Nation

Along with Jones’ hypnotic portraits, Twenty Sixteen features a selection of works where the human form is removed, creating purely abstract environments. Sporadically placed symbols, silhouettes and a unique coded alphabet created by the artist fosters a subjective narrative he refers to as dialogue aesthetics.

Welcome
Welcome

I really liked the ones with all the fun stickers, more than the nudes, because I am five.

Erik Jones

While this body of work may appear like a dreamlike universe, Jones does not view his paintings as depicting fantasy; they exist in front of the viewer, placed on canvases and paper with skill and thoughtful reverie, as if looking at a real living being.

Erik Jones Detail
Smiling Pineapple Detail

Twenty Sixteen reminded me of a cross between This Exhibit and This Other Exhibit, and you may understand why I would make that comparison, if you can be bothered to click on those two links; which is something I  never count on.

Erik Jones’ Twenty Sixteen will be on Exhibit Through April 30th  2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at  529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Gallery Crowd
Look at the Crowd!

The Big Rock
The Big Rock

David Bowie By Mr. Brainwash

Ziggy Collage
Photos By Gail

These two pieces of art featuring the likeness of the late, great David Bowie (it feels so weird to type that) were originally featured in This Post from last summer, but I decided to haul them out again for an encore. Because, clicks.

Bowie Broken Records

These portraits above were created from broken and carefully placed bits of vinyl LPs. See more photos at the link above!

Jonathan LeVine Gallery Presents Trifecta Group Show!

Sandra Chevrier Installation View
Art By Sandra Chevrier (All Photos By Gail)

Yesterday was one those perfect summer days here in Manhattan, so we went for a leisurely walk on the High Line, stopping in at a few of our favorite galleries, including Jonathan LeVine, where we enjoyed their current Trifecta Group Show. Trifecta showcases three international female artists — Handiedan, Mimi Scholz, and Sandra Chevrier — who are at the forefront of a contemporary art movement with art that reimagines representations of women. Through an array of media, these artists use the female figure as their subject and are strong voices for a new generation of artists. Curator Yasha Young offers, “This exhibition addresses the fact that art created by women has been historically dismissed as craft as opposed to fine art, affecting the development of women in art throughout history. I would like to open doors for women artists and encourage them to step out and up.”

Sandra Chevrier

The show fills all three galleries rooms, one dedicated to each artist. In the largest, main space you can see a collection of work by Montreal-based artist Sandra Chevrier, who merges painting and collage in works that reflect upon the self-imposed limitations within our world and the underlying tragedy of oppressed female identity. In her series Cages, finely hand-painted portraits of women are masked with pages from comic books, symbolizing the struggle of having to uphold unrealistic expectations of beauty and perfection.

Sandra Chevrier

By imposing these strict limitations society is placing women in prisons of identity and asking them to become superheroes. In the greater body of her work, the images used within ‘cages’ range from scenes of conflict, triumph and defeat. Often focusing on the latter, the artist highlights the fragility of the superhero, their personal weaknesses and exposes the humanity within the superhuman.

Mimi Sholz

Mimi Scholz is based in Berlin and creates digital paintings that sarcastically comment on clichés regarding the female psyche and sexuality.

Mimi Sholz

Starting with a detailed sketch and then using a tablet to add multiple layers of color, her compositions are printed on canvas and have an airbrushed quality that closely resembles oil painting.

Mimi Sholz

Known for her subject matter of “unpredictable women with attitude” and often accompanied by strange creatures, her works are set in a manically imagined world where the lines between good and evil, sane and insane are blurred. We really love her work and her Dark Pop sensibilities!

Handian

Dutch artist Handiedan pushes mixed-media collage to a higher level by digitally creating classic female pin-ups using ornamental components such as currencies, sheet music and her own cartoon drawings. Handiedan rebuilds these digital designs into multi-layered hand-cut collages that end up with a distinctive three-dimensional quality. Her pin-ups look like something between an orientally adorned femme fatale from a noir film, a sexually joyful pin-up from a 1950’s calendar and a tattooed rockabilly girl. Each work is a treasure trove of symbols, with a focus on cosmology, Eastern philosophy and sacred geometries.

Trifecta Group Exhibition, Featuring Art by Handiedan, Mimi Scholz, and Sandra Chevrier, will be on Exhibit Through July 25, 2015 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Fred Tomaselli, Big Stack

Big Stack
Photos By Gail

Fred Tomaselli (born 1956) is known for his unique hybrid paintings and collages, layering cutout elelments with passages of paint. Big Stack (2009 Photo Collage, Acrylic and Resin on Wood Panel)) is one of the tallest works that Tomaselli has created: its peak corresponds to the ceiling height of his former studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Composed of images of speakers and amplifiers, the Stack seems to extend indefinitely into the starry night sky. The work resembles a kind of cosmic radio tower — a source of communication, or perhaps miscommunication — and serves as a contemporary Tower of Babel.

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn NY.

Big Stack Detail
Detail

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, at the Brooklyn Museum

Basquiat Unknown Notebooks Signage
All Photos By Gail

During his career, Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) filled numerous notebooks with poetry fragments, wordplay, sketches, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history. The first major exhibition of these notebooks, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, features 160 pages of rarely seen documents, along with related works on paper and large-scale paintings.

Art

A self-taught artist with encyclopedic and cross-cultural interests, Basquiat was influenced by comics, advertising feather flags, children’s sketches, Pop art, hip-hop, politics, and everyday life. Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks emphasizes the distinct interplay of text and images in Basquiat’s art, providing unprecedented insight into the importance of writing in the artist’s process.

Antidote

The notebook pages on display contain early renderings of iconic imagery — tepees, crowns, skeleton-like figures, and grimacing faces — that also appear throughout his large-scale works, as well as an early drawing related to his series of works titled Famous Negro Athletes.

Famous Negro Athletes 1981
Famous Negro Athletes (1981)

Highlighting the contributions of African Americans and exposing the racism embedded in America culture were ongoing concerns for Basquiat. He developed the subject of “Famous Negro Athletes” early on, and continued to depict baseball players and boxers throughout his career; many of these works are generalized portraits, and some represent specific individuals. In the above drawing from 1981, four black faces, loosely sketched and grimacing with gritted teeth, appear above a baseball and the title text.

Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show!

All Beef Yellow
All Beef

The exhibit features two of these “sandwich board” paintings, where each side of the board reveals a slight modification on the theme.

All Beef White
All Beef

Famous 1

Famous (Above and Below)

Famous 2

Ideal

Untitled Crayon Drawings 1981
Untitled (Crayon Drawings, 1981)

Anti- Baseball Card Product
Anti-Baseball Card Product (1979)

Part of a series of collages alluding to commercial baseball trading cards, Anti-Baseball Card Product includes a photo-booth image of Basquiat and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Stein. A PEZ candy wrapper, cut up and and reconfigured, shows Basquiat’s early interest in inverting text and experimenting with language as a visual element.

Before becoming an active studio artist, Basquiat made small collages from from photographs, bar codes, advertisements, fingerprints, discarded packaging and other found materials. He photographed these collages and sold them as postcards on the streets of Lower Manhattan.

This exhibit is enthusiastically recommended for both Basquiat completists and neophytes alike!

Basquiat, The Unknown Notebooks will be on Exhibit Through August 23rd, 2015 at at the Brooklyn Museum, located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052. Take the 2 or 3 Train to Eastern Parkway/ Brooklyn Museum.