Artist of the Week: Christian Dietkus
Christian Dietkus was born in Oakland, California and received his BFA from the Cooper Union in 2005 and his MFA from Columbia University in 2013. Working in painting and sculpture his work explores the intersection of personal subjectivity, consumer culture and sexuality. He has exhibited nationally including Deitch Projects, Family Business, Salon 94 and Louis B. James in New York. He is also the recipient of the Michael S. Vivo Memorial Prize and the Fred A. Lane Prize for excellence in painting.
Photo by Chad Davis Creative
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I was born and raised in the Bay Area in California where I was involved in youth activism before I was seriously interested in art. I moved to New York City to attend the Cooper Union where I studied painting and photography and have stayed ever since. My work is primarily a painting and sculpture practice that explores the intersection of personal subjectivity, consumer culture, and sexuality.
Christian Dietkus, Northern Shell 119, 2011 acrylic on Epson print on board, shelf 8.5 x 11 inches
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Right now I am interested in pressure as an organizing principle. More specifically I have been making sculptures, which use only confluent pressure as a means of cohesion. Whenever I see a sculpture, a piece of furniture, a building or even a body, my mind immediately tries to visualize how the thing is held together, why it doesn’t just fall apart, and what tools were needed to make it. This led me to the idea of pressure both literally and as a metaphor. In the sculptures, this is expressed by including the tools used in the making of the sculpture with the sculpture––thus creating a contiguous chain of making. The result is hopefully an autonomous object free of said preoccupation.
Christian Dietkus, Untitled (confluence series I ) 2013 Oak, paint, digital print, brick Dimensions variable
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? A few things actually. The first is a wonderful project happening in early February which is a sort of conceptual fashion show of artist designed track suits made as a gesture of protest to the Russian governments treatment of LGBT peoples. I am thrilled to be included in such an illustrious roster of artists. The event which is called “Purple and Gold” is going to be in NYC opening at Louis B. James Gallery on February 7th. Additionally I am really excited to be working on a publication of writings by painters, which should be coming out in 2014. The project is being spearheaded by artist Dana Schutz and will comprise contributions from about twenty artists writing on a wide variety of topics. I am writing about the concept of “emergent adulthood” and provisionality in painting. The last thing is my first solo show in Brussels which will be opening in the fall at Ricou Gallery.
Christian Dietkus, Untitled (confluence series I ) 2013 Oak, paint, digital print, brick Dimensions variable
How did your interest in art begin? The earliest memory I have of what could be called art was a cataloging project of sorts where I drew and named all of my stuffed animals of which there were hundreds as well as other objects and personal effects in my room. I spent hours and hours trying to make exacting drawings which were labeled and given tittles. The endeavor was somewhere between a taxonomy and a character study, a line I still strive for.
Christian Dietkus, Mesh I, 2012 Epson print and aluminum dimensions variable
What artists are you interested in right now? This is an ever changing list but I would say right now I have been thinking about Bracha Ettinger, Rebecca Horn, Mark Manders and Bernard Frize to name a few.
Christian Dietkus, Flow I , 2013 acrylic on tabloid on canvas panel 28 x 23 inches
What past trends in art do you think should never come back? Anything that is referred to as “Classic”, I cringe every time I hear that word. One only needs to read Robert Rosenblum’s “Transformations in Late Eighteenth Century Art” to realize how illusory and conditioned the word “classic” is in reference to art or anything for that matter. It seems to suggest an artwork that can transcend the values and anxieties of its own time which of course is impossible.
Christian Dietkus, Mouthpiece (side view detail ), 2012 Aluminum, speaker, sound recording, amplifier, wood
Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? I would really like to collaborate with a motion capture scientist. I have some ideas about making a compressed topographic surface from the data collected from motion capture, almost like a digitally derived bas-relief.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops? My working process is quite similar to the logic of a fetish object. It usually begins with an irrational attraction to a readymade image or commodity object, which then sits in the studio while it collects attachments, associations, thoughts and observations. This process can take a weeks, months or even years at which point I make an artwork about the thing.
Christian Dietkus, Roll I ( In Touch for Moshé ), 2013 acrylic on tabloid on canvas panel 72 x 84 inches
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? This is a tough one but I would have to say “Hierve el Agua” which is a petrified waterfall and natural mineral spring to the east of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. It’s basically looks like nature made an infinity pool in the middle of a deserted canyon. If you go in the off season you might be lucky enough to not see a single person all day. It’s just you and the sound of this dripping water which you know has been going on for millennia.
Christian Dietkus, Mime (Green), 2013 acrylic and collage on canvas 11 x 8.5 inches
What are you reading right now? Right now I am reading a book called “The Conquest of Cool” which is a historical analysis of advertising and its relationship to counterculture. The book maps the dramatic shifts in corporate culture and advertising which happened between the 1950’s and the 1960’s. For me the most striking part about the book is how the shifts that happened within that decade create a sort of social contrapposto to the changes that occurred in fine art.
Artist of the Week: Lucas Briffa
Lucas Briffa was born and raised in Oakland, California. He received his BA in Visual Arts from Oberlin College in 2012 and is currently pursuing his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 2012-2013 he spent one year working as a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Academic Programs at the Allen Memorial Art Museum.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I was raised by ballet dancers who thought it better to home school their children than send them to Oakland public schools. Because of all my free time I spent most of my childhood camping and traveling around the Pacific Northwest. I also spent a lot of time alone. Sometimes, as a child, I would get up at 7am and watch the sunrise from my front yard. I used a steel pipe for protection. Often the impulse I am following is reminiscent of the terrifying and euphoric. In my practice I would say that almost all my research is about how we experience landscape, directly and through mediation.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? The polar vortex. I was in the Bay Area when it passed through Chicago, but I keep searching for traces of its effect on the city. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this video.
How did your interest in art begin? When I was five or six my grandfather taught me how to use a film camera and together we printed a picture in his homemade darkroom. After that, it wasn’t until high school that I was exposed to fine art. Sean McFarland was the first photographer to introduce me to people like Olafur Eliasson, Todd Hido, and Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison. Seeing those images inspired me to make visible my interpretation of how reality is constructed and experienced.
What were you like in high school? There was a rumor that I slept with one of my teachers.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? The creation of the real through the artificial is something I have returned to with several projects. Currently I am working on arranging a stream in my studio. For now it is made up of paper water and resin rocks, but I will eventually incorporate traces of people. I am also helping put a publication together that will showcase the work of all the graduate photography students and will be accompanied by a text from Karsten Lund. It will be available at the MFA thesis show coming this Spring.
What past trends in art do you think should never come back? I hope that no trends ever come back. That means we’re failing.
Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? When I was in college I played a video game designed by Fumito Ueda called Shadow of the Colossus. For about a week I spent more time wandering around that world than I did in real life. I have been fantasizing about designing a virtual landscape with him ever since.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? Anywhere near a Giant Sequoia. Some of them are 3,000 years old and over 300 feet tall. Also they make the air smell amazing.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops? I think of my process as a cumulative one. Almost everything I end up making is directly responding to something I have done before. In this way I think I am trying to simultaneously look as far forward as I do behind. Recently I have been scrapping a lot of projects. I hope that means a change is going to come.
What are you reading right now? The Sublime from the Documents of Contemporary Art publication put out by Whitechapel Gallery, The Picturesque: architecture, disgust and other irregularities by John Macarthur, and a book of poems by Rumi.
Click through the photo for the Facebook event.
Artist of the Week: Spencer Stucky
Spencer Stucky graduated from the University of Oregon in 2011 with a BFA in photography. During his time at school he was in numerous group and solo shows and released several books under the publishing collective QUOIN. Spencer was born in San Francisco in 1987. He currently lives in Chicago, Illinois and is enrolled in the Photography MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I was born in San Francisco, California, and lived there for a while before we moved on over to Oakland. I received a BA in Art History and a BFA in photography from the University of Oregon, where I worked at (and was wildly excited by) Ditch Projects. After undergrad, I moved back to Oakland and worked with Lower Bottom Gallery for about two years before moving to Chicago for SAIC’s MFA photo program. My practice currently calls on a wide range of disciplines, from photography to sculpture and drawing. Right now I am investigating the intersection of architectures, bodies, and nature. Also, I really like burritos.
How did your interest in art begin? Oh man, well, in the spirit of transparency, I will admit, it was skateboarding. I was really into skating when I was in my early teens. I would shoot skate photos of my friends, and eventually the camera started turning to what was happening on the periphery. I remember seeing work by Ed Templeton and Mark Gonzales in Thrasher and being floored. After school darkroom classes and a healthy obsession followed.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops? I usually start with an interest based on an experience, document, or object that I have found, and then try to examine why I was initially engaged. What makes _______ interesting? What is the history of ______ and how does that fit into a larger political, cultural, and historical lineage? I spend a great deal of my time researching and trying to answer these questions. Usually, I find the resolutions to any kind of formal decisions during the research process.
What were you like in high school? A skate rat.
What are you reading right now? Donna Harraway’s When Species Meet, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Meeting the Universe Halfway by Karen Barad, Modernity unbound: Other Histories of Architectural Modernity by Detlef Mertins, the Are you working Too Much? Post-Fordisim, Precarity, and the Labor of Art e-flux journal, and Skymall.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? During the winter, in Chicago, I would have to say the Lincoln Park Conservatory (although I haven’t gone yet this season). It is a beautiful victorian steel and glass greenhouse in Lincoln Park that dates back to 1877. The conservatory has a fantastic collection of tropical plants, including hundreds of orchid and fern varieties. Imagine walking in out of sub-freezing temperatures into a humid and 80 degree tropical paradise with a glass dome roof. It’s like a mini vacation.
Who is your ideal studio mate? Probably Matsuoka Shuzo
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I am currently finishing a project about the Paimio Sanitorium in Paimio, Finland. The work surrounds the use of the site and the architecture as a focusing apparatus for natural phenomena such as light, air, and vegetation for healing purposes. I also am making photographs and video work about a Chicago Police dog and motion capture technology. Besides these concrete projects, I have a few things floating around my head connecting a Swedish lightbulb factory, Trisha Brown, and photographs of swimsuits from the Nordiska museet archive, but I have no idea what will come of these. I’m also trying to get my act together and finally make some collaborative work with Steven Vainberg; a zine might be forthcoming.
If you were a drink what drink would you be? A Hamm’s.
Artist of the Week: Mike Rubin
Mike Rubin was born in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I grew up in Los Angeles and am currently pursuing my MFA in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I’m an object maker, mostly. My work makes use of a specialized image transfer process that I manipulate, known as Hydrographic Dipping––it’s a surfacing technique that allows me to image three-dimensional objects.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Well, I guess in a way to answer all three variations of that question, I could discuss The Quarter Project. It’s a sculpture that gets built over the course of my lifetime. I fabricate the object by swallowing, digesting, and shitting out a single commemorative coin over and over, in repetition, for the rest of my life. In this way, I’m using my body as a sculptural apparatus, allowing the parasympathetic muscle response in my digestive tract and the acid in my stomach to mark and shape the object with each cycle.
The project began with the conceptual parameters of having the coin travel the length of a marathon through my digestive tract, an approximate 4,576 cycles. Although as time passed, I began to forge an incredibly strong psychological relationship with the thing, which seems to be more interesting.
What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue? I don’t have Netflix, is that still a thing?
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? I think a very real problem is the relationship of the work’s physical presence with that of its digital representation. I’m not sure how new this dilemma is, but it seems to becoming increasingly more understood that work exists in a variety of spatial capacities, which I’m not sure I agree with. I think a representation of the work, like the images provided here is something different than the work itself. Without speaking in absolutes, most art is designed to be oppositional to the body, at least in an experiential capacity. I think my work tries to deal with this object-image relationship in a very direct way.
How did your interest in art begin? I’m not really sure I have a good answer for that one. When I was an Undergraduate, it took me a long time to even realize that the things I was thinking, or interested in, even had anything to do with art. I think like most, I just started visually consuming to sustain myself, through film, then literature and eventually objects. As for my conceptual concerns, the first time I visited the Tabasco factory in Louisiana could potentially have played a part.
How has living in Chicago affected your art practice? Well, I moved to Chicago for Grad School, so the city itself has had a great impact on my work, considering the artists and curators I’ve studied under. At first, I think I was naively hesitant to be away from NY or LA, but ultimately found that Chicago is maybe one of the more positive places to marinate during graduate study. It has some of the more exciting and experimental spaces that are complimented with the accessibility of the larger institutions. But more than anything, I think the city’s rich musical and architectural history is something that I think about a lot.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I eat and shit the same quarter over and over to make sculpture.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? Predominantly I work with an image transfer process, in which I can inkjet print images on a specialized Polyvinyl Alcohol transparency, then transfer those images onto three dimensional objects. I do this by building massive water tanks in the studio and laying the printed transparencies on the surface of the water, after a chemical activator that I make is applied, I can then push the object of choice though the liquefied image and adhere it to the three dimensional structure.
I use Jeff Wall’s essay, Photography and Liquid Intelligence, as a way to build on an understanding that connects the wetness of traditional image making to more archaic and historical forms of manual labor surrounding water. There seems to be something about the physicality as I carry buckets of water back and forth to fill the tanks, using hoists and cranks to raise and lower the objects and ultimately liquefying the image, as a means of acknowledging our inundated state.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? Carol Bove had a show at Maccarone I saw in NY a few months ago that was pretty great. I also saw Mike Kelly’s retrospective at PS1 last week, which totally blew my mind.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I’ve been invited to participate in a group show in Puerto Rico this month and another in Chelsea, in early February. But two other artists and myself will be showing some new work here in Chicago at Roots and Culture, Opening January 24th. Come out, should be fun!
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? I had the opportunity to show some work at SAIC’s booth at EXPO Chicago. I showed a sculpture that sits next to a really beautiful facsimile of an old fashioned doughnut that I sculpted. Long story short, I guess that it looked too real, because the maintenance crew swept it up with the trash and threw it out. Which was actually pretty flattering, and much more poetic than selling the thing.
Artist of the Week: Alex Turgeon
Alex Turgeon lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He received his BFA from Emily Carr University (CA) and Kunsthochschule Weißensee (DE) in 2010 and has since participated in exhibitions in North America and Europe. In 2011 he participated in the visual arts residency From Tool Box for a Serving Library lead by Dexter Sinister at the Banff Centre for the Arts (CA). From 2011 he has been presenting poetry projects in the form of readings, performances and publications. He is also the founding editor at General Fine Arts, a quarterly e-journal focused on poetry, prose and fiction.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. I moved to Vancouver when I was thirteen and studied sculpture at Emily Carr University, as well as a year stint as an exchange student in Berlin between 2008-2009. After finishing my degree I moved back to Berlin, where I have been based sense 2011. Recently I have been focusing on poetry and photography in my work, and looking at how to combine the two mediums through publications or video. That being said my work is not medium specific as it can range from installation to readings and performance. I am more interested in exploring relationships between formal and social systems in my work, such as gender, sexuality and capitalism.
Best Friends (Diptych), Chain with Pendant, 2013
How long have you lived in Berlin and what brought you there? About three and a half years in total. As I mentioned earlier I originally came here to study, but fell in love with Berlin quite naturally, which appears to be an epidemic here…Berlin seemed like the most appropriate place to try out being an artist after school, I had a base here from studying and it was a big enough city that things were still in flux, Berlin still gave the impression of possibility. It was also much easier to move to Berlin, then say New York. The romance of living in Berlin has kind of faded away for me, but I still enjoy living here. I guess it is home for me to some regard.
Best Friends (Diptych), Chain with Pendant, 2013 (Detail)
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Since last summer I have been working with Berlin based e-publisher Version House on developing a quarterly e-journal with a focus on poetry, prose and fiction. The e-journal is titled General Fine Arts and we launched the first issue this past September in New York at Cleopatra’s. The publication’s mandate is to incorporate newly commissioned works from writers, visual artists, musicians, etc. with republished works. Each issue is loosely thematic, however my interest in producing this publication is to foster relationships and connections between style and thematics from the past, present and future, rather than be a surgery of the now. General Fine Arts also is focused on expanding the field of creative writing through the platform of e-publishing, looking to challenge and expand how writing is published as well as presented. I am currently working on the second issue which is slated to be launched sometime in end of January 2014.
Best Friends (Diptych), Chain with Pendant, 2013 (Detail)
What past trends in art do you think should never come back? I find the term “trends” in art rather problematic. I think that in historicizing art, works have been canonized as a way of understanding where they come from, rather than being something styled to keep up with an aesthetic sensibility. Of course there are artists and markets that feed of the idea of “newness”, as well as artists that become factories to produce variations on a theme to feed supply and demand. I am really against these models in my work, I am interested in responding to my environment, my experiences, and how these are filtered through my artistic language. If for some reason a fellow artist exists within the same environment and shares similar experiences then perhaps there would be similarities. However I feel the pressure for young artists to keep up with the aesthetics of an idea of “now” rather problematic.
Thoughts for Food, C-Print, 2013
What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue? I don’t have a Netflix account.
Installation view, Room with a View, 2013 (Detail)
What are you reading right now? Aliens & Anorexia by Chris Kraus, Visions of Excess by Georges Bataille and also snipping in and out of The Dream Police, Selected Poems 1969-1993 by Dennis Cooper. I have this problem where I will pick up a book and read half of it then pick up another one at the same time and read a bit then go back and forth. I just go through phases of interests. At the moment am exploring more fiction and creative writing. I feel it nourishes my creativity.
Installation view, Room with a View, 2013
What artists are you interested in right now? Paul Thek hands down, his work has really been resonating with me right now, its very visceral. I first saw a show of his work at a group show with Luc Tuymans in 2012 and was quite mesmerized by this weird queerified Beuysian future-past tomb aesthetic to the work. As if the treasures of some pharaoh’s tomb from the future where unearthed and placed within an exhibition space. The artist as subject, but also as representation. It really showed the breadth of this work. Also I have been rethinking/rehashing my interest in David Wojnarowicz and the subsequent New York scene in the late 80’s, including Jack Smith. I read Wojnarowicz’s “Close To Knives” some years ago I remember his aggression and sensitivity really coming through. Around that same time I was also reading “Safe” by Dennis Cooper. I feel like these two pieces are really vibrating for me, like some sort of Pandora’s box. I would like to look at them again, I think its a good time to look back at these works.
But on a more contemporary note I recently saw a show of Henrik Olsen’s work here in Berlin which was probably one of my favourite shows I have seen in a long time (at least all year), he has such a way with subtleties. I feel his work (or at least this show) was so fantastically poetic and romantic, but also very sinister. I like the way he thinks about the whole architecture of the space, down to the holes in the wall.
There is this Paul Thek quote that Kraus brings up in Aliens & Anorexia that I feel is a great way of responding to this idea of “trend” that was brought up earlier:
"The name of the game seemed to be ‘how cool can you be’ and ‘how refined.’ Nobody ever mentioned anything that seemed real. The world was falling apart, anyone could see it. I was a wreck, the block was a wreck, the city was a wreck; and I’d go to a gallery and there’d be a lot of people looking at stuff that didn’t say anything about anything anymore" - 1981
Marble Tongue, HD Video 6’00” Loop, 2013
Tell us about your work process and how it develops? My process is somewhat convoluted, but I have been pulling mostly from a personal history and abstracting it. I have an interest in painting, but have such a difficult time believing in myself as a painter. I feel that my compositions are based on abstract painting, a tendency towards formalism, looking for meaning in abstraction, allowing for it to become illustrative and vice versa. I am interested in modes of translation, not just between different languages, but also dialects and how words, or texts, function both as a written and spoken language. When I was doing my undergrad in Vancouver I had a studio visit with a visiting professor and he said something that will last with me forever: “you have to create your own cosmology”. This is something that has really influenced how I conceptualize ideas and think about formal and thematic connections in my practice.
Bonfire of the Vanities, C-Print, 2012
Describe your current studio or workspace. For the better part of the year I have been working somewhere between the library and my apartment. This has been a very positive as well as frustrating experiment for me, as I have been with a studio basically since art school. Mostly it has allowed me to take more of a step back and think of alternative ways of production, focusing on the planning exhibitions and works, working through problems mentally. Just recently I acquired some new studio space, which I have yet to move into, but I am really looking forward to finding out what will come from it.
Serviette 1, C-Print and Hanging Materials, 2013
If you were a drink what drink would you be? Although I have never tried it, there is a brand of soda in Germany called Schwip Schwap which is a product of Pepsi that is a mix of Cola and Orange Soda. I think thats sort of a way of summing me up in a beverage…
A rose by any other name, C-Print, 2013
Artist of the Week: Andrew Brischler
Andrew Brischler (b. 1987, Long Island, NY) lives and works in New York, NY.
Since graduating from the School of Visual Arts MFA program in 2012, Brischler’s work has appeared in exhibitions throughout New York City and abroad. In 2012, Brischler opened his first solo exhibition, Goodbye to All That, at Gavlak Gallery in Palm Beach, Florida. That same year, Brischler’s work was featured in New American Paintings #98: Northeast Edition. In 2013, he was included in the exhibition 39greatjones curated by Ugo Rondinone at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich, Switzerland; he contributed work to the Whitney Museum of American Art Benefit Art Party Auction, and he was featured in a two-person booth alongside photographer David Haxton with Gavlak Gallery at NADA New York. In October 2013, Brischler was awarded a 2013 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Visual Arts Grant.
Currently, Brischler just opened his second solo exhbition with Gavlak Gallery in November 2013 as well as be featured in Gavlak Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach this December. In addition, Brischler’s work will be included in a group show This is the Story of America focusing on young New York painters at Brand New Gallery in Milan, Italy, and in January 2014, Brischler will contribute a new large scale painting to a major group survey, Painting: A Love Story, at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, Texas.
Andrew Brischler is represented by Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FL.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. My name is Andrew Brischler. I grew up on Long Island, received my BFA from SUNY New Paltz in 2009, and received my MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2012. I used to say that I was an abstract painter, but recently I’ve dropped the “abstract” part––something just didn’t sound right about it. So I’ll just say that I’m a painter.
What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue? First of all, I’d just like to come clean and fess up to being a proud subscriber of cable television, a fact which I’ve become increasingly shameful about being a twenty-something living in Brooklyn. Right now, I’m totally immersed in American Horror Story: Coven (Angela Bassett hasn’t channeled vengeance this expertly since her seminal role in Waiting to Exhale), and if I’m not at my studio on Sunday afternoons, I usually find myself entrenched in an hours-long Roseanne marathon on WEtv; Roseanne is, without a doubt, my favorite sitcom and continues to stay, almost 15 years after it’s series finale, totally relevant.
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? I think any young artist with some semblance of “buzz” around his or her work deals with a level of doubt and dread. Honestly, I constantly struggle with issues of self-worth, the work never feeling really good enough (whatever that means), and how it fits––if at all––into the dialogue of the New York art world. It’s a balancing act; you want to make work that will get you noticed but is also still inexplicably, deeply you. And then I look at these guys with an incredible amount of white heat around them––Lucien Smith, Sam Falls, Jacob Kassay, Oscar Murillo—who two years ago made work in relative obscurity and are now being thrown around by mega galleries, seeing work they made 12 months ago up at auction, and they’re still expected to make good work? It all makes my head spin.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? My work takes notions of weakness as an abstract painter and connects them to my own personal feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness as a gay man. To that end, I recycle standard tropes of abstraction. Hard edged geometry, super-saturated color gradients, bold stripes, and thick bands of impastoed paint are isolated onto studio-beaten canvas, and embedded with pieces of contemporary culture like fragments of typography, nonsensical doodles, and titles culled from hip-hop lyrics. The finished paintings are at once pieces of cultural detritus as well as documents of my own uneasiness: images that conflate definitions of success and failure, chance and contrivance, aloofness and emotional unraveling.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? I’m really devoted to traditional materials––oil paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, markers, and graphite. My process is usually driven by an initial image in my head inspired by anything from the typeface of a movie poster to color combinations in Paul Klee’s early work. Then it’s just about execution, and depending on the type of piece I’m working on, the execution can take anywhere from a week (my recent Air paintings are all about 5-6 glazes of oil paint on smoothly gessoed canvas) to 2-3 months for the colored pencil drawings on panel; the colored pencil pieces are exhausting, frustrating, tedious, and seriously painful for my hand; that notion of labor, discipline, self-sacrifice, and slow punishment is so important to the conceptual success of them.
What artists are you interested in right now? This is a short mix of all time favorites and current obsessions: Mary Heilmann, Alex Katz, Wade Guyton, Bjarne Melgaard, John McCracken, David Wojnarowicz, Cindy Sherman, Dana Schutz, Ed Ruscha, Mark Grotjahn, Matt Connors, Wendy White, Rob Pruitt, Joe Bradley, Ellsworth Kelly, Bruce Nauman, Ugo Rondinone, Christopher Wool, and last but certainly not least, my boss, Marilyn Minter.
How has your work developed within the past year? I think my practice has made a complete 180-degree change since finishing grad school in May 2012. I went straight from undergraduate school right into my graduate program, which meant that until recently I had never made work outside of an academic context––that is to say, without constant engagement with peers, professors, visiting critics, and those latent trends in painting that develop subconsciously within art schools. Since then, I’ve begun making work in a bigger, brighter, completely private studio, and the change has been dramatic. The work has gotten bigger, cleaner, become significantly more labor intensive, and has shifted away from the trend of “provisional painting” that I and many of my peers embraced. I’ve really become invested in the craft of painting and drawing––how the slow build up of material with my hands creates a deep, embedded sense pathos to the object.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? The Martin Creed shows up now at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and Hauser & Wirth are pretty amazing. I haven’t seen the Mike Kelley show at MoMA PS1 yet, but I’m going to preemptively say that one will definitely be a game changer for me.
What is your snack/beverage of choice when working in your studio? Without a doubt, my guilty pleasure in the studio is a two-pack of brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tarts from the bodega around the corner.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? One word: SoulCycle.
What are you listening to right now? On current heavy rotation: Lady Gaga, ARTPOP (it isn’t good, but “Gypsy” is revelatory); Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin on WNYC; the Mary J. Blige Christmas Album, A Mary Christmas; CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe; Janet Jackson, Number Ones; Madonna, Bedtime Stories; and most recently, the score to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, composed by Ennio Morricone.
Artist of the Week: Cody Tumblin
Cody Tumblin is a Chicago based artist from Nashville, Tennessee. He is a recent recipient of a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From his background in graphic design, Cody approaches his practice with a nod to type, semiotics, and the like. Generic decorative icons and subtle cryptic messages become inflated into uncertain mosaics of pattern, image, shape, contour and line. His time outside the studio is spent seeking out the best food in Chicago, expanding his library, collecting artwork and printed ephemera, and constantly watching any and all horror movies with his wife, Kayl Parker. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at The Salon for The Salon Series, SHIT IS REAL at Devening Projects + Editions (2013), a two person show, Pile Hunk Stage, with Kayl Parker at Gallery X (2013), Crossing the Palisades at SAIC (2013), and The Prospective Series pop-up gallery at Untitled (2013).
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I grew up in a small town just south of Nashville, TN and lived there until I came to school at SAIC in Chicago, where I live now with my wife, Kayl Parker, also an artist. Although I’m considered the artist in my family, my older brother was on the news for his artwork when he was in 4th grade. Ironically now, he’s pursuing his PhD in history, and I’m the one pursuing a career in the art world. I went from pursuing an English major, to the fashion department, to the visual communications/design world, and finally to just art. Ultimately though, my foundation is design-based. Learning that kind of approach and skillset really informed how I make art and how I read aesthetics.
I enjoy “floating” between the art and design worlds, and seeing where things meet up/ keeping up with trends and work on both ends is a large part of my routine.
I constantly absorb anything and everything at all times. I definitely admit I’m a bit of a social media nerd, and alongside running two of my own blogs, twitter acct, etc. I check at least 20+ blogs daily, alongside a few journals/magazines I can get my hands on. You know, there’s always a lot of conversation on how an artist should either be aware of what’s going on or completely ignore all the hype, all the trends and just make. But I’ve always loved pouring over images and text. It really fuels my practice. Aside from that, I work at Whole Foods right now haha.
But I’m primarily a painter. I make dyed paintings with dye on cotton. And do a bit of this and that, drawing here and there. I stick to simple images and color is a huge backbone of my practice. Bits and pieces things come together. I like to think it’s not all so complicated.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops? Typically, I try to force my work to portray a kind of attitude, something similar to the way Rebecca Morris’s Abstract Manifesto conveys a “fuck everything and go for it” kind of façade. “BLACK AND BROWN: THAT SHIT IS THE FUTURE.” I really enjoy it when work has this kind of persona. But typically, to gear myself into a kind of mode, I begin with drawing tons of thumbnails and wireframes. Just generating out crap, pushing out lots of similar compositions and images until I get into a good “zone” and things start to feel right. Sometimes words in all caps, sometimes there’s poetry and sentences. I like to use the word “shitty” a lot, and it comes up a lot in my drawings. It conveys the dumbness of the imagery/ drawing style while simultaneously carrying that attitude I mentioned earlier. So the work has to reflect that. I like it when the forms and space don’t sit quite right, so I try and keep myself sort of unbalanced.
Alongside the thumbnails, I keep a huge folder full of iPhone snap shots and things I drag off of blogs––things like snippets of a shitty screenprint of corn cobs on a box, to lots of posters/flyers, border motifs, “KISS” carved into cement outside my apartment. Mostly it’s design based. Type, design, and the forms that come along with editorial spreads and book covers really get me going. So I keep those handy when I’m generating my imagery.
All of this eventually boils down into something that agrees with me, and I put it into final production. This consists of preparing the fabric, lots of washing and ironing, mixing the dyes, getting the colors right. This is usually the easy part because I’m just laying down color/plotting things out and editing things out of/into the fabric until things balance out.
What are you reading right now? Well I just finished Ender’s Game haha. I was rereading it in prep for the movie (which was horrible, don’t see it) because I hadn’t read it since middle school. I’m always reading something of Stephen King’s. Usually his short stories. But I also just finished Joshua Abelow’s A Painter’s Journal, which was excellent. It was a bit like the soap opera of an Artist’s Life. But I loved it. Mostly just because it was exciting to peek into his life for me.
What artists are you interested in right now? That’s always tough. I’m always absorbing other people’s work. Every time I see work I like, I make a folder with the artist’s name and drag images into it. Same goes for new work of artists I already have. So I have a pretty hefty library of a few hundred folders by now.
But primarily, I always come back to Gary Hume. Got to see/learn quite a bit about him while I lived in London for 6 months. Joshua Abelow is also a constant presence in my mind. His work is phenomenal. Really nails it. And I check ART BLOG ART BLOG every day, usually 2-3 times haha. Christopher Knowles drawings are a huge one. Others would be Josh Smith, Henning Bohl, Allison Katz, Daan Van Golden, Arturo Herrera to name a few. Also, David Shrigley is another artist that I really look up to. It’s brilliant, flawless work, and it has a presence and attitude that most art will never be able to portray.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I recently found this book called “The X Directory: Kink Cards 1984/1994” while I was studying at Goldsmiths in London 2 summers ago. I bought it immediately. Amazing scans of kinky business cards that were taken from London telephone booths and street signs, advertising all sorts of devious acts and sexual desires of your wildest dreams. The typefaces, arrangements, and images are just brilliant, and at the same time they’re very naïve and DIY looking, much like punk zines. Most them are just made on Xerox machines. I can’t get enough.
Other things are those enormous mind blowing ornate drop caps found in old Manuscripts. Also, generally horror movies. My wife and I are always watching horror movies.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I like to keep a little mystery shrouded around my current work, but there’s definitely a lot of something “new” going on. I’ve been building a new series of paintings that rely more directly on type and more recognizable imagery. Things that think/feel like icons. I’ve been embracing my writing a bit more. I am also juggling a few newer things outside of my paintings that are weird. There might be some steel stuff in the near future. I’ve also been investing back into drawing more than anything, and making these sort of odd abstracted “flash sheets” with ink, which are getting translated into some interesting projects that I’m stoked about.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? 1) ART BLOG Like I said, I love Joshua Abelow’s work, and I love art blogs. So this is a 2 for one deal. He keeps really up to date with the art world and pulls out some random things occasionally. Always interesting.
2) Gilded Beast, Half Man Half Skeleton (my own blogs). My blogs and the blogs that influence them are a big part of my life. I enjoy building up a repertoire of artists and seeing what others are doing. I enjoy the community surrounding them.
3) Amazon.com. Kayl and I buy a lot of stuff online. And we’re huge book freaks so I have a huge, HUGE wishlist just full of artist monographs, cookbooks, zines, and the like. (If you want to get me anything for Christmas, just look there.)
Who is your ideal studio mate? Well right now it’s my wife, Kayl Parker. And honestly that’s the most ideal. It’ll probably always be this way. We get along really well, obviously. And since she’s a studio photographer, she’s rarely in the studio to take a photo, so our schedules balance out nicely. I like to sit in there by myself and work a bit, listen to some metal or rap, eat some chocolate covered pretzels, draw.
Describe your current studio or workspace I actually love our studio. We just started renting it in October. Little room in a large building full of other artists. Tall white walls with a big double window. Everything is Ikea. Ikea table, Ikea broom, Ikea glasses, Ikea Shelves––full of dyes, chemicals, rubber gloves, bottles, graduated cylinders, scales. It looks a bit like a science lab. We have a nice little fridge for Kayl’s film and my dyes. We always keep some Cheerios, peanut butter, granola bars, crackers and chocolate on deck. I also keep part of my loose leaf tea and tea cup collection there for civil enjoyment. Other than that there’s a big Ikea table with all my drawings, boxes full of fabric and color samples, and all of Kayl’s photo stuff––lights/poles/backdrops just hanging out in the corner. But we like to keep it clean and orderly. I like to sweep and pace around like I’m on to something.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? For the moment, no immediate shows are ahead which is nice. I just finished a solo show with The Salon Series and an awesome group show at Devening Projects + Editions earlier this year. I’m just building up work and taking my time, eating junk food in the studio and singing to Jay-Z. The usual. But I’ve been working on two secret collaborative projects with some artist/designer contacts recently, so you might hear about those soon. Top secret area 51 stuff.
Artist of the Week: Chris Nosenzo
Chris Nosenzo is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He works in a variety of media as well as publishing a biweekly art publication called Packet.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from Pratt Institute in 2011. Since graduation I’ve primarily worked in the art department of weekly magazines, first the New York Times Magazine, then Bloomberg Businessweek where I’ve been since last August.
Last year I began a biweekly art publication called Packet. We’ve produced 21 issues to date, with work from dozens of artists and writers. I also maintain a practice of my own work including photo, drawing, digital painting and publishing projects.
Who is your ideal studio mate? A few Aaliyah LPs. Maybe some Missy too. Also, a few little plants are always nice. I just got a cactus that looks like a lumpy crocodile.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Recently reprinted a book I made comparing the work of Yves Klein to Tobias Fünke of Arrested Development. It’s the “Revised and Expanded Second Edition" with additional content from the new season of Arrested Development and a more comprehensible critical essay thanks to editing from Christine Zhu.
Have been doing a lot of digital painting and drawing as well, both in an ongoing project called Black Goth Paintings, or just one off works in RGB. I got into digital painting in high school and it has been rewarding to revisit the medium with a different set of ideas almost 10 years later. So many cool photoshop filters to mess with now too.
I also just finished a project following the news of Syrian chemical attacks. For about two weeks I photographed my computer screen while visiting websites covering the “Crisis in Syria.” I’m fascinated by method and context in which we discover about “news,” this sort of flattened globalism. Personally I feel very far from truly relating to what happens in Syria on any level, and I wanted to bring that to tension with what is presented to us in western media.
Of course Packet is my biggest project. Just put out our first issue with Nicole Reber doing cover “headlines” which I’m really excited about. Issue #021 will be available within the next few days.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops? Herzog’s self-identification as a “soldier” always comes to my mind. Work is my process. “Head down, power through.” I’m also very restless and try not to repeat myself. In this way especially, I’m more reactionary than creationary, but creationary might not be a word––it’s getting the red underline. My photo approach is a good example. I carry around a black Olympus Stylus, taking exposures of moments I’m drawn to, then later develop and arranging ways to narrate, pair and bring together these banal pictures to a larger conversation with it’s own harmonies and hypocrisies.
It’s often about pushing something until it starts to feel wrong in a way that surprises me. I think a lot about choosing what decisions I don’t make. I like to keep it dumb. These ideas have come out a lot in Packet, where both the contributions and their presentation are in many ways unresolved. This approach is beneficial though in fostering an environment similar to an academic one, where ideas are more upfront and autonomous.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? Realization and education are important, hand in hand with confusion and senselessness. Binaries, always with one door closing another opens. With this though, I like to be content, and I hope those who encounter my work see it embraces balance warmly.
What are you reading right now? I just finished McCarthy’s Child of God. Currently reading Baron in The Trees by Calvino and finishing up Meaning Liam Gillick. Just started No Is Not an Answer, Marie-Louise Ekman is really inspiring me right now as well.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? A launch for Packet Vol. III will happen at Printed Matter November 14th. There will be a panel discussion between myself, Bridget Collins, Anthony Cudahy, and Nicole Reber, who have all made covers for Packet. The talk and the event will make up the content for the next issue following the event. It’ll be fun. Bridget, Nicole and Anthony are three artists who are both great friends of mine and equal sources of drive and inspiration in everything they do.
Describe your current studio or workspace. It’s my bedroom. There’s a large Risograph machine and a small desk with a MacBook. Papers are everywhere. There’s a photo I took in Cape Cod of a whale skull hanging over my bed.
Artist of the Week: Austin Ballard
Austin Ballard was born in Charlotte, NC. He received his MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and his BFA from the college of Art and Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Ballard has received numerous grants and awards including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Scholarship, the Dan Bown Project Award, Jeanne Stahl-Webber Sculpture Scholarship, the Rhode Island School of Design Graduate Studies Grant, and an Attilio and Emma Della Biancia Scholarship. He has received coverage for his work in the Providence Journal, ArtCat, Flux-Boston and awarded the Grand Prize at the 2012 Boston Young Contemporaries exhibit at Boston University. He has been awarded fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, the Ox-Bow School of Art, I-Park, the Wassaic Project, the ESW in Edinburgh, Scotland and most recently the McColl Center for Visual Art.
Ballard has exhibited in both solo and group shows throughout the nation and the UK. His next solo exhibition will be at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT this December. Austin Ballard currently teaches in the college of Art and Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I was born in Charlotte, NC where I have lived for most of my life. My father is from Louisiana and my mother from Chicago. I grew up always interested in the arts, although I’m not sure why since my mother was a mortgage lender and father, grandfather and all of my uncles were mechanics. My grandfather was a driver in NASCAR in the 60’s and 70’s and my father and uncles’ all pit crewmen when I was growing up. I went to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for undergrad thinking I was going to be an architect, before eventually making the shift to the art department to focus on sculpture. I went to the Rhode Island School of Design for my MFA. I am currently an instructor in the textiles and fibers department at UNCC, but see myself moving back up north this summer.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? Like many of my peers, my practice involves an array of materials, media and processes. My time is split between the woodshop and foundry where I am cutting, planning, joining, and welding new forms and the ceramic studio where much looser more intuitive vessels are created out of fired clay. I find the interlacing of these two categories of building sparks an interesting dialogue between collapse and control, solidity and fragility, and ultimately time and place.
I hope to create objects of a strange quirky elegance, while simultaneously engaging notions of modernism, architecture, and contemporary craft. The hand coiled ceramic vessels are meant to recall arid landscapes and natural rock formations like that of a Chinese philosophers stone or a Hoodoo from the Midwest. While the more linear steel and wood components are derived from fetishized simplifications in modern furniture and architectural design. I implement such off beat material combinations––wood/glass, ceramic/steel, and plastic/concrete––to reinforce these questionably balanced and seemingly contrary coexistences.
While the work is designed to appear stacked, propped, leaned, or wedged together, creating snapshots of imminent shifts or improbable couplings, further investment signals that they are both engineered and crafted to notch, slide, and rest into one another.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I am currently creating some new work for my next solo show at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT this December. The show will consist of new and recent sculptural works as well as introduce some new works on paper that began at my Ox-Bow residency, in Michigan this past fall. The show will be up from December 19th to February 14th.
I will also be in a group exhibition at Projekt 722 in Brooklyn, NY this spring, the 2014 Wassaic Project Summer Exhibition in Wassaic, NY and the Rosewood Gallery in Kettering, OH in July.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? I am still reeling from my encounter with Francis Alys’ A Story of Deception exhibit at MoMA in New York and seeing Abraham Cruzvillegas’ Autodestruccion’s at Regan Projects last year. Both Alys’ and Cruzvillegas work offer up an experience of raw heaviness and yet whether it is one of Alys videos or Cruzvillegas sculptures, the physical manifestations of their work are surprisingly weightless. Both artists are masterful in their ability to get my heartbeat racing, making me feel not as if I am a spectator, but as though I am in the space with them.
What is your snack/beverage of choice when working in your studio? First off, I was born and raised in the south, so I live off of sweet tea. When I lived in New England the first thing I would do when making a trip back to NC was stop by a local Cook Out and order a large sweet tea. And anyone who knows me also knows that I love anything and everything to do with chocolate, especially chocolate pastries, muffins, cookies, cake, etc.
During a residency in Wassaic, NY I was coming back to my room super late at night after working in the studio and was dying for some chocolate chip cookies that I had bought the day earlier. Only to find that when I peeled open the package nearly all of the chocolate chips had been scooped out of the cookies, leaving empty cookie shells. It didn’t take long to realize that a mouse or bug had gotten into them and eaten just the chocolate out. I eventually threw them out, but not after debating, just a little to long, about whether or not to eat the few that seemed to be untouched.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? When I’m not doing the art thing, be it working in my own studio, visiting friend’s studios or going to openings, I am probably playing music, ping-pong, gin rummy or poker. While I have my own place now, I’m used to living with a bunch of people. They always became total punk houses. Bands wound up playing our living rooms, there would be full on ping-pong table sessions inside, nurf wars and card games were pretty common. My last roommate Yuki and I decided to paint our entire living room wall into an American flag. We were stoked when we found out that the next tenants liked it enough to not have it painted over.
What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue? The last movie I watched on Netflix was Hick. I was surprised how much I dug it; it was a random choice that totally paid off. It takes quite an unexpected turn and Eddie Redmayne does an amazing job playing the twisted cowboy drifter. Outside of Netflix, I watch Boardwalk Empire and Homeland pretty regularly.
Tell us a joke. What did the optimist say when he jumped off the building?
…So far so good.
What are you listening to right now? The Steep Canyon Rangers, Tycho, Liars, Sandro Perri, Lee Fields, and Mammoth Grinder have been pretty repetitive lately.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Ok, so I guess the most ‘positive’ reaction I have ever received for my work was at my last solo show in Philly, where a collector/gallerist bought one of my works on paper. However, I sort of equate the best and worst reaction I have ever had to my work happening simultaneously. It was at a group show in Providence about two years ago, where I had installed a series of sculptural elements together on one large low-lying plinth. One of these elements happened to be a hand drawn replica of a crumpled Dunkin Donuts bag. It was about 10 minutes in to the opening that I realized that this piece was missing. After asking the gallery manager and others if they knew what I happened, I realized that the building janitor had thrown it out, believing it to be someone’s trash put on an artwork. At first I was bummed, but then I thought the whole situation was great, it was the most sincere and honest reaction I could have asked for.
Artist of the Week: Laura Aldridge
Laura Aldridge (b. 1978) graduated with an MFA from Glasgow School of Art in 2006 ,spending a period of exchange at CALARTS, Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include: THINGS HELD INSIDE//THE NEW SEA, Kendall Koppe, Glasgow, LAxLA, Milagro Alegro Community Gardens, Los Angeles, 2012; Underside, backside, inside, even, CCA, Glasgow, 2012; Cairn, Pittenweem, Fife, 2011; Studio Voltaire, London, 2011 and Cats are not important, Transmission Gallery,Glasgow. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at Venues including White Columns, New York, Shane Campbell, Chicago and Supplement, London.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I am an artist and I currently live and work in Glasgow. I work with all kinds of materials from photography, screen print, ceramics, fabric, cement. I also work as part of a collaborative group called Poster Club. We meet to make and design posters, treating printmaking as a site for experimental collaborative practice.
How has living in Glasgow affected your art practice? Glasgow is a great for making work. It’s cheap to live here and there is an amazing support system for artists in the form of funding, artist run galleries, project spaces, other artists––it means being in the studio and making progress with your practice is a reality. There are also several great public access workshops, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow Print Studio, MAKLab at the lighthouse––they all make fabricating your own work possible. It rains a lot in Glasgow too, so I get a lot done!
Who is your ideal studiomate? Easy, my plants.
If you were a drink what drink would you be? A big cup of bubble tea, probably mango flavored.
How did your interest in art begin? With my sister––as children we would make our own books, magazines, perfume, pottery and toys.
What artists are you interested in right now? Sister Corita, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Hayley Tompkins, Alexandra Birckin, Cosima Von Bonnin, Ree Morton to name but a few…
Tell us about your work process and how it develops? I have a predominantly studio based practice––I work with materials, thoughts and feelings to develop works, trying to draw out relationships between these things as I recognize them in external sources and processes of making. There is always a push and pull for me between clarity, realization and material. I tend to gather, and look and gather and look, then filter, then add things, take away things, move things about––the work often has an air of lightness––this is important––but its hard fought, and works can take many months before they become something.
How long have you lived in Glasgow and what brought you there? I moved here to study at The Glasgow School of Art in 2004. I’ve remained in Glasgow since, with a few breaks here and there––I lived in Amsterdam for 6 months in 2009, and try and spend time in Los Angeles after doing an exchange at CalArts whilst on the MFA in Glasgow.
What are you reading right now? So the wind won’t blow it all away by Richard Brautigan.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I am working towards a collaborative project with Los Angeles based artist Anna Mayer called Openaries, it’s for Glasgow International Festival of Visual art (GI) here in Glasgow next year. I also have a solo show at Tramway, Glasgow in 2014––Tramway is one of the biggest gallery spaces in Europe, I think…it’s enormous. It’s fast approaching and both an extremely exciting and daunting opportunity.
Describe your current studio or workspace. I work out of a studio building called Grey Wolf Studios which I run with my good friend and fellow artist Nick Evans. We have around 15 artists here, all making and doing, so its a good place to be. My own studio, it’s a mess! I’m in the middle of making work for a show at Supplement Gallery, London, so after weeks of frenetic activity, there are bits of fabric strewn all over the place, clay everywhere and concrete dripping from the ceiling––I’m a messy maker.
Artist of the Week: Kubiat Nnamdie
Kubiat Nnamdie is an artist living and working in Miami and New York, working in a variety of media including video, photography, sculpture, and painting. His work addresses issues related to spiritual and psychological events in contemporary society.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m an artist native of Nigeria. I am currently living/working between Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Miami, Florida. At the moment, I am working on a photographic series for a forthcoming solo in Florida.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’ve been shooting a project for 2 years for a solo show, Feel Alright. Additionally, I have been working on two photographic series, one inspired by Metanoia and the other informed by research I’m doing at a local Jamaican dance hall.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? My work addresses spiritual and psychological events in contemporary society, and I work in a variety of media to communicate this.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? I have two. Josh Kline’s Quality of Life at 47 Canal and Michael St. John’s Country Life at Andrea Rosen Gallery.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? Cooking, working out, reading, and drumming.
What are you really excited about right now? Making new work and artists who value their health as much as the work they make.
What are you listening to right now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rtn06ZW9Xm0
What is your ideal studio situation/workspace? A big cabin in the woods.
Artist of the Week: Theodore Darst
Theodore Darst is an artist based in Chicago, IL. His video, prints, and interactive digital environments have been exhibited at numerous venues including 319 Scholes (NYC), bubblebyte.org (online), Jean Albano (Chicago), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), and The Museum of the Moving Image (NYC). In addition, he has provided live visuals for a variety of musicians including The-Drum, Disclosure, Mister Lies, Slava, and Supreme Cuts. He was a 2013 HATCH Projects Artist in Residence at the Chicago Artists Coalition and is a 2016 MFA candidate at Bard.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m an artist based in Chicago, IL. I make videos, prints, and video game environments. I also make music videos and do live visuals for some bands.
How has living in Chicago affected your art practice? Coming to Chicago and participating in the so called “dirty new media” scene was incredibly influential in terms of expanding my notions of the potential of art made with computers. I think the absence of a strong commercial scene leaves room for consistently interesting work to be shown. The cheap rent prices have had a huge enabling affect on my ability to maintain an art practice.
Who is your ideal studiomate? None. I really like to work alone.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Right now I’m making some visuals for Mister Lies who is touring again soon and some other new visuals for VIA Festival in Pittsburgh in October. Working on a new piece for a screening coming up at Transfer gallery in Brooklyn and trying finish my screenplay for a documentary I’m making about Fred Durst.
What artists are you interested in right now? Currently looking at anything by Travess Smalley, Sara Ludy, Joe Hamilton, Laturbo Avedon, Sabrina Ratté, Andrew Norman Wilson, Kate Steicw. I saw a great video by Robert Chase Heishman recently that I’ve been thinking about a lot.
What past trends in art do you think should never come back? 92% of experimental film stuff. Leaning objects against walls to signify IDGAF status. I guess this isn’t really a “past trend” but the whole selfies as a new form of art thing is played out.
What are you reading right now? Currently reading Going Public by Boris Groys. I recently finished this book about the rise of Al Qaeda pre-9/11 called The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright which was pretty incredible. I try to keep up with whatever essays get published on Rhizome or Dis.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I’ve got some work in a show called Technoromanticism here in Chicago that’s up through October 16th at Jean Albano in River North. Coming up I’m doing some visuals at VIA festival in Pittsburgh and have work in two shows outside the US: YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A SAILOR TO FIND AN ISLAND at NNM.Gallery in Lima and Tactical Glitch at Sudlab in Naples.
Describe your current studio or workspace. My studio is in my home in Chicago. It’s really ideal. It’s quite a bit of space and it’s got a porch for smoking. My girlfriend works from home too but we have a fair amount of space so we don’t step on each others’ toes too much during the day.
What were you like in high school? Stoner jock. B+ in visual arts.