Bong Jung Kim is a Korean-born artist living in the New York City area. He is a skilled artist who merges discarded high-tech materials with pictures of black, blossom-like shapes that might be flowers, or more erotically, pubic hair or even female genitalia. His series is called “Addiction,” a problem with obsessively observing pornography that he candidly acknowledged in conversation. The electron parts he attaches, usually to the center of the flowers, also indicate addiction -- in this case our helpless dependence on high technology, the cyber world, and the Internet. Interestingly, the honesty with which Kim acknowledges his dependence on sex videos flies in the face of the traditional Korean culture, whose sexual probity is well known. But Kim is living and showing in America, where it is acceptable to express one’s desire openly. His "Addiction" series not only opens up a set of issues that for polite, middle class Korean society is more or less taboo, it also presents the predicament of a man overwhelmed by the open sexualization of culture, in a place where porn has become, more or less, a mainstream part of the American experience. Without judging the desire of the artist, we can contemplate the success of his paintings/assmblages, which are neither explicit nor hidden but take a middle ground, presenting openly the interface between sex and modern culture.
Currents In Photography comprises five adventurous artists in a thematic exhibition that explores the boundaries of photography; what a camera can do, or perhaps what the word photography even means. How far can one step outside of the box and still be in it? I needed to ask if Kaethe Kauffman's work was part of the exhibition, thoroughly confused as to whether it was a photograph at all. The work looks like collaged charcoal drawing on paper. Turns out charcoal drawing is employed along with several other techniques, photographed and reproduced by an inkjet printer, then worked back into again. The resulting mystical images are neither directly figurative nor abstract. Those leaning more towards abstraction still appear to be some thing -- perhaps visions experienced by the meditating figure pictured in the other works. His or her corporeal form is seated Buddha style surrounded by a shattered aura that bursts into monochromatic fragmentation. Paired with Ms. Kauffman in the placement of artworks, Bert G.F. Shankman's close up shots of flowers are plainly photographs, yet they strive toward ethereal, other worldly exotica -- like a shamanistic vision. Can art be both subtle and bold? It seems so.
In his Post-Apocalyptic Tattoo (1998-2008) and Graffoo series (2006-2009) -- currently on show at Prince Gallery in Copenhagen -- D. Dominick Lombardi playfully tackles the theme of the human condition. In these series, a distant future is imagined where pollutants, transgenic food and tainted water cause genetic mutations at the reproductive level. Despite the brightly colored, graphic renditions of cartoon-like tumorous mutations often set on candy colored backgrounds (photographs taken on a trip to japan, and reworked in Photoshop), the works tell a much bleaker story of a deeply impacted society seen from the perspective of a future tattoo artist whose final designs record the extreme mutations of the distant future.
Sarah Davis lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband Millree Hughes and daughter Meriel.
Bradley Rubenstein: What were some of your early experiences, like school, for example, where you decided to become an artist?
Sarah Davis: My radar was, What’s the best thing to be doing when you’re 80? Where are the best-looking old people? And for me, that was obviously painters, or the art world more generally. Maybe I was close to my grandparents, or maybe it came from going to high school in L.A., where the projected end was 30. Still, painting was my identity from about age 8. Every kind of picture book, and there were tons of them, was how I spent my free time. I copied everything and made up my own. Making paintings and drawings was how I socialized, from third grade on.
Having lived, gigged and worked in LA I can tell you first hand that the Historic Core seciton of downtown LA is a very cool place. So it comes as no surprise that some resident artists are pimping their talents via social media with local artist/producer/musician/culture guru Big Swede at the helm. The video above features spoken word nuggets and artwork from artists Gronk (aka Giugio Nicandro) and Tanner Goldbeck, and a killer harp track by LA legend Jimmy Z. I'm stoked to share their good vibes with you fine readers. Not sure if Fear of The Walking Dead will usurp 'em, but this is a great place to start if you've never spent any time in that amazing neighborhood. Give 'em a chance and spend some quality time next time through the City of Lost Angels. And tell Big Swede Dusty sent you!
Erin Smith lives and works in Australia. Her work has been exhibited in New York at solo shows at Amy Li and at a group show at Berry Campbell. She has also exhibited extensively in Australia. This year her work will be exhibited in two group shows in New York. In her own words: "I live in a small wooden house in Australia. I'm an over-excitable Australian — in love with New York City. I have a lot of energy, so if I'm not painting, I'm researching, experimenting, and chatting with other artists, mentors, and galleries."
This is the fourth of a series of interviews that focus on Local 829's Scenic Artists’ "behind the scenes" talent who sculpt and paint in a variety of ways the sets we see on television, in movies and documentaries, on theater stages, and in the backgrounds of television and internet commercials.
I first met Bradley Rubenstein very early on in my days in the scenic arts, and it was immediately apparent that he was, and still is, respectfully dedicated to his work as a fine artist. I’ve followed his career closely since then, watching his art delving deeper and deeper into the human condition as he distorts and mutates his subjects. Recently, Rubenstein had one of his warped and mangled human forms in an exhibition titled HEAD that I curated for the Hampden Gallery at UMASS Amherst.
It is traditionally assumed that the art object is a record of history, whether the history of the artist, of its time, or merely an object left over after the fall of a civilization. While the writing of a period is open to the influence of retelling, interpretation, or the vagaries of translation, the visual object, by its very nature, promises us the stability of meaning inherent in its "objectness." How, then, in an age where perpetual war, disintegrating environmental conditions, and rapidly accelerating technologies, do we expect our artworks to function? What kinds of anxious objects will best represent to future generations our story? D. Dominick Lombardi poses these questions, and a group of artists at Lesley Heller’s Workspace seek to answer them in the exhibition Shaky Ground.
I happily went to the Lower East Side to visit with Priska Juschka and see her new collaboration / business, Lichtundfire. The opening exhibition is entitled Visceral Velocity or the Emotional Speed of Things and runs from November 4th through December 20th, 2015.