Filed under: Art World | Tags: Andrea Rosen Gallery, Evan J. Garza, José Lerma, portraiture, sound
José Lerma, The Glib Decade, 2010 | Acrylic and silicon caulk on canvas, oil, acrylic, urethane, pen and graphite on linen, two synthesizers, speakers, 94.5 x 140 x 22.75 inches. Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.
It might be the coolest conceptual application to the exhibition of paintings that I can remember. For his current solo show of paintings in New York, José Lerma has placed a few works directly on electronic keyboards, with the paintings themselves playing the haunting synthesizer chords that echo throughout the space.
Lerma’s exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery, I am Sorry I am Perry, is a portraiture show, but not in any recognizable sense. The bureaucrats loosely depicted in each painting take a backseat to the qualities of paint itself, and applications such as the keyboard paintings point to the individual personality of each work rather than their subjects. It’s a smart move, and the show is full of them. More after the jump! —Evan J. Garza
Filed under: Art World, Q&A | Tags: 82, Atlanta, Conduit Gallery, Fahamu Pecou, hip hop, portraiture, Sam McKinniss
Fahamu Pecou, Close…And a Cigar, 2010 | Acrylic on canvas, 66 x 54 inches. Courtesy the artist.
In 2008, I met Fahamu Pecou at an opening party for a group show at the Amistad Center in Hartford, CT. After viewing his hilarious video, Instant Celebrity: The Rise of an Urban Legend, I approached the artist to tell him how much I enjoyed it. After introducing myself, Mr. Pecou handed me his business card which read, rather matter-of-factly, “Fahamu Pecou is the Shit.” No phone number, no email, nothing (with the exception of an unforgettable moment).
Since then, the Atlanta-based artist, featured in NAP edition #82, has been exhibiting hip-hop self-portrait inspired work across the globe, including a current solo show at Dallas’s Conduit Gallery. I caught up with the artist last week to discuss his recent work. —Sam McKinniss, contributor
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: Austin, Evan J. Garza, figure, Heyd Fontenot, Jonathan Walz, Michael O'Sullivan, nudes, portraiture, Texas, University of Maryland
Aleks with Seven Others, 2009
Featured in edition #66 and on the cover of edition #84 of New American Paintings, Heyd Fontenot isn’t afraid to bare it all, at least not when it comes to his work. The Austin, TX-based artist creates intimate renderings of nude friends and models that are as weirdly natural as they are delicately altered. Whether painting nude portraits on naked wood or drafting subtle works on paper, Fontenot’s work is undoubtably captivating. We caught up with the Texas artist this week to talk about his work (and getting naked). —Evan J. Garza
EJG: So, why the nude?
Well, Evan, I think I’ve always been sort of fascinated by the nude. Ever since I was a child, I was supremely interested in erotically-charged material. And having said that, I should clarify that I don’t necessarily classify the work that I’m doing as “erotic.” I realize that there is a “sexy” element in the work, but I think that has more to do with a degree of intimacy. And the playfulness in the work is also important, in that it perhaps signifies that the nudity isn’t a threat. I think I originally conceived this body of work as an attempt to present a loaded, and perhaps confrontational subject in a straight-forth, unflinching, kind and gentle manner.
Jessica, Alexandre, Bill, 2010
EJG: Much of your work is painted on wood. Tell me about what you enjoy about using wood. (Not a euphemism, I swear.)
See, I think it’s totally okay to use a dirty joke here and there. Because I feel that the “nude” is sometimes “neutered” in order to be acceptable. And in that case, we are denying our true responses to the visual stimuli. Yes, I’m looking at a nude and it did occur to me that this could be sexual. And no, that doesn’t have to be my only response (even though it was my first response). I can find other valuable and worthwhile content. I love a double entendre and I encourage naughtiness. Please feel free to make the off-handed comment, as long as it’s followed up by something thoughtful.
Regarding wood as painting surface, there may be something nostalgic about my use of raw wood as a surface for painting, but there’s also the metaphor for nudity. And I think there may be a secondary metaphor – letting the painting surface be what it actually is, rather than a platform to build illusion, which is traditionally the alchemy practiced by painters.