|As we close our last chapter for 30 Artists To Watch, we realize that you’ve been waiting, perhaps feverishly for what would come out. This last post does not disappoint. Our featured artists are exciting because they are re-orienting the way we see. This is no easy task. And their attention to formal/surface concerns – is an interesting turn, decades after Greenbergian aesthetics. Perhaps because some issues never leave art, they just re-surface in a new form later on. As Henri Matisse once commented “A new painting is a unique event, a birth, which enriches the universe as it is grasped by the human mind, by bringing a new form into it.”||
“Perhaps because some issues never leave art, they just re-surface in a new form later on.”
Korakrit Arunanondchai, Untitled, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.
30 Artists To Watch in 2012: Part III
As we close our last chapter for 30 Artists To Watch, we realize that you’ve been waiting, perhaps feverishly for what would come out. This last post does not disappoint. Our featured artists are exciting because they are re-orienting the way we see. This is no easy task. And their attention to formal/surface concerns – is an interesting turn, decades after Greenbergian aesthetics. Perhaps because some issues never leave art, they just re-surface in a new form later on. As Henri Matisse once commented “A new painting is a unique event, a birth, which enriches the universe as it is grasped by the human mind, by bringing a new form into it.” Thanks for reading. And well, every good quote deserves another, so in closing we leave you with Snoop: “We’re going to take this thing here straight over the stratosphere, baby.”
Devin Troy Strother
To say that the work of Los Angeles-based artist Devin Troy Strother is “loud” is an enormous understatement. In every work, with every color and each piece of cut paper, Strother constructs rich narratives that, quite literally, cannot be contained by the panels they’re made on. Featured as a Noteworthy artist in edition #85 of New American Paintings, Strother makes paintings that are highly confrontational, not only for their brilliant visual qualities but for the subject matter at hand.
—Evan J. Garza
Fritz Chesnut, The Crystal Ship, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Fritz Chesnut is well known for a dynamic series of photo-realist paintings of crowd scenes and performers that deal with fandom and idol worship. Chesnut’s move to abstract painting, though formally opposed to his previous work, similarly mines ideas of the transcendent and the sublime. Chesnut has turned his attention to his interest in surfing. Referencing waves, moving water, outer space, mudslides and molten lava, this elegant new work evokes the moment of climax either in nature or in the psyche. Part psychedelia, part color field painting, Chesnut marries surfing zen with modernist abstraction yielding a distinct California feel with saturated and sometimes garish fluorescent colors.
In his new series entitled “Emy & Ana,” French photographer Pep Karsten presents a cinematic narrative: after an accident, two best friends have to face the terrible situation of being separated. Karsten explores the theme of death from an optimistic perspective: What can the loved ones bring us after their demise? Can they help us transform our suffering into strength, into wisdom? Can we somehow extend their lives? He is working more like a filmmaker than like a photographer; writing stories, scripts and meticulously building scenes before the shootings, where he is attended by a crew.
Polina Barskaya was born in Cherkassy, Ukraine in 1984 and currently lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, in an apartment overlooking a parking lot and an ocean. Steeped in this neighborhood’s Russian immigrant milieu, Barskaya is a painter not just of people but of families. Her portraits encompass an ability to conceive of generations in the abstract, alongside an insistence on her specific experience as a daughter and granddaughter. Barskaya has two modes: disinterested and wholly consumed. This duality finds a natural medium in watercolor, which allows the shift, in a single stroke, from intense coloration to ghostly blur. Every approach to belonging to life — sadness, boredom, an itch — is on display. Barskaya, working from photographs, is driven by a true need to chronicle. A need to express what is already lost, even as something new — a painting — is being created. Crease-shadows made by a father’s paunch packed into too-small shorts, an amoeba of untamed Jewish girl hair, faceless figures pressed together against a harsh geometric background that mirrors the nondescript scramble of memory and years.
Polly Shindler, CII, 2011. Image courtesy of the artist.
Serving as markers delineating the boundaries of the most significant void, Polly Shindler’s works are wholly perceivable as carvings in paint and fabric that have come from beyond the within—hieroglyphs existing only to direct us back inward. They are self-erected monuments, stalwart in the face of unnerving tranquility. They are familiar yet unidentifiable symbols elucidating only our own interpretations of their forms. They are legends for the misplaced maps of archetypal dreamscapes. They are reminders of an ancient future.
Scott Malbaurn, Young World, Acrylic on canvas over panel, 11 x 14 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Scott Malbaurn’s painting is rooted in the American tradition of hard edge abstraction. Malbaurn is an easterner, yet his work is reminiscent of West Coast painters like McLaughlin, and easterners like Baer. But none of that quite explains Malbaurn’s color, his use of line or his preoccupation with symbols like the Nautical Sun. This is what distinguishes Malbaurn’s art from painting that might share its art world roots. For his color and design seem to look inwardly toward the popular culture that formed the artist, specifically, a skateboarder’s culture, and the vibrant color and curving forms that often adorn his board.
—Ben La Rocco
John F. Moore, Jr., Ka-Bloom!, 2011. Primer, graphite, acrylic, ink, marker and urethane on wood panel. 12′ x 12″. Courtesy of the artist.
John F. Moore Jr.
Pulsating and shifting; there is nothing static about the next series of paintings by John F. Moore Jr. Over the last five years I’ve seen significant explorations in Moore’s process, marking his organic growth from one series to the next. Drafting lines, consistently fixed on a different center, echoed sentiments of microcosmic shifts. As these timely marks expand in theory and function, so then too in Moore’s process.
With a new media in the mix, Moore’s paintings have become implicit. The last step, with his application of pigment-less binder(s), becomes reactionary to the layer placed before. Colors dilute and lines become vibrating webs, capturing the slightest detection of movement as Moore tilts the field of the canvas. The ending result reveals each layer of process as a layer of history, stacked to affirm the movement of a space through time.
Korakrit Arunanondchai, Untitled, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.