In this barren musical wasteland of conveyor-belt acts that is all but completely devoid of anything even resembling Rock ‘n’ Roll, I’ve become so uninterested in what the pop charts have to offer that I never even considered the wildly nostalgic potential pull of a band that is willing to revisit the grunge rock era. And then I heard this week’s video clip, which is “Company Man” from New Jersey power-rock trio, Cyclone Static. And this was a reminder to me to never, ever underestimate the pure joy that comes from music that does not sound like it came from a can. Cyclone Static are not magical Wizards. They are not from Outer Space. They are simply three guys who love music, and it shows.
Cyclone Static manage to make it look easy as they harness the grunge rock power of both Alice in Chains, owing to vocalist/guitarist James Salerno’s ability to channel the late, great Layne Staley, andNirvana. “Company Man” shows off this band’s melodic-punk prowess in a song armed with sharp power-pop hooks galore, anchored by Salerno’s buzzsaw guitar, bassist Danny Patierno fiercely holding down the bottom end, and hard-hitting drummer Jonathan LeVine who is, as they say, ‘in the pocket’ at all times. Rock Lives!
Visually, “Company Man” delivers vibrant, clip-art based animation informed by today’s street art sensibitlies with a deep bow to surrealism and comic book art. Perhaps LeVine’s background as a respected NYC Gallerist had something to do with that. “Company Man” can be found on Cyclone Static’s upcoming debut album, From Scratch, due out on February 8th, 2019 via 400 Mint Records. You can order your copy now at This Link! Enjoy!
Hey what’s up. I’ve got some good news for all of my artist friends out there who wish they could catch a break when it comes to finding exposure for their art, or the elusive gallery representation. Our very favorite art gallery, Jonathan LeVine Projects (now located in beautiful downtown Jersey City) has issued an Open Call to Artists! It is pretty sweet.
It is no secret that LeVine has been the go-to destination for the very best in contemporary Pop and Street Art for over a decade. If you’ve ever thought that your art would be a perfect fit for the gallery, now’s your chance to get in on the action. Jonathan LeVine is looking for the world’s next great artist and wants to see if you have what it takes. The gallery’s first (of what will become an annual) art competition is now open to artists ages 18 and older, and from all backgrounds and levels of experience. Whip out your portfolios and show off your best stuff!
To submit your work, you’ll have to visit This Link. Artworks will only be considered if they are submitted via this platform.
Here are the major guidelines:
There is an Entry Fee of $45 for 3 submissions ($10 for each additional submission)
The following must be included with each submission:
1 image for two dimensional works and 2 images for 3 dimensional works
Work details (title, year, medium, dimensions, price). There is a size limit of 6 x 6 feet for Paintings and 6 x 4 feet for Sculptures.
More information is available at the link above. Once the deadline has passed and all artworks are received, a selection of submissions will be chosen for exhibition in Delusional, a group show highlighting the finalists. Delusional, will open on August 9th, 2017.
Jonathan LeVine will personally choose first, second and third place winners and award the following prizes:
1st Place – Solo Exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Projects
2nd Place – Participation in a group show at Jonathan LeVine Projects
3rd Place – A week of promotion via Jonathan LeVine Projects website and social media platforms
The Submission Deadline is July 5th, 2017, so get to work! Good luck to all!
Night Grove By Aron Wiesenfeld (All Photos By Gail)
The most rewarding art viewing experiences are those that present a simple visual that provokes so many narrative possibilities that it encourages the breadth of imaginative extrapolation generally considered to be accessible only through the most wildly imaginative novels. That’s the experience I had while perusing Unwind the Winding Path, a series of new works by California-based artist Aron Wiesenfeld, up now at Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
Looking at this series of seemingly mundane, yet subtly disquieting images — a girl standing on the edge of a forest, two people in a canoe, a picnic — I kept thinking, is it really just about what I’m seeing on the canvas, or is there something just below the surface that I should be paying attention to?
In this way, the paintings in Unwind the Winding Path (the exhibit’s title comes directly from the poem Byzantium by W.B. Yeats) reminded me of illustrations inspired by a collection of short ghost / horror stories that I read when I was a teenager, called Lonesome Places by August Derleth. Specifically, they gave me an uneasy feeling I associate with one story in particular, The Lonesome Place, which gives the collection its title. That tale is about two little boys who have such vivid imaginations with regard to a desolate area which they consider to be haunted, that they literally conjure a living monster from their fears alone. And when you think about it, isn’t the most visceral horror about what goes on in our minds? Whether or not this is Wiesenfeld’s intention, he is on to something that is both deeply unsettling and attractive simultaneously.
A painting entitled Bunker appeared to creep out the majority of fans attending the opening reception. In Bunker, we see a young woman or girl, barelegged and wearing a summer dress despite the implied chill of grey skies, laying back stoically in tall grass adjacent to what looks like an overgrown Bunker structure. Is she dead? Has her body been dumped there? Or is she just resting? What exactly is going on in this picture? I like that there is no clear answer.
The Off Season
Aron Wiesenfeld was present at the opening, and I made a point to introduce myself and engage him in a conversation about his amazing art and its mysterious allure. I asked him about the painting above, Daughter, and he said that the woman is “growing out of the forest.” I like it. Aron was super nice and so was his wife. I told him about The Lonesome Place, and I am sure he has forgotten about it, but if he reads this post, maybe he will look it up.
Artist Martin Wittfooth Chats with Gallery Owner Jonathan LeVine at the Opening Reception
Aron Wiesenfeld’s Unwind the Winding Path will be on Exhibit Through December 17th, 2016, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
If you are intrigued and delighted by the idea of perusing an exhibition made up of hyper-realist sculptures depicting Humans with Animal Heads, then you will love Italian artist Alessandro Gallo’s latest body of work, For Some Reason (the follow up to his 2014 show, Strani Incontri) up now at Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
A Parakeet Practices Her Eagle Pose
If these petite ceramic figures cause you to do a double take, it might be because Gallo bases each of his hybrid characters on real life models, and his attention to detail is meticulous.
Gallery Owner Jonathan LeVine Poses with I Don’t Want to Grow Up, a Horny Toad-Headed Sculpture Based on his Likeness
Easily the most popular piece in the show is this miniature glass Elevator, crowded with various breeds of anthropomorphic birds, along with a Buffalo, a Cat and a Deer, all eager to get to the their destination floor. Elevator is a private client commission that was loaned to the gallery for this exhibit. It is pretty sweet.
In Natura Morta, an artist with a bird head sketches on the floor of his studio. An animal skull model sits in the foreground.
Except for one figure flaunting an exposed, uncircumcised peen, the exhibit it totally family-friendly! Bring the kids but don’t expect to find an big bird cages, all these creatures are free range.
Even a Duck Woman can’t resit making the Duck Face!
Here I am, photo-bombing her.
Artist, Alessandro Gallo (Spy Pic)!
A Pink Track Suited Cockatiel checks her Instagram feed in Whatever. Why does she carry so many handbags? It’s a mystery.
Social Activist Locust Swarm
Jesse The Veteran
Ram Tough, as they say.
Alessandro Gallo’s For Some Reason will be on Exhibit Through December 17th, 2016, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, In the Chelsea Gallery District.
Corner Pocket By Masakatsu Sashie (All Photos By Gail)
Jonathan LeVine Gallery is currently hosting External Effect, a series of new works by Japanese artist Masakatsu Sashie. This is Sashie’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, and I somehow neglected to write about his first show, so I didn’t want to fail twice at sharing a series of artworks that is really special.
In a body if work that will surely appeal to fans of dystopian sci-fi. Sashie’s hyperreal 0il paintings and sketches depict a post-apocalyptic world, or series of worlds. The bleak visions of a future that is also trapped in the past analyze the influence of technology on the circle of life. The level of detail in these paintings is extraordinary.
Modeled after Kanazawa, the town he was born and continues to reside in, Sashie’s landscapes resemble landfills – capsized by burning vehicles, antiquated technology and an overwhelming amount of man-made debris. Massive orb-shaped amalgams of industrially manufactured products are the focal point of every piece, hovering over desolate cityscapes, drawing attention to the paradox of the vastness of the universe yet the finite amount of space mankind has to exist.
Kanazawa is a small city in Japan that the artist describes as a miniature garden in which the obsolete and contemporary are fused due to its distance from an urban center.
Zero Sum (1 of 2)
Zero Sum (Detail)
Growing up within this isolation nurtured Sashie’s fascination with the notion of “the balanced aquarium,” a concept described by Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz in his book King Solomon’s Ring: New Light on Animal Ways (1949).
Corner Pocket (Detail)
Lorenz describes an aquarium as a self-sustaining environment depending solely on the natural interactions between plants and other living organisms for survival. Once outside involvement occurs, balance is lost and disintegration immediately begins.
The artist considers Lorenz’s biological phenomenon as the epitome of the world we live in; struggling to maintain stability among the complexities and demands of modern living. Revolving around themes of consumerism, globalism and environmentalism, Masakatsu Sashie’s self-contained environments are an archive of the past and a prediction of our future.
Masakatsu Sashie’s External Effect will be on Exhibit Through November 12th, 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 East 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Left: Melt Into The Air Cool, Tight: Melt Into The Air Hot
Jonathan LeVine Gallery is currently hosting Invisible World, a series of new works by Detroit-based artist Glenn Barr. Althoug his work has appeared previously in group shows, this is Barr’s debut solo exhibition at the gallery. It was worth waiting for.
Left: Eye Witness, Right: Hunger Cabin
In compositions on paper and wood Barr gives life to surreal creatures, specters and lonesome characters that live in a stark world, drenched in the grit and haze of a post-apocalyptic urban dreamscape. Drawing inspiration from pop and counterculture sources, such as pulp art and cartoons, he presents alternate yet interconnected realities that invite viewers to examine otherworldly narratives.
For Invisible World, Barr presents a universe of private intrigue where pink-haired waifs and haunted astronauts are suited up for the unknown.
Left: Ransom, Right: Monday Remembered
He also brings us back to earth and into private moments where anti-heroines are trapped in telephone conversations filled with either rage, horror or quiet despair.
The artist elaborates, “Fiction; written on the page or visualized on celluloid, there has always been a narrative that exists parallel to our own. A counter culture. An invisible world. In keeping with this aesthetic, I’m exploiting voyeuristically a vision of life’s emotionally charged moments or its banality. I want to illuminate the problematic cracks in the human condition reflected in fringe urban settings or even in outer space.
Left: The Spell, Right: Wrecked
“These paintings to me have a subtle emotional punch that reference the lonely solitude of life’s cruel existence and yet their plots seem unknown and open ended. But no matter what the underlying cryptic woes, I will sometimes just revel in the simple beauty and emotion of the human face.”
Glenn Barr’s Invisible World will be on Exhibit Through November 12th, 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 East 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
The Magic Message By Jeff Soto (All Photos By Gail)
Can you believe it’s been four years since Jeff Soto’sprevious exhibit at Jonathan Levine Gallery? You know who reminded me of that fact? Jeff Soto! So crazy! I had engaged Jeff at the reception for The Sotofish Society, which opened September 10th, to say Hey and tell him how much I loved his Oreo Cookie Subway Ad (praise which he graciously received), and comment on my excitement that he has continued to incorporate favorite identifying motifs from Decay and Overgrowth in this new body of work, and he was like, “That was four years ago.” Point: it seemed much more recent to me. Anyway, Jeff is a super nice guy who will take the time to have a personal conversation with fans at his shows, and his wife Jennifer is also very nice. Jeff Soto!
This new exhibit, The Sotofish Society does, in fact, include paintings and drawings that reinterpret elements of Soto’s work. Viewing the series as a rebirth, the artist continues to transplant viewers to an alternate universe, while going back to his roots and evolving iconic characters, such as yetis, reapers, robots and the Sotofish. As Jeff explains, “I always feel like an artist’s entire body of work should be fair game to use. My cast of characters and the worlds I create are The Sotofish Society.”
Beware Beautiful Night
Soto depicts friendly creatures and personifications of earth’s forces that thrive in a dystopian environment plagued by the complexities of modern living. These otherworldly creatures roam the surreal landscape and are surrounded by overgrown greenery, deteriorating technology and overall societal decay. However, Soto’s use of vibrant colors and organic shapes evoke a sense of hope and effort to revitalize, communicating themes of family, nature, life, and death.
For this exhibition the artist focused on creating work based on instinct and emotion, resulting in dynamic paintings with many layers, silhouettes and design elements.
Along with acrylic compositions on wood and paper, The Sotofish Society includes a selection of watercolors, which are rarely exhibited, as well as limited edition relief prints. By merging a refined selection of graffiti and mixed media techniques, Jeff Soto continues to bridge the gap between street art and pop surrealism.
Jeff Soto’s The Sotofish Society will be on Exhibit Through October 8th, 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located 529 West 20th Street, 9th Flor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Jonathan LeVine Gallery’s Summer Group Show, Cluster, features work by established artists who have previously shown at the gallery, alongside emerging talent making their JLG debut. Each has been allocated space to display clusters of work, a concept that can be approached in many unique ways, and which grants each artist the opportunity to show the full range of their aesthetic.
Art by Ron English
While some have chosen to display groupings of work that are similar or create one large piece surrounded by smaller works, others interpreted the idea of “cluster” and used it as source of inspiration.
Art By Gary Taxali
Similar to an art fair, in which pieces of varying mediums and styles are shown beside each other, Cluster includes sculptures, drawings and paintings by fifteen artists who might not typically be exhibited together, including Amandine Urruty, Anton Vill, Ben Tolman, Charlie Immer, Drew Leshko, Dylan Egon, Gary Mellon, Gary Taxali, Luke O’Sullivan, Marco Mazzoni, Nicomi Nix Turner, Ron English, Sam Gibbons, Smithe One, Tran Nguyen and Troy Coulterman. Let’s check out more photos from the opening reception!
Art By Luke O’Sullivan
Luke O’Sullivan Sculpture Detail
Art By Nikomi Nix Turner
The Brotherhood By Nikomi Nix Turner
Spongebob Grin by Ron English
Snake By Amandine Urruty
The complex, surrealist drawings of Amandine Urruty are new to me. I really love the retro-creepiness of her style.
Dissection of Spock, 2016, By Nychos (All Photos By Gail)
The Vienna, Austria-based artist known as Nychos has many admirable qualities: mad talent, an appreciation for his fans, and an uncanny resemblance to Mexican actor / heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal. It was certainly a pleasure to meet him, look at his fun art and gaze into his face at the reception for his new series of deconstructed Pop Art portraits, IKONS — which opened at Jonathan LeVine over Pride Weekend.
Left: Dissection of Marilyn, Right: Dissection of Tweety
For IKONS, Nychos chose well-known subjects that include cartoon characters, Superheroes, and celebrities, both living and dead, whose likenesses have become ubiquitous. Looking for a new way to approach portraiture, the artists then “reveals” his subjects in a brutal and clinically precise fashion: dissecting the face, and sometimes the entire body, and layering the parts in a grotesquely cartoonish array. The results are absolutely captivating and ripe with dark humor.
Dissection of Spiderman
I love the graceful sense of motion that you see in the above rendering of Spiderman.
In the case of Barbie, and the Staypuft Marshmallow Man (below), the character’s inner workings are revealed as the flesh melts away as if they had been dipped in an acid bath.
Dissection of Lemmy
This one of Lemmy is really great. Geoffrey kept saying how much Nychos‘ work reminded him of Alex Grey, which I can also see on a very basic level, though not enough to assume he is an influence.
Nychos Signs for a Fan at Saturday’s Reception
Dissection of Supermario
Nychos has also contributed a mural to this years’ edition of the Coney Art Walls on Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn, adjacent to Luna Park. We are looking forward to checking that out!
IKON By Nychos will be on Exhibit Through July 23rd, 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Alfred Hitchcock Is a Bird, by Mike Leavitt (All Photos By Gail)
You loved his homage to the contemporary art world in Art Army Royalty; you thrilled to his Star Wars character mashups with Empire Peaks; and now, Mike Leavitt returns for his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine, King Cuts – honoring the artist’s obsession with 16 of the Best Film Directors Ever! And what great show it is!
Orson Welles with Key Props from Citizen Kane and A Touch of Evil
Great film directors make sacrifices and compromises when creating a movie. They’re eaten by their work and very often their body succumbs to the pressure. In King Cuts, Leavitt transforms some of the most renowned directors into satirical sculptures, combining their physical attributes with features reminiscent of their most recognizable on-screen characters. Standing 18 inches tall at one quarter inch scale, each sculpture is carved from a single block of wood, similar to the way these auteurs might cut a take or reel.
Francis Ford Coppola with Thematic Images from Rumblefish, Dracula, and The Godfather
Through his clever mash-ups, Leavitt has created totems devoted to the best story tellers of all-time that explore the role of being an artist and pose the question, is it possible not to merge art and life?
Stanley Kubrick Wears the Dress of One of the Twins from The Shining. Also Present are References to Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001
Stanley Kubrick Detail with Alex DeLarge’s False Eyelashes
Similar to the way Kubrick, Spielberg and Tarantino use the camera like a window to gaze out, Leavitt humorously reverts the gaze back to them. Under their control or not, work sweeps over the life of the creator. Their imagery becomes more powerful than themselves and their icons overtake their anatomy.
David Lynch is Presented with Allusions to The Elephant Man, Dune and Wild at Heart
The Artist, (Right) at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception. He is very nice to fans!
Mike also made a set of collectible trading cards of each of the Director’s Sculptures, and the back of each one has a little story about each character.
Kathryn Bigelow, and the card which describes her, below.
Leavitt is obviously a passionate film buff who aims to elevate these directors as high artists, while also surreally lampooning them with a taste of their own iconic medicine. He explains, “I love movies and I love art. The magic overwhelms me. Moviemakers are consumed by their work, similar to the way my own work overtakes my life. Whether a block of wood, a scene ending or film reel edit, every cut takes conviction. Trust in that vision is so powerful that they relinquish their anatomy. That’s why I sculpted their bodies physically devoured by their work.”
Tim Burton Personified with Motifs from Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhards
Installation View, Left Right: Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, George Lucas
Mike Leavitt’s talent is just insane. The details of each sculpture are absolutely breathtaking and this exhibit is lots of fun to experience in person. Don’t miss it!
Mike Leavitt’s King Cuts will be on Exhibit Through June 11th, 2016, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
James Cameron, Avatar Meets Titanic with side of Aliens and Terminator
Wes Anderson Films include The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel