Tag Archives: found objects

Kenny Scharf, Inner and Outer Space at Deitch Projects

Kenny Scharf Face Painting
All Photos By Gail

Whether you’re seeing his colorful works out on the street, or in the gallery, Kenny Scharf has one of the most instantly recognizable styles in the contemporary art world. Deitch Projects downtown is currently hosting Inner and Outer Space, an ambitious exhibit of Scharf’s newest works which features several distinct collections that provide evidence of Scharf’s enthusiasm for expanding his oeuvre, while staying true to the playful characteristics of his work that his fans love the most. Continue reading Kenny Scharf, Inner and Outer Space at Deitch Projects

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

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.

Continue reading The Button Show at Rush Arts Gallery

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. Continue reading Souther Salazar’s Souvenirs at Jonathan LeVine Gallery