This Friday, March 7, the Whitney Museum of American Art will open their 77th Biennial for its final time at the Marcel Breuer building in the Upper East Side before moving to its new downtown location. For the 2014 exhibition, the Whitney invited three curators from outside the museum — Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA), Anthony Elms (Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia), and Michelle Grabner (artist and Professor in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago) — to explore the loaded question: What is contemporary art in the United States now?
The sculptural work of artist Ben Foster can not be separated from his home and life in New Zealand. The varying landscapes of his home – from the mountains to the beaches – feature prominently in his work. Often his sculptures are placed within the context of these natural surroundings. His subjects are the animals of his daily life and others that share the land. The sculptures’ polygonal shape betray their man-made origin and contrast against the natural backdrop. The juxtaposition brings to mind the larger impact humans have on the environment of their home and perhaps the possibility of a peaceful coexistence. Appropriately Foster comments in his statement, “My works are a culmination of the natural and the man-made – a careful balance of form and motion.” See more of Ben Foster’s sculptures after the jump.
Scott G. Brooks is an especially versatile artist and illustrator. While creating illustrative works for a large number of high-profile clients, his fine-art paintings are particularly impressive. Brooks’ scenes are often elaborate, filled with detail and unnervingly surreal. However there is also a subtler characteristic to his style which creates an unsettling effect. A slightly stylized way of depicting people – their large heads, distance between their eyes – adds an additional level of peculiarity to his compositions. The over all effect is a painting with a strange and detailed story to tell. See more of Scott Brooks’ artwork after the jump.
While many speak of the Internet as an alternate reality where, through a carefully-crafted persona known as a social media profile, we go to escape, Montreal-based artist Dominique Petrin creates immersive installations that recreate the digital experience in the physical realm. The Internet Petrin refers to is one of the bygone era of dial-up, AOL chatrooms and MS Paint. She collages the digital kitsch of yore (clip art and CMYK color palette included) into an abstract amalgamation of jarring, pixelated shapes and colors. Her work is screen-printed on paper and wallpapered on gallery walls, transforming them into otherworldly environments. Petrin has an avowed interest in hypnosis, which comes across through the dizzying array of psychedelic patterns that envelope the viewers who experience her work.
Based in Thorp, Washington, Justin Gibbens describes himself as a nature boy. The various creatures that abound in the Evergreen State as well as his imagination find their way into Gibbens’s paintings, which often combine media such as watercolor, gouache and tea. Gibbens has formal training in both Chinese painting techniques and scientific illustration — two influences that do not seem so disparate when combined in his sparse yet impactful artworks. “It’s probably no surprise that much of my inspiration comes from all things that scamper and poke about in the thickets and undergrowth, inhabit the tide pools and ocean depths and fly through the ether,” said the artist in an email to Hi-Fructose. “Field guides, natural history museums and David Attenborough documentaries are also good.”
Cyrcle, an interdisciplinary artist duo from L.A., will open their solo show, “OVERTHRONE! POORING REIGN,” at London’s StolenSpace Gallery on Thursday, March 6. The self-taught artists have backgrounds in design, muralism and painting, and they create pieces that subvert and deconstruct meanings of common symbols of power. In this body of work, they seem primarily interested in appropriating classical Roman and Greek art and architecture (Augustan busts and the Parthenon), which famously symbolize patriotism and devotedness to absolute power sources. Through this process of redesigning and re-contextualizing these symbols, their final product intends to create what they describe as a “a subliminal call to action… to overthrow the powers of doubt and oppression in the mind so we, the individual, can let go of fear and take power back!”