In order of installation:
Advocating a re-mapping of masculinity, Austin J. Brady’s work performs within the space of performing within masculine identity in order to negotiate its territories and masochistically prod its tenderness. With the inability to reconcile between nostalgia for the source material and the rejection of the patriarchal and racial toxicity that is celebrated within it, Brady uses the garage’s position between public and private spaces and using Sword and Sorcery images, aggressive music, tabletop gaming, professional wrestling, cinema, hunting, sports and videogames to offer a safety net for experimentation, failure and vulnerability in masculinity that is not tolerated by the public mythology of American manhood.
Angelo Ray Martinez’s work explores the pixel, turned pigment and the oscillation of digital and analog processes. Using vintage video games and other computerized visual communications, Martinez’s paintings are translated as a means to address the complexities of 21st century life, and the constant influences of digital technologies on the human mind and body. Martinez’s ongoing series Quest of the Steelhead creates an aquatic metaphor for the nuanced relationship between the intricacies of personal experience, and the often nuanced relationship between representation and perception.
Within similar ideas of perception and navigation SPIMES’ work creates surreal landscapes that evoke feelings of nostalgia and futuristic hope, referencing the conventional stereotypes and experiences that move her. The work highlights the contradictory and confusing nuances of a world in-between and being in multiple places at once, highlighting a new perspective on the value of diversity whilst commenting on the imagined futuristic virtual world and the real physical world and navigating our experiences within it.
Upon further examination of the self, the throwaway nature of British popular culture and Intersectional feminst issues, Bex Massey’s work examines the role of painting and the language of display in the face of popular culture and the undercurrent of the anxieties of daily life. She explores motifs that express consumer gluttony are extracted from influences from her childhood in the 80’s and 90’s returning to a palette and an era of a slower era pre-computer internet, and cloud in her work further epitomizing the construct of time and its suggested worth in the replication of the fleeting image in the click of a flash, mouse or ctrl + alt + delete.
Emily Somoskey’s work gives form to the complexity, instability and enigmatic nature of our lived experiences. Through her mixed media paintings she explores the simultaneity between the actual and psychological, the material and the immaterial and the visible which lies beyond sight. Her work seems like a lucid dream in which the eyes search for familiarity but then are quickly denied by abstract movements juxtaposed within these spaces. Digital collage fragments and paint shards might reference a tiled floor, a stove-top burner or the edge of furniture, but then point to readings that move beyond the domestic. The complex tension of their visual density calls for contemplation and calls on the viewer to navigate, discover and dwell within them.
Visually investigating the relationship of abstract and representational, elusive vs. tangible, and the realms that exist in between, Rachel Strum builds imagined landscapes inspired by sci-fi monuments and natural phenomena. In her work, she is focused on duality and the tension that resides between the inner and outer. Working with multiple mediums allows her to build layered scenes that sway back and forth between representative and abstract. Through bold colors, different mediums and repeated patterns she finds content by building layers of visual information. The created worlds often reuse nebulous shapes and forms —What they represent is explicitly elusive, yet reminiscent and familiar all at once.
Integrating ambivalence associated with identity, Sua Chae’s work creates a paradoxical space for the viewer, by using abstraction as a means of extracting personal perceptions and experiences which are often intertwined within social-political and cultural specifics. The lattice-like structures with motile forms serve as a vehicle that speak of separation, confrontation and tension. Her work describes physical, psychological and cultural barriers she has experienced since she has moved to the United States as a Xennial who has an analogue childhood and a post-digital adulthood. Her work, remaining in materiality chases the digital aura hoping to open up a larger conversation about diversity and coexistence in social context. Her work employs rigid structures to be a site for playfulness, hope and possibility rather than suppression, anger or anxiety.
Psychological space, memory, sensory perception, health and cultural stigma are some of the recurring subjects Madeline Walker explores in her sculptural paintings, which she most recently calls Mind Maps. Organic forms, micro/macro relationships, signature pastels and contrasting textures best describe her visual language within her preferred mediums of hydrocal plaster and acrylic. The rules of sculpture, painting architecture and installation are broken down and re-assembled through a colloging and casting process that subverts cultural artifacts and readymades into an uncanny, nostalgic headspace that beacons to the viewer to look more closely.
Melancholic longing for the past through the lens of Romanticism is behind the work of Zach Koch. Through atmospheric obscurations and ornamental overlays are the unsure foundations for the appropriated references used to create his oil paintings. Each work is like the left-over evidence of a memory more complex than explanation, a physical representation of an epitaph.
Vickie Vainionpää’s practice considers the impact of technology on the process of painting and investigates the relationship between natural forces and digital processes. In her ongoing Soft BodyDynamics series, twisting, tubular forms are systematically created using generative 3D modelling software. The software randomly generates a set number of splines per day, from which the artist selects to create final compositions which are painted by hand using oil on linen. These shapes curve, fold, and morph in ways reminiscent of limbs, intestines, or cellular organisms. In many ways they hold life in themselves, coming from a different kind of nature — a parallel wilderness — regulated by the forces of chance and uncertainty inherent to their digital environment. By embracing new digital means of reading space and content, the works draw attention to the ever-changing relationship between the human body.
The “self” and how it is separated from the real world is one of the main explorations in Yousha Bashir’s works. His works are often made up of figures – sometimes self-portraits – and utopian/dystopian abstract landscapes. Bashir has a continuous dialogue with his previous works; his new works are often recycled ideas and explorations from his earlier works driven towards new directions. Bashir’s recent works are a continuation of his focus on abstract landscapes, framed within more extensive landscapes, creating a new perspective and challenging the idea of the painting’s solid framework. Through these works, Bashir explores the relationship between the digital realm and the painting itself as a physical entity. The landscapes in his work examine the translation of images through the digital realm into the canvas and vise-versa.
Utilizing design and painting, Violet Luczak’s work demonstrates how the pursuit of profit has drowned out human morality, leaving a path of patriarchal, environmental, and socio-political destruction across the globe. Referencing popular culture and traditional advertisements, she paints loaded symbols, such as overtly sexualized women, images depicting Big Dairy and graphics that allude to monetary gain, as well as typographic elements that rely on wordplay and puns to add a whimsical twist to otherwise dark concepts. Rooted at the intersection of feminism and socialism, her work aims to build solidarity within our communities over the common interest of today’s struggles, such as labor injustices, environmental destruction and toxic hierarchical cultural norms. As a radical and arti-capitalist visual artist in the 21st century, she uses her work as a weapon against the absence of responsibility displayed by the powerful.
Paul Anagnostopoulos’ work explores mythological desire and queer melancholy. Images of the Hero, the idealized form of strength and beauty, highlight the impossibility of attaining otherworldly levels of perfection. I construct portals to an idyllic paradise. Complex layers eliminate parts of the landscape as if representing an unclear memory. They serve as postcards from a journey that may or may not have been experienced. This intricate picture plane has contradicting layers of depth and flatness to imitate electronic environments. The allusion to early interpretations of cyberspace arouses a sense of nostalgia. Conceptually, the paintings celebrate intimacy and a tender masculinity. Hyper masculine images are manipulated to appear sensitive and emotive. Vulnerability and melancholia reveal a more human side of these otherwise all-powerful bodies. This conceptual thread of longing and tragedy mirrors the melodrama of ancient legends. I investigate various systems and histories in order to honor and empower queer stories.
Gracelee Lawrence’s work deals with relationships between food, the body, and technology. It is born in the transfigurative space between physical and digital reality, exploring the ways in which bodies are both gendered and metaphorically fragmented in terms of capitalist-driven material desires, physical sustenance, and the digital spaces we inhabit.
In her work, she is drawn to the fragmentation of bodies as it allows for the ambiguity of gender and removal of personhood, as well as a nod to the fracturing of Classical marble sculptures. Fragments can belong to everyone and no one; there is an alluring openness in a disembodied hand or floating foot. There is a need for the body fragments to be larger than life, at the size or height of a monumentally scaled object, to feel relatable yet also removed from lived reality. In the same way that a fragment can be all yet none, an object in a shifted scale is removed from one particular person or narrative. That is a freedom.
Light is the source of all life in this world and worlds beyond. It’s energy that is simplified but not defined. GIIIVENS considers all their pieces to be simple configurations that are complex beings, the form of the formless; not bound by perception or perceived notion. The work they create uses Light, form, and sound as a means to create portals to new dimensions, connecting this world to the worlds unseen by the eye. Although the transportation that occurs may not necessarily be physical, light, unlike any other element can act as a means to affect emotion and perception of a space thus distorting reality as we know it.
Lisa Denyer’s practice explores the polarities of a slow, considered painting process against the sensory overload of contemporary life. The work relates to the body, the spaces we inhabit and the visuals we are presented with on a daily basis.Surfaces are developed using collage in an approach that is both intuitive and analytic. Geometric elements are tested in variations before a composition is set, often framing spontaneous gestural marks. The supports are dense and weighty and usually handmade. She uses heavy plywood, clay, panel, sandpaper or wood as surfaces on which to work. These are selected for their textual qualities and for the way they assist, and disrupt the application of paint.
In Kelli Thompson’s paintings she exaggerates color and texture to create an unnatural interpretation of people and objects. My subjects are rendered floating within the void of a stark gradient and framed by symmetrical shapes reminiscent of architectural elements. The painted gradients in all of my work reject the brush and hand and are hardly distinguishable from digital production. Multiple layers cover each and are blended until every mark is eliminated: a technique which mimics digital fabrication, despite her working solely within the boundaries of oil paint. This act in itself is a tongue-in-cheek slight, given the limitless potential of achieving such images with the aid of technology. Through the pristine level of finish in my subjects I participate in the historical tradition of portraiture and still life painting, while hyperbolic color and abstracted formal elements situate my pieces firmly in an artificial space, both highlighting and re-contextualizing reality.
Creating an interplay between the contemporary screenworld and traditional techniques, Arno Beck’s work generally deals with the analog transformation of digital imagery. Growing up with the computer being an integral part of his life, “digital” is default mode for him— meaning that almost all the works are drafted on the computer at first. As digital images are based on information instead of material, the translation process into physical, haptic existence is of central significance to his work. Utilizing different methods such as working with a typewriter, woodblock printing or working with a pen plotter, his my aim is to make digital images tangible and physically experienceable from a painter’s perspective.
Dario Buscheli’s work gives material form through the medium of painting, to the experience of looking at photographic documentation of paintings on the internet. These paintings are born out of his desire to relate to the practices artist of whom he admires (and extend beyond his geographic location). However, this wish comes up against specific shortcomings of internet technologies: the internet-mediated photographic documentation, which can only provide the viewer with the experience created within the photograph, rather than that of looking at the painting in person. The viewer is further alienated from the paintings depicted in the photography. These themes have recently become more prominent as the public socially distances and exhibition spaces temporarily close to the public. This reality emphasizes that many people initially (or exclusively) experience works of art in photographic images mediated by the internet, rather than in person.
Danny Jarratt’s practice reflects a keen interest in the intersection of pop culture, queer theory and resistance. His paintings, videogames and installations function as micro utopias and queer counterpublics which allow the view to escape the impositng day to day ideologies and expectations, with fun approachable forms. He decidedly works with videogames for their ability to create interactive worlds. Jarratt often finds queer theory valuable; however, he believes it is often classist and others anyone without higher education and time. He attempts to democratise queer theory information into visual and casual forms. His work uses concepts of utopian, queer futurism and parallel universes to image new queer spaced where teteronormativity is disrupted. He is currently reimaging if the gay liberation movements took place in different times and what impact that would have on the videogame market.
Filled with explorations of color, surface and space, Dan Becker’s paintings are inspired by the beauty of the natural world and informed by the filters of the digital world. He works intuitively with vibrant colors and expressive mark making to convey mood and motion while creating layered compositions with aerosol, airbrush and acrylic paint. He cuts out stencils by hand and masks off his work in sections to employ graphic elements, a mixture of free form and designed, geometric and organic, paint poured and spattered wildly in one moment, and delicately defined in the next. The process is a dance between chaos, control, experimentation, planning and play. This process informs his work as it progresses, allowing for unpredictable outcomes which further informs the next.
How we said goodbye to loved ones, and processed our grief, radically changed during the CoVid pandemic like so many of our rituals, rhythms and social practices. iPad Goodbyes is a series of fiber-based artworks created by Krista Hoefle seeking to humanize the technology used to mediate these final moments of comfort and closure between dying CoVid patients and their family members. Each work is the approximate size of an iPad Pro, and framed with a window much like the device’s framing around the interior screen. Both recycled fabrics (from thrift stores and clothing scraps) and hospital gowns were used as media in the series. The text reflects different points of view in the new closure ritual: a nurse’s hope as she holds the iPad, a journalist’s observation, a family member’s gratitude for the chance to say goodbye.
Kylie McConnell uses photographic material as a point of departure for my constructed paintings and assemblages. The acts of collage, construction, and editing are the center around which her work revolves. By using image scanners, she is able to capture materials in high resolution while abstracting the material through misuse and abbreviation. Imagery gets printed and cut back into, painted on top of, scanned, shifted in size, edited through software, and printed again. Analog and digital marks work in unison, denying hierarchy between the two. In the end, the distinction of the “artist’s hand” is blurred. The cyclical nature of this process raises questions of significance and function after moments are continuously displaced and re-presented . Her commitment to play and exploration aims to elicit an interaction of both pleasure and humor for the viewer.
Contrasting layers in Michael Cody Drury’s paintings role-play light and dark, real and fake, conscious and unconscious, analogue and virtual. He starts by spray painting after dark, in his backyard when his neighbors are supposedly asleep. And so, the backgrounds come about blindly. Then, he makes conscious decisions on how to project, screen, obfuscate, infiltrate, and ultimately harmonize with the celestial environments, even if there is some bickering along the way. The titles of his works can be read as a dialogue between layers in the painting, the painting and the artist, or even the painting and viewer, and are often lifted from a 1973 book called, Metatalk: The Guide to Hidden Meanings in Conversation by Nierenberg and Calero.
Starting from an interest in the legacy of Modernism, Charley Peters’ work considers the manifestation of the abstract in the context of contemporary visual media, such as TV, the Internet and computer desktops. Her meticulously made paintings reflect the graphically complex world in which we now live, where we simultaneously see multiple ‘windows’ on computer screens, smartphones and digital tablets. By juxtaposing the familiar sensibilities of the Hard Edge, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art with aesthetics suggestive of the development of the information age, Peters references the language of High Modernism in the context of the recent phenomena of the high tech, filtered through the analogue act of painting. The material and illusionary properties of paint are important to the artist as a means of interrogating experiences of reading space, substance and abstract form in contemporary visual culture. These properties respond to the once radical symbols of formal abstraction, which have become aestheticised signifiers of the dematerialised post-digital image world.
Anna Nero’s work deals with different modalities of painting and the possibilities of image-making, representation and process. It frequently starts with the input given to her by her everyday environment, which can be banal, formal, trendy, vulgar or even silly. In the process, she constantly crosses paths between strict and sleek geometrical forms and bold, playful brush strokes of which her paintings oscillate – constructed and intuitive, strict and playful. Most paintings start with systematic grids and patterns, which are overpainted by gestures and forms in the following process. The grid makes it easier for her to ‘place’ objects or gestures on the canvas, and it is an operating, organizing system as well as an element in the painting itself.