Tag Archive | Found Objects

Shawn Thornton’s Pareidolia at Cue Art Foundation

Shawn Thornton Painting
All Photos By Gail

The first time I was exposed to the minutely-detailed and unconventionally psychedelic paintings of Philadelphia-based artist Shawn Thornton, I thought I was looking at paintings of vibrantly colorful circuit boards. It’s an easy misconception to make, I suspect. Thornton’s canvases are dense with the intersecting lines of diagram-like designs and irregular grids, which often contain images of birds, animals, people, or even the artist himself. While he’s shown extensively at the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery and Stephen Romano Gallery here in NYC — and Thornton’s work was also featured in an episode of HBO’s High Maintenance (which, as an aside, is a fantastically entertaining show) — but his unique artworks have a chance to gain greater exposure in the solo exhibit, Pareidolia, which includes works produced in a variety of media between 1995 and 2017, up now at Cue Art Foundation.

Shawn Thornton Painting

Since I have previously seen and written about an exhibit by artist Tahiti Pehrson which was also called Pareidolia, I know that the exhibit’s title refers to a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists. This is a very appropriate title for Thornton’s body of work, and especially this expanded collection, which showcases not only paintings but also includes found-object sculptures and video installations.

Toy and Found Object Sculpture

There are two large assemblage sculptures in Pareidolia which remind me very much of the work of artist Matthew Dutton, whose art is always so enigmatic and captivating; like something you’d see in a fever dream. I love that Thornton can transform a combination of vintage toys, furniture and ordinary household items, like a carousel clothespin hanger, into a fantasy device that appears to have some kind of practical function or purpose.

Toy Sculpture Detail
Detail from Above Sculpture

Elephant and Giraffe Installation View

This altar-like tableau, starring a whimsical plastic Elephant and Giraffe stuffed with tiny lights, also features antlers, tree branches, bells, padlocks, vinyl LP discs, and tiny living plants.

Elephant Close Up

Really great.

Mandolin and Painting

Serpents Egg in the Seat Of Consciousness
Serpents Egg in the Seat Of Consciousness

Many of the paintings, such as this one, feature self-portraits of Thornton hidden in the midst of other images. It turns out that Thornton’s own experiences with Pareidolia, which is evident in his hallucinatory artworks, was triggered by an undiagnosed brain tumor in his pineal gland, which he lived with for over a decade.

Installation View

The above collection of small-scale paintings directly reference the artist’s experience with surgery to remove the tumor.

Green Flame Hypnosis
Green Flame Hypnosis

It is not a coincidence that these paintings resemble maps of Thornton’s psyche.

A Fracture in the Golden Mean
A Fracture in the Golden Mean

Paintings like these can take Thornton over a year to complete, and there are no accidental brush strokes.

Lobotomy of the Ghost Mechanics - Scarab Timetable
Lobotomy of the Ghost Mechanics – Scarab Timetable

Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)
Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)

Thornton worked on the above canvas from 2010 to 2103.

Detail from Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)

Take a look at the detail from just a couple of square inches of this painting! Unbelievable!

Shawm Thorntown Signage

Come and discover the world of Shawn Thornton now at Cue Art Foundation before the show closes!

Shaun Thornton’s Pareidolia will be on Exhibit Through May 24th, 2017 at Cue Art Foundation, Located at 137 West 25th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) in NYC.

Black Pyramid Meditation
Black Pyramid Meditation

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The Button Show at Rush Arts Gallery

Installation View
All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

I have to thank my friend Andrew for turning me on to The Button Show; a super fun exhibit that’s up now at Rush  Arts Gallery. Curated by Peter “Souleo” Wright, The Button Show features sculptures and other artworks created using regular clothing buttons, incorporated with other found objects, to create unique art that is delightful to behold.

IMG_5137
Io Palmer, Buttoned Up Cloud

On display are the works of 11 artists who each work with buttons either as the dominant medium or a featured element in their sculpture, photography and wearable artworks. Participating artists include veteran Button Artists Amalia K. Amaki, Beau McCall and Lisa Kokin.

Lisa Kokin Sleep
Lisa Kokin, Sleep

Lisa Kolin uses buttons, chicken wire, thread and spray paint to create sculptures that obliterate the surface of otherwise easily recognizable objects.

Lisa Kokin, Rescue
Lisa Kokin, Rescue

Clown Head
Lisa Kokin, Party Hat Diabolique

I think this is my favorite piece by her. It’s easy to see some of the other tiny objects — 45 RPM records, doll parts, toys, belt buckles, tiny souvenir license plates, clock faces — that are part of these very fun artworks.

Lisa Kokin, Piecework

This one, called Piecework, actually takes on more shape when seen from a distance.

Detail From Lady
Detail From Piecework

Curator Souleo offers, “I am proud to help highlight the medium of clothing buttons in visual art. Clothing buttons occupy a familiar but seemingly insignificant presence in our lives. Each artist forces us to reimagine this everyday object as a viable tool for communication and self-expression through visual art. In these works, buttons become signifiers of issues of class, politics, race, beauty and personal narratives in ways that are visually stimulating and highly engaging.”

Camilla Taylor, They’ve Already Left
Camilla Taylor, They’ve Already Left

These spider-like sculptures, covered with iridescent black buttons, remind me very much of the work of Louise Bourgeois.

Beau McCall, World Spinnin’ on a 45
Beau McCall, World Spinnin’ on a 45

When I look at this oversize Record Adapter, I wonder how many people under 20 even know what this is, or what it was used for. Nostalgia!

World Spinnin Detail
World Spinnin Detail

Red Bath Tub

This gorgeous Red Bathtub is called Dark Musk Oil Egyptian Crystals & Florida Water/ Red Potion no.1 (but in all lower case letters, and no spaces between the words), and it is by Beau McCall. Created from Buttons, fabric, and thread over a cast iron tub, this is the show stopper.

Red Bathtub

Bathtub Interior Detail

So beautiful.

Kool Aid Man
Domino Kool (Hood Classic I)

Beau McCall also created this stunning representation of a Pitcher of Kool-Aid Dink Mix being poured into a glass.

Kool-Aid Pour Detail

I love how he uses clear buttons to represent the ice.

Button Desk
Tablet Arm Desk

ABCDEFU

The Message: ABCDEFU. Yes.

The Button Show will be on Exhibit Through March 12th, 2016 at Rush Arts Gallery, Located at 526 West 26th Street, Suite 311, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Button Show Signage

Modern Art Monday Presents: Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player]

Record Player Full View
Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player], (1962); Record Player with Found Objects and Collage (All Photos by Gail)

When Robert Smithson died in a plane crash in 1973, his fame as an artist was based on his creation of monumental earthworks such as Spiral Jetty, or minimalist sculptures using both Mirrored and regular, plate Glass.

But the James Cohan Gallery (in their brand new space in Chinatown) just hosted its inaugural exhibit, Robert Smithson: Pop, which featured a collection of the artist’s work from the early 1960s — including fluorescent-colored pencil sketches of both male and female nudes, collages, and found object sculptures — all of which were completely unlike anything the average Smithson fan would have been familiar with. You can read more about the exhibit and see photos in this great article over at Hyperallergic.

Record Player Side View

I went to see Pop just few days before it closed and while I loved the exhibit, there was one piece that resonated particularly strongly with my aesthetic sensibilities. In the rear room of the gallery, along with a  few drawings, there was a small portable Record Player inside a display vitrine. The box for the record player is covered in collaged pictures of men and women, tabloid headlines, and plastic trinkets and fake flowers.

Record Player Lid
Collage on Outside Lid of Record Player

Record Player top Side View

Inside, the box has been filled with twigs and dried grass, which make a nest for a small, blue bird.

Record Player Turn Table Detail

The turn table has been transformed into a hot pink pond, filled with tiny toys including neon swans, sail boats, and little plastic babies that float about on their backs across the pink surface. It is so cool and completely visually captivating; it’s hard to believe that Smithson’s early work of Pop Art is over 50 years old now! I never would have imagined, from the works of his that I  already knew so well, that  Robert Smithson had a body of work like this in his portfolio. I’m glad I was able to see and photograph it before the exhibit closed in mid-January.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Robert Smithson: Pop at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 291 Grand Street in Chinatown, NYC.

Record Player Alternate View

Souther Salazar’s Souvenirs at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

JLG Souther Salazar Souvenirs
All Photos By Gail

I’m a little bit late to the party writing about this very cool exhibit, due to being busy doing other equally cool things. That said, you have until June 15th to make it to the Jonathan LeVine Gallery to see the Souvenirs solo exhibit from Portland-based artist Souther Salazar.

Souvenirs includes a series of new paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations, and it is very fun and totally family friendly. His art reminds me a bit of artist Jim Houser, whose work I also saw at LeVine very recently; in May of this year.

JLG Salazar Painting

Here’s a little bit of backstory on the inspiration for Souvenirs:

Works in Souvenirs were inspired by The Trading Tortoise, Salazar’s recent collaboration with his wife, Monica Choy. In 2012, the pair created an interactive art installation in the form of a tortoise-shaped trading post, which they took on tour, bartering unique objects and stories at locations in over 30 different cities across the country.

JLG Salazar Tent

During their travels, the artists explored America, exchanging tiny treasures and sharing adventures along the way. This unique community-oriented experience, which connected a diverse group of people through a network of trades, is documented on Trading Tortoise Dot Com.

During Trading Tortoise, Salazar explored the connection between personal memories and collected objects, items that serve as tangible reminders of places, people and events. Organizing his memories of the project into imaginary collections, Salazar created artworks to represent his own visual souvenirs, referencing some of the experiences.

JLG Salazar Truck Drawings

Drawings of trucks, gas pumps and power lines take on anthropomorphic qualities while a series of small sculptures constructed from found objects are presented in curio-like shadow boxes—one contains a series of miniature water towers in varying shapes and sizes, and the other features a group of figures representing some of the people Salazar met, the things they traded and their relationships to those objects.

JLG Salazar Cabinet Close Up 2
Tiny Water Towers Made from Found Objects

JLG Salazar Cabinet Close Up

Souvenirs By Souther Salazar will be on Exhibit Only through June 15th, 2013 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

JLG Salazar Cabinet 1

Street Sign Face Sculpture by Rae

Face Sculpture on No Parking Sign By Rae
Street Art By Rae, Photo By Gail

This cool face sculpture comprised of found objects was spotted attached to a No Parking Sign on West 20th Street across from the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. This fun sculpture is the work of artist Rae from Brooklyn. See more of Rae’s art and read a few interviews with him by Googling “Street Artist Rae Brooklyn.”

Street Sign Face Sculpture By Rae

Secret Universe by Aelita Andre at NYC’s Agora Gallery

Aelita Andre Pointing to Paintings
Aelita Andre Admires her Work at the Agora Gallery On Saturday June 16th (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge)

It was almost exactly one year ago that The Worley Gig was first introduced to the engaging painting style of art prodigy Aelita Andre via her 2011 solo exhibit, Prodigy of Color. Aelita, now five years old, has a new show at Agora Gallery and we were on hand last night for the opening reception of the current Andre collection called Secret Universe.

Island of Fairies By Aelita Andre
“Island of Fairies”

It sounds hilarious to observe that the artwork of a five year old has “visibly matured” since last year, but that is definitely the case with Secret Universe. Andre has maintained her signature abstract style, which involves dripping and pouring paint of various colors onto a canvas and then embellishing it with the adhesion of random found objects including toys, dolls, odd bits of plastic and metal, and lots of glitter! While these pieces are instantly recognizable as Andre’s work (and for those skeptics, a video of Aelita in the process of creating many paintings 100%-on-her-own plays on a continuous loop in the gallery) this collection includes several multi-panel works that further demonstrate Andre’s ability to extend her vision. Overall, her new work also has a more dynamic feel, for lack of a better way to describe it, and the individual works have sharper points of contrast within them.

Floating Rainbow Man By Aelita Andre
“Floating Rainbow Man”

Paleontologists Footprint By Aelita Andre
“Paleontologist’s Footprint Dinosaurs Nesting Grounds”

Photos don’t fully capture the brightness of the colors on these canvases, which is another reason that your enjoyment of Aelita Andre’s work will be so fully heightened by experiencing this show in person, if you are intrigued at all. It will be interesting to see how her painting style develops as she gets older and to see whether she will become less abstract in her representation while maintaining her surrealist style. There is no doubt that Aelita Andre is an authentic and exciting talent to keep an eye on. She’s also a really cute kid who was running around the gallery at Saturday’s opening like, well, a typical happy 5 year old. Her sprit is definitley captured in her work.

String City By Aelita Andre
“String City”

It’s also worth noting that while we fully expected to see Andre’s work selling for the tens of thousands of dollars, pieces are mostly in the $4800 – $6,000 range, with only two very large multi-panel works selling for close to $13,000. Certainly an affordable price range, though your mileage may vary. See more photos from the show at According2g.com. Read Agora Gallery’s Blog Post about Aelita at This Link.

Dinosaur Planet By Aelita Andre Detail
“Dinosaur Planet” (Detail)

Secret Universe By Aelita Andre is on Exhibit through July 3rd, 2012 only, so don’t waste any time planning your visit. The Agora Gallery is Located at 530 West 25th Street (West of 10th Avenue), 2nd Floor, NYC. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM.

Agora Gallery Sign For Aelita Andre Opening

Joshua Liner Gallery Presents Triumph By Kris Kuksi

Kris Kuksi Surrender of Helios
The Surrender of Helios By Kris Kuksi (Mixed Media Assemblage)

If you enjoy visual works of art that explore rich worlds of myth and fantasy, while offering endless potential for imaginative extrapolation on the part of the viewer, you’ll flip over the work of Kansas-based artist Kris Kuksi. Very accurately described as containing a “stunning excess of detail,” Kuksi painstakingly assembles his gothic-renaissance-steam punk-esque sculptures from countless layers of found objects ranging from statues and figurines, skulls, taxidermied animals, altar pieces, dolls, jewelry, miniature army men and even the lower half of a tank – all treated with misted coats of grey/white paint that give each piece the look and feel of an unearthed ancient treasure. In this way, Kris Kuksi creates miniature worlds that you can easily get lost in. Of course, the foundation for each of Kuksi’s works is his vast and wildly engaging imagination. Trust me that the “Oh Wow” factor is off the charts for Triumph, an exhibit comprised of a dozen of Kuksi’s assemblages, one large scale painting and an installation of the artist’s Churchtank sculpture series, which is given the run of the Liner Gallery’s rear room. Triumph is lots of fun and a must-see exhibit. Find out more on the art of Kris Kuksi at his website Kuksi Dot Com.

Kris Kuksi’s Triumph will be on Exhibit through April 7, 2012 at the Joshua Liner Gallery, 548 West 28th Street, 3rd Floor, Chelsea.

See more Photos of Triumph from the March 15th Opening at This Link!