Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mathieu Nozieres--International Man of Mischief

Mathieu Nozieres is one hell of a busy guy.  At the tender age of 24, he has already been picked up by a major gallery, held numerous exhibitions, and is doing a residency in China.  His style has changed somewhat over the past couple years, but his technique is excellent in whichever style he chooses, be it his war themes, or his delicate constuction themes.  Look at what he does with a few strokes, turning Chinese brush like strokes into airplanes at war in Reflect (somewhat reminiscent of Richter) or intense pieces which again use a hazy brushstroke, obscuring your view, giving that same sense you might have as a pilot flying into the heat of battle in a thick fog, in The Track II

 One of the pieces, Twins, reminds me of Larry Rivers with his faux Rembrandt look. 

I'm not sure where Serious Kid fits in, but it's somewhere in the war series, towards the end of the series.  To me it evokes Bacon, though perhaps only from the obscured face which stares, perhaps at the viewer, perhaps at the planes.  I'm not sure how old this "kid" is, perhaps a late adolescent, or perhaps an old who enjoys the power of creating war, here indicated with model planes, which in the field become real planes faced with life and death decisions. 

The small jewel like pieces, which make me think that he and Magda Amarioarei, may have been sharing ideas (they're friends, so it may be the case), in the Fragments series, are delicate and detailed.  Ink on plastic gives a lovely surface which you want to touch, but again not recommended.  It reminds you of places which perhaps you've never been to, but you want to visit them for the sake of comparing them to these pieces, to see if they are genuine or just pure fantasy.  Again evoking WWII, especially the outposts, they also evoke peaceful scenes, filled with evergreens, dense with foliage, all conveyed in black and white.  Again, a lovely effect.  Reminds me of daguerrotypes, old photos, old postcards, reminiscences and days gone past.  I hope you enjoy these visions as well.  Tell me what they remind you of.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Aaron Delehanty---the devil is in the details

For Aaron's work, that saying is very apt.  That's what drew me to the pieces in the first place.  I really enjoy the details of his pieces, the way I am able to lose myself in them.  Take the larger of the two, shown above, Sounds.  Can't you hear it already from the get go?  The waves pulling you in (have you ever been white water rafting), the rain cutting you with each piercing droplet, pouring down on you, not a pleasant rain, but fierce.   The title is the painting.  You are supposed to hear this piece, about like a synesthesia.  the building in the background is almost a footnote, but it climbs into the sky.  You wish you could board that edifice and escape, but it's so distant.  You wonder how its inhabitants are faring in this awful weather.  You envy them.  you pity them.

In the next piece, Valley, you get the opposite auditory landscape, that is, the absence of sound.  You feel calm, peace, at ease with those birds that fly away from whatever disturbed them or are they circling something of interest?  there's always a story to find, to unfold.  The industrial is always in conflict with the natural in Aaron's works.  Which wins and which loses out?  Unfortunately, for us brilliant humans, you can see the marks we've left in the landscape, both in the pastures below, and in the sky above (are those jet trails?)  Perhaps the pity you may feel in the works are for us mortals who know all too well how to destroy, how to "progress".  Maybe we too should be like the rain, be like the crows, and just go with the flow of things, to enjoy what is here, what is ephemeral, instead of trying to capture something we have made up in our minds.  But perhaps I am a hypocrite here.  I, too, am a mere mortal as I collect these works, material goods, as I want to relive these moments, and allow others the same joy that I derive.  Please do.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Michael Dotson

As a collector, I look for works with emotion, something that grabs me, probably relates to my line of work.
As a collector, I look for technique that also grabs me, whether it's intricately stitched works like that of Ai Kijima (I'll feature her in a future post), or the tiny jewel like pieces of Magda Amarioarei (previous post) or Mathieu Nozieres (future post).  I like to get lost in the art, where my eyes are drawn in and the work refuses to let go.  That's entree into the next artist whose work I've been following since about late 2007 when I first saw his work featured on dailyserving.com.  I like dailyserving as it's a site created by artists for everybody who is into art.

When I first saw Michael's work, I was pretty excited by the colors and the content.  I liked his use of grids, reminded me some of Chuck Close's grids (yes, I know, heads vs sports.whatever).  The geometry, the precision.  Once Michael attended American University's MFA program, not too far from where I live, I was then able to see his work evolve at the end of year shows, as well as visit him in his studio.  (Next time, I'll have a glass of your finest as well..don't hide it..).  Now that he's in Brooklyn, won't be able to see the studio as often, but no worries.

Look at the progression of the use of color, from more geometric, finely taped off pieces, to more computer like graphics, to science fiction, to a new reality.  I'm not sure where Michael gets all of his ideas, but I'd be real interested in entering his world.  By looking into his works from afar, from up close, I think I can achieve that. I encourage you to do the same.

 This was one of the first pieces that I saw and appealed to me, the geometry.  I eventually saw that the geometry actually was not accurate, but who cares. Like a colorful Escher.

 These diving boards continue the sports theme which Michael explored, as well as the water theme.  It shows off his technique very nicely, between the colors, how he paints surface like grass, to the gridwork of the pool and the pointillist approach to the crowd, a style which is repeat in many other works.
 This piece was somewhat of a breakout piece, as it delineated the previous sports themes, with the more futuristic themese that predominate currently.  While the piece can feel busy, it somehow works.  Perhaps it is also a practice piece to decide on a variety of style, hearkening to some of the Leipzig school (does anybody talk about them anymore?), to Hockney and his flat homes, to chocolate bars in the foreground.
 Side by Side was one of the works that caught my eye in a show, and I had to have it.  I was pretty amazed by the detail.  I could only imagine how long it must've taken to actually complete the piece and how much tape he used to mask off the various parts.  Michael even created a movie to document it


Michael also has a series of swimming pools. 
What's up with all the water.  I have no idea, I just know he does water very well, and in a way that makes want to swim in that pool. Of course, it looks like it's in the year 2195, but hey, who's counting.  Is that a reflection or can we see beneated the surface.  The paintings are often forcing us to question what we are looking at.

 So you thought that whole aliens created mankind myth was all bunk, huh?  Well, hogwash.  This is how it all started.  And if it didn't start this way, well, this is a pretty awesome depiction of one's imagination.  Again, note the symmetry, the framing of the piece within the curvature of what looks like a religious picture, making you think of the chuches in Rome.  Well, this is what it would like if alien ships invaded Rome and fertilized a tree with their nutrient laden light sources.  Peace, dude.

Obviously Michael presents the world from a very 90s and beyond point of view, where video games rule.  This piece would make Nintendo proud.  note the triangular pieces in the background that fit together into a colorful mass.  These are echoed in the foreground roofline, the subtle and detailed brickwork, the stairs that you wish you climb, and which take you to an unknown and probably unknowable place, the home that invites, and yet scares you with its anonymous and detached face.  Beautiful.  Could you not lose yourself in this for a while on a lazy afternoon?

I'll finish with this work which is a cross between the 70s and the Matrix.  You've got the cool breeze evoked by the palm trees, zebra skin sofas, and a nice half pipe to skateboard on if you get tired of lounging around.  You're surrounded by the pill-like or jimmy-like backgrond that reminds of stars falling onto the scene, coating everything as it descends. Peaceful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Daniel Turner

You may very well already know of Daniel Turner, currently working in Brooklyn, NY by way of SFAI, and originally from Portsmouth, VA, he has brought his intimate explorations of naturally "toxic"materials, like tar, soot, rust, iodine, camphophenique, sometimes enclosed in vinyl, sometimes smeared on a floor, sometimes captured on paper.  Daniel's work first caught my eye when he was in a 2-person show at Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco. His umbrellas coated in tar and bedecked with bright orange lifejackets drew my eyes to them.  Since that show in 2006, I have had the vicarious pleasure of  following Daniel's rise in the art world.  I wondered why he had not caught the eye of others shortly after his work had caught mine, but I was taught patience by this experience.  Daniel must be one of the hardest working artists out there.  Just looking at his CV you'll see how his shows, solo and group, as well as his collaborative effort with Colin Snapp.  He has recently had a solo show at Massimo di Carlo and an upcoming show at White Cube.  I'm happy to see he has caught the eye of the establishment. Of course this is a double edged sword, as similar to a company that goes public, that type of exposure, publicity, and pressure can certainly affect an artist's work.  I'm hoping it does not have an adverse effect on Daniel's work and I'm presuming at the moment it won't as his work is already so different from anything else out there that it would be a long trip from where he is at to something that is easily palatable.

Look at one of his videoes, Top Spin which is a collaboration with Colin Snapp in the duo Jules Marquis,and which was featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2011.


Take a look at his work with vinyl and tar and other fun materials that if not contained in the vinyl you would certainly try to avoid, both because of their noxious smell inasmuch as to avoid their stickiness which would be a pain in the ass to get off your hands and clothes.  Do you not want to just smush the vinyl in your hands, or open it up to see what it really feels and smells like?  Don't tell me I'm the only one who wants to do that. 

I remember when Daniel asked me if I'd like him to create a rubbing on my walls.  I didn't take him up on that but I could see that work in a museum, likewise for his work with iron oxide (rust) and his sfumatto created with steel wool on a painted wall.  But I can see these  in a museum or someone who has the space to accomodate them.  I love Daniel's use of seemingly household items to create new and different works.  Kind of a like a modern day Duchamp who shows us that art exists in even the most mundane and typically overlooked materials.  We overlook them for the same reason that we are fascinated with seeing them locked within a safe barrier.  Sort of like seeing flies attack a rotting cow head or a floating formaldehyde laden shark.  Only, PETA would approve of Daniel's work.

Daniel also likes to play with soot and how it transforms "regular"items,Duchampian ready-mades.  He takes a gold plated fireplace set and smears it in soot, changing it from shiny, bright to a messy, dirty art object, conflicted in its own golden black ambivalence.

A fireplace poker set has never looked so regal, so original.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tameka Norris

I want to to introduce you to an artist who is finishing up her MFA at Yale, Tameka Norris.
First coming into contact with Tameka's work prior to her grad studies, she was just finishing up her undergrad work at UCLA.  I think it was her video, Licker, which first caught my eye. It was very original and I figured anybody who could dance around the Armand Hammer Sculpture Garden with nary a problem had my vote.  Little did I know that that will probably be the only video anybody will ever take of the type of dancing around with Gaston Lachaise and Debora Butterfield sculptures and the like.  I love the mixture of high brow and low brow, of mixing the sexual energy of a live person, together with sexual energy that is found within many classic works of art, yet are seen as something other than that because they are bronze and they are somehow hallowed (same thinking of Marc Quinn in some of his work) http://www.tamekanorrisart.com/projects/licker-video-dos-mil-diez/

The other works that also initially caught my eye were the vibrant, but seemingly simple portraits of Tameka eating a watermelon.  Provocative, sexually charged, while at the same time evoking racial stereotypes, replete with watermelon, I found the photos extremely compelling.  The details of the liquid dripping off the face and arms, and the pit adorning the cheek evoke Marilyn Minter.  You can't tell if Tameka is mocking the viewer or if she wishes to be mocked.  Perhaps, as is often the case, it's a little bit of both.  She draws you in with a look, but simultaneously attempts to repel with the seemingly ridiculous act of eating the watermelon and getting it all over herself.  Why, oopsie, I made a mess of myself.

Tameka's works really make you think.  While they have the obvious sexual draw, there is something about them that makes you want to look away as well, feeling guilty of looking in the first place.
It's the same with the Post-Katrina works, which are creating on bed sheets (evoking Rauschenberg's combine, Bed).  I find these much more interesting than another bed piece I can think of, Tracey Emin's homage to herself.  Tameka's stars in her works, but I don't feel that she trying to draw attention to herself, but rather to the character which she portrays, a la Kalup Linzey.

Tameka is somebody who is going places, and I could see her work up at the Whitney Biennial one of these years.  She was featured in Modern Painter's issue of artists to watch.  Wise choice.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

When I speak of accessible art, I'm not referring to appeal factor, but rather art that you can afford.  Sure, you can go to your county fair and find this type of art.  Not to generalize too much, but that's not typically my cup of tea.  You can certainly scout it out, as you can scout out your neighborhood art league.  One of the easiest ways to go about finding new and exciting art is to visit your local colleges and graduate schools.  Living in a major metropolitan area, I'm able to get to some, not a ton, of mfa shows and open studios.  This is typically a great way to see what up and coming artists are doing during their training, to forge relationships with them early, to show your support of their work, and to pick up some pieces for not a huge sum.  Of course many of the bigger programs, like Columbia and Yale are scouted from the get go and some galleries have mfa shows dedicated to mfa grad students.  You can also search for the various MFA programs on the internet and contact the artists directly.  I would email them, visit their studios, if possible, and see what they have available.  Some have already gone ahead and joined an established gallery, but many have not. Not everybody can be like the Vogels and get to 5-10 new art shows a week, but I don't think that's a necessity.  It's obviously helpful to see more of what is out there, but you can do a lot of the legwork via the internet, a medium that was not available to them during the peak of their art collecting.  Sure, it's not as accurate to judge a work from an internet picture, but you can  ask an artist to take additional pictures, including detailed, up-close shots and thereby gauge the piece with some accuracy.  If you can see a work in person then you can certainly gauge additional works from a particular artist that much more accurately.  I'm always interested in what artists somebody acquired or "discovered" early in their career and what attracted them at that time.

Dominic Mangila

Now I'll speak on Dominic Mangila and specifically on a newer work of his entitled "Han".  Dominic, originally from the Philippines, now hails from Long Island and is part of the teaching faculty at the Columbia MFA program from which he graduated several years ago.  This is definitely my favorite painting by Dominic thus far.  I love the use of color, the feeling of movement, the energy of the work.  One work it reminds me of a little is Chuck Close's Lucas where the colors emanate from the head.  Here, the eye is drawn to the forehead, with its circular lighthouse effect, a beacon to the rest of the piece.  The ultrafinished upper half in contrast to the seemingly unfinished lower half, almost sketched in some areas.  The stare of the figure draws you into the myriad of colors.   Dominic writes about the background reference for "Han":
"Han painting references human intelligence: mind's power to imagine,
project, gather and process knowledge. initially, the painting was
inspired by a friend who's name is Han who is quite a genius. he's
like a human wikipedia.

later on, as i work on the painting and researched about the Han
Chinese, i realize that it can also make reference to Han Chinese's
'major role in the development of the arts, sciences, philosophy, and
mathematics throughout history.'  (Science and Technology in China)"

 In the details, see the brushstrokes, feel them as they are pulled across the canvas.  You can feel the texture of the paint with your eyes (left side of canvas, midway up).

Then look at this next detail and see how the one rectangle in and of itself could constitute a work.  It's like a lovefest for color (by the left ear/right side of canvas).
 For additional works by Dominic, you can check out these other sites: