Los Angeles based Nicola Verlato was born in Verona, Italy. He started to paint when he was 7, and to sell his paintings when he was 9. His artistic education has been quite unorthodox. He considers himself almost self thought. However, from 9 to 14 he spent every summer at the studio of a monk-painter in the monastery nearby his village in northeast Italy.
Verlato’s paintings fantasize the many ways that pagan themes and elements might survive and reappear in contemporary society. Dynamic, unsettling and skillfully executed, his canvases dazzle and bewilder.
Paris and Heidelberg, Germany based Yang Jiechang combines traditional Eastern and Western modes of representation in his multimedia work. He calls the essence of this confluence “Eurasian”. His monochromatic ink paintings combine the aesthetics of contemporary painting with the tools and techniques of traditional East Asian ink-and-wash artworks.
Walter Sutin grew up in Pennsylvania and studied at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Sutin makes drawings that refer to contemporary realities but he connects them to divine experiences. He makes acrylic and gouache snapshots drawn with quill pen from both fantasy and real life events.
“From the people who build monuments in the first place, to those who destroy them, from theVisigoths and Vandals sacking Rome, the waves of European colonization, the destruction wrought by ISIS, taggers defacing Banksy’s work and I’ve even seen guys walking down the street keying cars one after another, there is a thread running though all: the universal connection is about leaving a mark.
They are all trying to say: Here I am. I have existed.
Some say it with beauty. Others with destroying the beauty. But the sentiment is the same.” – Matthew Quick
To represent these ideas into cohesive, instantly recognizable visual stories, Matthew Quick started painting existing monuments with specific contemporary items. And while this worked, something curious also happened. What he found was that in many cases the added object altered the focus, causing the viewer to begin questioning the origins of the item and its place in society.
With his attention now turned to contemporary society, suddenly everything was fair game. With their conscious symbolism, the statues provide a foundation for a revisionist take on the notions of beauty, pride, individual freedom, social control, surveillance and nationalism. Historical sacred cows were also up for grabs. With ordinary objects replacing their crowns and thrones, the aura of emperors and gods can be transformed into powerless nobodies. And by gently ridiculing the deceitful behavior of rulers who intentionally fail to act as they speak, it allowed him to question their motivations and subvert their initial grandiose goals.
Magnus Gjoen brings a touch of punk- sensibility to the art tradition. His fashion background infuses Magnus’ art, re-thinking old concepts and re-interpreting them for the contemporary climate. Working to shed new light on past treasures, Magnus’ prints alters the relationships between the viewer and the preconceived notions of objects; something which is ostensibly powerful and destructive is transfigured into beautiful and fragile objects of art, be it weapons, animals or the human race itself.
His digital works make us look twice to grasp their meaning. Gjoen’s unique style of juxtaposing themes of religion, war, beauty, and destruction in his art bring us to also question their correlation.
Doze Green has a new body of work up at Jonathan LeVine Gallery at the moment in an exhibition titled Luminosity in the Dark Rift. Colin Day stopped by Doze’s studio in SF and shot this video of one of the true originals of the contemporary scene.