Filed under: Art World, In the Studio, New York | Tags: Evan J. Garza, Peter Opheim, sculpture, Steven Zevitas Gallery, VOLTA NY
For all the implied detail that jpegs provide, there’s nothing quite like seeing a painting in person. I was certain that when I set out to visit German-born artist Peter Opheim at his Chinatown studio in New York, I had a pretty good handle on what I would expect to see. But appearances can be deceiving, and a closer inspection of the surface of his works was not unlike being whispered a very important secret, with all the weight of the work carried with it. The surface quality of these paintings is both remarkable and remarkably important to the understanding of his work.
When viewed in their entirety, or seen from a distance, Opheim’s large-scale paintings reveal very little about their surfaces. Based on individual sculptural maquettes made of clay (which I had the rare pleasure of seeing in the studio), the artist’s colorful subjects are rendered with a very small brush, effectively making his painted works seem more like hand-made objects. Each tiny brushstroke appears as if Opheim has instead sculpted the paint with his fingers, casting a very sculptural glow over his oil paintings.
For Opheim, the result is less about an accurate representation of his clay maquettes and more about the careful abstraction of his compositions. For decades, the artist worked almost exclusively with abstracted imagery, and his recent work deeply recalls that spirit. I caught up with Opheim as he was preparing for a solo show at VOLTA NY with Steven Zevitas Gallery. More after the jump!
—Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-large
Filed under: Art World, Dallas, Q&A | Tags: Carlos Donjuan, Dallas, Dallas Contemporary, graffiti, Kate Singleton, Sour Grapes, street art
The work of Carlos Donjuan work really grabbed my attention in #90, the recent West edition, of New American Paintings, and I recently caught up with the artist to better understand how his practice is influenced by street art and hip-hop culture.
Donjuan’s work, be it painting, graffiti, or mixed media, beautifully captures the complex visual language of underground youth culture from the perspective of someone in-the-know. The Dallas native credits graffiti as his biggest ongoing influence, as well as street fashion and hybrid music genres, and recently had a major moment: his first all-graffiti show (as part of the collective Sour Grapes) at Dallas Contemporary. I asked the artist about his beginnings and how sub-cultures continue to influence his work today. More after the jump! —Kate Singleton, contributor
Filed under: In the Studio, New York, Q&A | Tags: Brooklyn, Bushwick, Evan J. Garza, John Copeland, Playboy
John Copeland‘s vast Brooklyn studio is like one giant mood board, and as straight forward as the work produced in it. Copeland’s unique brand of painting—marked by crudely-rendered forms, elaborate drips, and a romanticism and fullness not often attributed to acrylic paint—is informed by scraps of old magazines, music, his father’s Playboy magazines from the 1960s, and an intense fondness for both abstraction and the figure.
Fresh off the heels of a solo show with Galerie Alex Daniels in Amsterdam, I caught up with Copeland in his Bushwick studio (just around the corner from Chuck Webster) to talk about nudes, his work, and have a couple of beers. Our conversation, and dozens of studio pics, after the jump.
—Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large
Note: Some photos are not safe for work (NSFW).
Filed under: Art World, San Francisco | Tags: John Berggruen Gallery, Julian Lethbridge, Julie Mehretu, Nadiah Fellah, San Francisco, Wayne Gonzales
Julian Lethbridge, NYT, 2010 | Oil and paint stick on canvas, 70 x 56 inches. Courtesy John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco.
While the three artists in the current show at John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco can all be categorized as abstract painters—Julie Mehretu, Julian Lethbridge, and Wayne Gonzales—they represent three very different styles of abstraction. Each displays exquisite attention to detail and presentation, representing their own complex identities as artists, and the interconnected nature of their abstract practices as a whole. More after the jump! —Nadiah Fellah, San Francisco contributor
Filed under: Art World, Chicago, Features | Tags: Chicago, Gaylen Gerber, Holt Quentel, Jim Nutt, John Neff, Julia Fish, Michelle Grabner, Mitchell Kane, Ray Yoshida, Robert Nickle, Shane Campbell Gallery, Tony Tasset
Jim Nutt, Miss T. Garmint (she pants a lot), 1967, Acrylic on Plexiglas; enamel on wood frame, 72 x 48 inches. Private Collection, Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
For a long time, Chicago art has been strongly identified with an eccentric and often grotesquely or humorously distorted variety of figure painting. And it’s accurate that the city’s most widely celebrated — or loudly praised — historical art is a form of funky figuration typified by the work of the Imagist generation and rooted in Post-WWII readings of Art Brut and Surrealism by artists of the Monster Roster. Much of this work is estimable — witness recent local exhibitions of Jim Nutt and Ray Yoshida, both shows eyeball-poppers in their own ways — but it’s not the whole story of painting in Chicago. —John Neff, Chicago contributor
Filed under: Art World, In the Studio, Los Angeles | Tags: Ellen C. Caldwell, Frohawk Two Feathers, Los Angeles, Taylor De Cordoba
Known for his master narratives, vivid re-imaginings of imperial history, and playful revival of colonial portraiture, Los Angeles-based artist Frohawk Two-Feathers directly references a legacy of historical art while troubling it with the modern. His upcoming solo show at Taylor De Cordoba, opening this Friday, is no different.
As Frohawk was putting the final touches on work for his exhibition, The Company Crocodile, Part I: La Guerre Des Machettes Danse (The War of The Dancing Machetes), I visited his studio to discuss portraits, politics, and artistic processes. —Ellen C. Caldwell, L.A. contributor
Filed under: Art World, Boston, In the Studio, New York | Tags: DODGEgallery, Evan J. Garza, Jane Fox Hipple, Kristen Dodge
Boston artist Jane Fox Hipple‘s new work for DODGEgallery in the Lower East Side of New York isn’t just remarkable for the process that it emerged from, but that it also marks her first paintings to be exhibited in a solo show. A preparator for the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), Hipple has been honing in on her process for years—and it shows in the work. Her loyalty is to the materials she uses, and to the medium of paint itself, revealing a years-long examination of materiality, subjectivity, and concreteness.
Much of her recent work is a departure from her previous practice, moving ever closer to an appreciation for these works as physical objects in addition to their compositional abstraction. Aligned with contemporary Concrete artists like John Zurier and Joseph Marioni, Hipple’s work is a study of the properties of color, light, and material, with marks and compositions as elegant as they are deeply assertive. I caught up with the artist in her Somerville studio, not far from Harvard Square. Our conversation, and more pics, after the jump.
—Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large
Filed under: Art World, In the Studio, New York | Tags: Brooklyn, Bushwick, Chuck Webster, Eddie Martinez, Evan J. Garza, New York, ZieherSmith
Tucked away in a two-story walk-up in a northeast corner of Brooklyn is Chuck Webster‘s Bushwick studio and apartment. And, lucky for him (and me), there’s a pretty mean Mexican taqueria across the street from the Jefferson stop on the L, just a few of blocks away. Since great Mexican food is hard to find in Boston, I jumped at the invitation while in New York last week to have a few chorizo tacos with Chuck and take a look at his work for My Small Adventures, his upcoming solo show of new paintings with ZieherSmith in Chelsea, opening this Thursday.
Chuck’s work occupies a necessary place in contemporary abstraction, where insistence of form is met by both a genuine investigation of mark-making and child-like curiosity. The vehicle for his works are wooden panels (equipped with shelf-like grids on the back) whose surfaces are deeply sanded, discolored, and scratched — offering a kind of weathered, wistful context by which to examine his forms. That nostalgia was furthered during my visit after Webster opened his flat files, which are filled with collaborations between he and Eddie Martinez, as well as several colorful drawings made by Webster at the age of 10. Astonishingly, the contours of the monsters depicted therein strongly resemble the forms that Chuck still creates to this day. If it’s true that some artists spend their entire lives trying to paint like a child, then Webster doesn’t have to work very hard. The truth, however, is that he does. More pics after the jump.
—Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large
Filed under: Art World | Tags: Chris Johanson, Gabriel Orozco, Gerhard Richter, Jessica Stockholder, Jonas Wood, Luc Tuymans, Nadiah Fellah, Philip Guston, Rachel Harrison, Robert Rauschenberg, Vija Celmins
TOP: Robert Rauschenberg, Palladian Xmas (Spread), 1980 | Solvent transfer, acrylic, fabric and collage on wood panel, 74.25 x 133.75 x 7.5 inches. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. BOTTOM: Jessica Stockholder, installation view of Sailcloth Tears, Mitchell-Innis & Nash, New York.
Last month, the editorial staff at New American Paintings posed the poll question, “Which artist, dead or alive, has most influenced contemporary painting?” Like many 20-somethings, I have suffered the youthful ignorance of generations that came before mine, but the fact remains that artists are often indebted to those that came before them. In the world of contemporary painting, there are a few artists that have emphatically led the pack in their generations, and they comprise the three names that received the most votes: Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, and Philip Guston. Each revolutionized painting in their own right and have inspired entire generations of contemporary artists since. Read more after the jump! —Nadiah Fellah, San Francisco contributor
Filed under: Art World, Portland | Tags: CANADA, Elena Pankova, Kelli Rule, Portland
Elena Pankova, All Untitled, 2010, Acrylic on canvas, dimensions variable. Courtesy CANADA, New York.
“Between my head and my hand there is always the face of death” is a quote from dadaist Francis Picabia. In the group show of the same name at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), guest curator Kristan Kennedy interprets this quote with seven contemporary painters whose works explore the psychology and mortality of the human form through the physicality of paint.
Among the more curious of works on display are Elena Pankova’s untitled installation of paintings flanked by a hanging houseplant. Crude, abstracted facial features are stenciled in layers on warm black backgrounds. From a distance, the works are vibratory dashes of pure color. Up close, you can see the artist’s hand. Some brushstrokes are transparent, painted deftly, and delicately, and the effect almost resembles cut and layered tissue paper. Others are opaque — creamy whites, powdery blues, and come off powerful, like warrior masks.
According to the Kennedy, Pankova’s faces are “fractured family portraits.” The plant is meant to reinforce the idea that the faces (though we’re psychologically predisposed to identify with them) are not really what’s alive. By deflecting our identification, it puts the focus on the medium. Pankova’s paint and pattern—not subject matter—is what’s most visceral. More pics after the jump. —Kelli Rule, Portland contributor