At its opening last Saturday, Ben Venom’s “I Call the Shots” drew a large crowd of long-haired and leather-clad metal fans who came to see the San Francisco-based artist’s unconventional use of the sewing machine. Black and red dominated Guerrero Gallery as quilts composed of band t-shirts, pillows emblazoned with skulls and studded vests of the artist’s design lined the walls. As much as the odd juxtaposition of traditional, domestic crafts like embroidery and quilting and the aggressiveness of heavy metal endows Venom’s work with a sense of humor, it also fosters a cross-disciplinary conversation between art and music. Venom spins fan memorabilia — he once wore many of the t-shirts used to create the mixed-media works in the show — into a tribute to a niche subculture that is at once marginalized and exclusive. Take a look at some photos from the opening night by yours truly and a brief studio visit video by Agency Charlie.
It’s the 46th volume of Hi-Fructose!
Featured in this issue are …
Craig Gleason‘s drawings of Bad Guys, the badass quilts of Ben Venom, the super saccharine starlet paintings of cover artist Young Chun, the art and murals of Koralie, Ryan Heshka‘s Mean Girls Club, the distorted and demented baby sculptures of Johnson Tsang, the surreal paintings of Horacio Quiroz, and the outstanding drawings of Sverre Malling. Plus multi-page reviews of the new monograph by Todd Schorr and Ernst Haekel.
Some of the most compelling art comes from the combination of opposing values. The group exhibition “A Primitive Future”, opening on December 5th at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles, aims to address questions of a future interpreted through the past- questions like, “How will colonialism take shape in the future?” or “What can the future look like?” The show features new work by artists featured in Hi-Fructose and on our blog: AJ Fosik (HF Vol. 18), Ben Venom, Frohawk Two Feathers, Haroshi (HF Vol. 30), Lucien Shapiro, and Ravi Zupa. The six artists collectively weave together past and future practices in a variety of media, never landing on one particular interpretation.
Traditional quilting meets a unconventional use of textile art in San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles’ upcoming exhibition, “Found/Made.” Curated by Roderick Kiracofe, the exhibit brings together quilts of historic and unknown origin with those by contemporary artists, including Ben Venom (covered here), Clay Lohmann, Joe Cunningham, Luke Haynes, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Sarah Nishiura, and Theresa May. Their works match their predecessors’ classic techniques, but depart to tell a modern narrative.
A collaboration between curators Alix Sloan of Sloan Fine Art and Noah Antieau of Red Truck Gallery, “Small Indignities” is an upcoming group show that features new works from a diverse crop of established and noteworthy emerging artists — and even some Pop Surrealist royalty. The exhibition will open at Red Truck Gallery in New Orleans on September 13. Influential painters Mark Ryden (HF Vol. 28 cover artist) and Marion Peck will be exhibiting alongside the likes of painter and illustrator Camille Rose Garcia (recently featured in HF Vol. 30), digital artists Ransom & Mitchell, heavy metal quilter Ben Venom, assemblagist Brian Cunningham and many others. With so many artists working in a variety of disciplines, the exhibition is an interesting look at how the spirit of low brow has influenced artists of various styles and generations. Get an early peek of “Small Indignities” here before it opens next week.
Portland’s Breeze Block Gallery has a knack for bringing together notable artists with very different styles and using the geometry of the layout to make the work show well together. For their upcoming group show “Buddy System,” artists like D*Face, Andrew Schoultz, Mark Dean Veca, Gary Taxali, Jessica Hess and Ben Venom (among a long list of others) each created two pieces (one 16 by 20 inches and one eight by eight) and then invited a “buddy” artist to create two pieces of the same dimensions (D*Face partnered with Word To Mother, Brendan Monroe with Anders Oinonen and Jessica Hess with David Young V). The result will be displayed as an eclectic grid of artwork from an unusual gathering of talent. “The Buddy System Invitational” opens this Thursday, September 5, at the Breeze Block Gallery in Portland.