The Internet has changed the art world immensely, and Giant Robot has been there to witness and evolve alongside it. Conceived as a humble, photocopied zine focused on Asian American arts and culture in 1994, Giant Robot now exists as an unclassifiable entity. It was published as a magazine for 16 years and later manifested in the physical realm as an art gallery and shop, as well as a website. To celebrate its 20 years, Giant Robot 2 in LA will debut “Giant Robot Presents: 20 Years Art x Mags,” an extensive group show featuring many established and emerging talents. Among the line-up are Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami, Ryan McGinness, Geoff McFetridge, Yoskay Yamamoto, Jeff Soto, James Jean and a great number of other artists. “#GR20Years,” as the show is nicknamed, opens March 15, 5 – 10 pm, and will be on view through April 2.
Last weekend, Thinkspace Gallery debuted “New Works” by Tran Nguyen and Erik Jones, who both treat the classic human form with abstract elements. Although separated by choice of color and medium, this exhibition seamlessly merges their illustrative styles. The new work of Brooklyn-based Erik Jones clothes his nudes in highly saturated patterns and geometrical shapes. The happy, bright colors of the foreground seem to mask a melancholy expressed by Jones’s subjects. This tension is intentional; Jones offers the idea of opposing visual relationships by merging beautifully rendered portraits with mixed media “fashions.” With fashion serving as an inspiration, his “models” convey the indifference of one caught off guard or a moment in time. In some cases, the figure disappears completely. Read more after the jump.
The stretching, effusively colorful installations of Lisa Hoke are at the same time a landscape and a living thing. Sometimes made from cardboard packing materials, or the reeling repetition of a recognizable label, or simply painted cups, her installations span huge walls, creating an arching spectrum of textured color. At a distance, it’s an alien topography, looking like a chunky rainbow sprawl, but closer up, the materials show themselves, and their intricately patterned organization appears engineered by the hive-mind of an obsessive insect colony. Once the individual parts become recognizable, especially as advertisements, the installations click as an interpretation of the politics of reuse, and the willful accumulation of excess garbage in the name of artistic expression.
After reading a philosophical text by Ludwig Wittgenstein a decade ago, multi-media artist Babak Hosseiny was consumed by the idea of the hands as a symbol for a person’s wishes and fears. The line “If you do know that here is one hand, we’ll grant you all the rest” hung in his mind as he drew the preliminary sketches for what became “Ô les mains,” a collaborative photo illustration series Hosseiny recently created with photographer Jeffrey Vanhoutte.
The whimsical illustrations by Japanese artist Sae Tachimori are clever curiosities that use a children’s book charm to explore the complex issue of the East constructing new identity through fantasies of the West, as well as global nostalgia for the early 20th century. The focal point in “Journey” is a standing bear, whose face contorts into a sharp grimace as he cradles a clock, presenting to the viewer the reality of lost time. In addition to a myriad of decorative elements, several vintage suitcases and a host of imaginative creatures, two women dressed in bohemian-chic clothing occupy the middle ground. The composition is rendered in an Art Nouveau palette of muted blues and pinks. However, one of the women is drawn in black and white with golden hair. She stands on a ladder and reaches inside a bucket of paintbrushes. Perhaps she represents the contemporary woman painting her future and her identity, while the bears yearn for a more traditional past.
Walking through SCOPE Art Show this past weekend felt very much like navigating through a labyrinth, as this year’s galleries boasted exceptionally creative uses of space at Moynihan Station within the New York City Post Office. With over 68 exhibitors from 22 countries, the booths that particularly stood out were ones that not only featured strong works, but ones that provided the harmonic impression of private mini-exhibitions within the realities of a packed trade show.