by Ariadna Zierold
Born in the East Jutland, self-taught graffiti artist Rune Christensen has traveled the world, and became fascinated with the patterns and colours of traditional handcraft, costumes and the temple decorations of Asia, South America, North Africa and Native America.
Shooting all those artistic memories with his camera, he uses them as references for his work, both with acrylic paint and Posca pens. The result is a collection of faceless portraits. The female characters, with their horned balaclavas, remind us of the Russian political rock band Pussy Riot, but they are too busy contemplating their twins or doing mysterious pagan dances to make punk protests.
The Mine is pleased to announce ‘Between The Lines’ an urban contemporary group show curated by Rom Levy, featuring Andrew Schoultz, Kenton Parker, RETNA, Andrew Faris, Paul Insect, BAST, eL Seed, Jenny Sharaf and Word to Mother.
Since people first began painting on cave walls, the line has been the simplest element of art. As a mode of mark marking it doesn’t remain static, but holds an infinite potential—of velocity, of direction, of connection, of form. Against the noise of today’s overly decorative urban art scene, then, it makes sense to return back to where it all began: to the purity of line.
The line is at once a road and a horizon. Between the Lines considers the space in between. Bringing together an international group of artists, it surveys the landscape of a movement that started in the grimy backstreets of Paris, London, New York, and LA but has since exploded to become a worldwide phenomenon. Today the lines between contemporary art and what was once called street art are increasingly blurred and difficult to distinguish. The lineup includes heavy hitters and fresh new blood alike. Despite their humble beginnings—and very often an aversion to getting sucked into the commercial art machine—many of these artists have been welcomed intupper echelons of the art world—its fairs, auctions, as well as its museums and other institutions.
by Ariadna Zierold
Oakland-based artist Cannon Dill’s latest exhibit“In My Own Time” will be at the Spoke Art gallery in San Francisco December 5-19. The show features new illustrations loosely exploring the idea of place: the time it takes to absorb one’s surroundings as well as the new construction and developments happening in both Oakland and San Francisco.
“The theme is loosely around the idea of taking the time to soak in your surroundings, recognizing space. We all know prices of housing are increasing dramatically in the bay area, so it was hard to not make work about that situation. Also the gap between San Francisco and Oakland is sort of blurring together- you have a lot of construction and development happening in both cities. This body of work is a vague conversation about that.”
Sam Flores’ upcoming solo exhibition, “Daydreams and Nightmares,” opens this Friday, December 18th at the FIFTY24SF Gallery in association with Upper Playground. Through his ability of lucid dreaming, Sam explores how “imagination and creativity come from our subconscious… this new body of work takes you to the place where Dreams and Nightmares meet, the world where ideas, imagination and creativity live.”
Our own Jake Goble and Trevor Martin sat down with Sam to discuss the upcoming show:
Jake Goble: So, have you thought of a name for the show yet?
Sam Flores: Yeah, it’s called “Daydreams and Nightmares.”
J: Okay, what made you come up with that name?
S: It’s just kind of a different exploration of just being, like, being in a dream or a nightmare and kind of controlling that and tapping into your subconscious, imagination and inspiration. Where it all kind of comes from – from those worlds. So, I’m kind of leading you, it’s a walk through my daydreams and nightmares, just kind of all the visuals that I see. So it’s kind of getting a little sneak peak into my world.
J: Nice, do you think that reflects – at all – currently, where you are right now with just your work, or just kind of a different idea you had-
S: It’s an idea, it’s just some imagery that I wanted to create. It’s also kind of – maybe – just to illustrate what everyone goes through. It’s not just me personally. It’s just kind of – kind of a broad range of stuff that people deal with in life and in general.
Trevor Matrin: I’m gonna interject. The last show, it was “A Light in the Darkness?”
S: “A Light in the Darkness”
T: “A Light in the Darkness,” and the previous show to that was “A Lion and the Lamb?”
T: How does this show relate to both of those?
S: Well it’s all a balance. And so we have “A Lion and the Lamb” – that was kind of the innocence and darkness and it’s saying with how to balance your light and dark. And this is just when you have your daydreams and nightmares and just kind of finding a balance and being able to live in – in the middle of both of those – kind of on the razor’s edge. It all kind of incorporates into itself – I like to have a lot of balance in my work and in my life so balance comes into play with a lot of my work.
J: Sweet, how many new pieces are you hoping to have for the show?
S: Hopefully 18 to 20.
S: That’s what we’re shooting for.
J: And then – are you gonna kind of emulate that whole kind of idea with all of the pieces?
S: It’s kind of a broad – it’s not like every piece has exactly to do with the title or the concept. It’s more just – there’s gonna be a lot of stuff like that but it’s kind of, it’s fun because it can be really broad and general because it’s anything you can think of. Daydream, imagine – that just comes into your imagination – into your thoughts. So, it’s just kind of a little bit of everything. It’s just kind of a broad umbrella of – of anything that can happen within a daydream or a nightmare.
J: What are you most excited about that you have done or are hoping to do for the show?
S: I’m pretty excited about all of them! I’m gonna do this floating whale-ship. It’s kind of a floating whale-taxi that transports people through a dark place and gets them to their destination safely. So I’m excited about that one. That one’s coming out soon.
T: That one’s really cool. You did a piece called “Follow Me” for the last show that was really, really popular. We’re releasing a print of “Follow Me” now for this show, a year later and the whale piece is kind of the continuation of that piece, “Follow Me.”
S: Yeah, it’s a series.
T: It’s kind of the evolution of it and the interesting thing that Sam talked about specifically in the “Follow Me” piece which is continuing from the floating whale piece – who’s title we have yet to make – is that when people stick together and band together and help each other out, the ycan get through – you know – some of the challenges that we’re facing on and individual level, and – you know – that’s kind of what the whole theme is – banding together, getting through in the dark passage ways of life. You know, being empathetic and encourage one another and be a team, you know?
T: And Sam, do you want to enumerate what the different characters were in “Follow Me” just to give him some backstory?
S: It was kind of a parade, like a band of misfits and just people in life and it all kind of represents also, like you’re different parts of each person’s personality and things that go on in them. So there was – there’s this woman. She had kind of like a general’s jacket. Like she was her own boss – her own general. There was-
J: There was a two person centaur?
S: Yeah, there was a centaur – there was a Sagittarius couple, kind of one connected. There’s an emo, mad french clown..
T: Riding an emo water buffalo? You we’re so funny when you said that to me,”Sometimes you just feel like an angry French clown riding an Emo-Water Buffalo.”, I laughed so hard, I love the humor in your work!
S: Emo water buffalo with a Hitler comb over. Then we have – yeah so there’s all these different soldiers, then there’s pretty much just a lot of – so each character kind of represents how like everyone from San Francisco – how broad and how much of a melting pot that is and then it also represents kind of how all your different personalities and moods and stuff go on inside your self. So it’s a little bit of everything but this is just a continuation with the floating whale-taxi.
T: And there are some characters there that are also on the famous Haight Street mural?
S: Yeah, exactly. So those all represent the eclectic melting pot of the city as well.
J: Sweet, so what would you say you’re keeping it a little bit [personal?] or just experimenting with the show?
S: We’re doing some cool installation stuff. I want to kind of have people visit this forest and this dark – not really dark – but this kind of represents inside your mind. So you’re going to walk into that installation and be inside someone’s psyche or imagination. So I’m excited about that and pretty much all the pieces together – how they play off each other. That’s what I’m excited about.
J: Do you want to tell me about this piece.
S: So this piece is called, “[Lady Soul?]” and she represents the story of Icarus and the sun – he flew too close to the sun and his wings melted. So this represents that as well as
J: He’s flying too close to her.
S: Yeah, so he got too close to her and it can represent a lot of stuff like she’s kind of a seductress.
J: A solar siren?
S: Yeah, and so in the next painting it’s actually two guys and they’re brothers – Icarus and Dicarus – and they both fucked up and got too close – like their temptations. Now they’re going to be falling and all of their feathers are on fire. It’s kind of like my own illustration of a siren or a temptation.
J: Do you use foil?
S: This is gold leaf, yeah. The background is gold leaf. I just wanted it to be glowing a lot, really bright – different golds and oranges and yellows and stuff.
J: What other pieces have you done off the top of your head?
S: We’ve got a lot – oh, there’s one I’m really into. He’s kind of a dream guide and so what he does is get people through their dreams and their nightmares safely. He’s a hired gun and he’s this renegade dude and he has these horns that are actually a Native American Dream-Catcher. And he has a dream catcher inside these horns so it helps him capture and protect himself as well as his client and getting them through their craziness safely. He’s almost kind of like a Beetlejuice character. You want to hire him but you also don’t because he’s trouble. But he’s good at what he does and gets you through, but it comes with a price. He keeps the objects that he acquires in your dreams in his dream catcher net.
J: For all these shows. people kind of expect something coming in and then when they’re there they’re kind of sensing something, but what do you want someone to – after they’ve left and they’re going to reflect on the experience – what do you kind of hope for them to take from it?
S: I like people – I just want them to become more aware of their inside – imagination and ideas. And if they’re kind of in tune with their thoughts and imagination and dreams, you can kind of tap in and bring a lot out. I just want people to have more of a realization of what goes on inside their imagination.
J: One last thing, for anyone that is thinking about coming or doesn’t know a lot about you, what do you want them to know about the show?
S: Kind of the same thing that I was talking about before. It’s a little trip through my subconsciousness and imagination and also kind of illustrates everyone else’s and how to tap into that and maybe figure out what things are or just how they might look in an illustrated form or a visual form of some of your thoughts and imagination. Yeah, that’s kind of abstract and doesn’t make sense but that’s how all the stuff is. It’s more like to see it than talk about it.
J: Not everyone gets to visualize-
T: -Thoughts in new ways
S: Yeah, this is kind of how I’m doing it or how I see it so now other people can see it through me or my art.
J: Hopefully, it allows them to do more of the same.
S: Exactly, yeah that’s my goal too.
J: Cool, I appreciate it man, thank you.
DAYDREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
PRESENTED BY FITY24SF AND UPPER PLAYGROUND
OPENING FRIDAY DEC. 18th, 6pm-10pm
218 FILLMORE ST. SF, CA
FOR INQUIRES CONTACT: GALLERY@FIFTY24SF.COM
by Ariadna Zierold
Matthew Barney: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT is Barney’s first major solo museum exhibition in Los Angeles. River of Fundament is one of Barney’s most challenging and ambitious projects to date, and his largest filmic undertaking since the renowned, five-part CREMASTER film cycle (1994-2002).
The film, written by Barney in collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler, tells a story of regeneration and rebirth inspired by Ancient Evenings, Norman Mailer’s sprawling, provocative novel set in ancient Egypt.
The presentation at MOCA comprises the epic length, operatic film and approximately 85 works inspired by or made in conjunction with the film, including large-scale sculptures weighing up to 25 tons, drawings, and storyboards. The exhibition also includes Barney’s Water Castings, a new group of sculptures on view for the first time.
Overall, the works in the exhibition intertwine history and mythology with the contemplation of fundamental human drives—such as sex, violence, and power—that have continuously propelled civilizations.
by Ariadna Zierold
Since the 1970s, Jim Shaw has created a vast body of work spanning diverse media and reference points. Shaw’s work mines the essentials of American culture, from comic books, pulp novels, and album covers, to vintage advertisements, movie posters, and noise rock.
Originating from these sources, the work often features recurring characters including himself, his friends, fictional superheroes, politicians, and film stars. Combining text and the painted figure with objects and drawings from his unconscious, Shaw’s works consistently illustrate purposely bad puns, while twisting politics, religion, and belief into one long dream sequence.
Shaw focuses on over-arching themes of failure – fallen heroes, collapsed economies and political figures, and the idea of sin and doomsday predictions. The centerpiece of Entertaining Doubts is a series of large-scale paintings that Shaw began in 2004, utilizing old theatrical backdrops that he cuts apart.
Turning painting into architecture, these works essentially function as political cartoons, populated by figures such as Barbara Bush, 20th-century religious prophet Aleister Crowley, and Dan Quayle, with themes ranging from the seven deadly sins and the four horsemen of the apocalypse to the great deluge.
by Ariadna Zierold
Ala Ebtekar often combines futuristic concepts from science fiction with philosophies and mythologies to explore mental and spiritual transcendence of time and space. Through a steady career that has incorporated sculpture, photography and installation, Ala Ebtekar has continually returned to his initial passion of drawing and painting. The artist’s practice is informed by history, Persian mythology, science and philosophy, which he juxtaposes with contemporary and pop-culture elements.
In his latest show, “Nowheresville\‘nä-kōja,-abäd” the US-based artist of Iranian origin juxtaposes the Illuminationist cosmogony of the 12th century Persian mystical philosopher Shahabuddin Suhrawardi with images from the Hubble space telescope and sounds recorded by the Voyager spacecraft, to link the past with the future, the microcosm with the macrocosm and inner journeys of self-discovery and enlightenment with voyages into the unknown depths of the cosmos.
It is a spiritual journey, and the idea of Nowheresville that Ebtekar has tried to visually represent in his show. Embedded in his artworks are portals that invite viewers to enter another plane of consciousness and embark on a journey into forgotten pasts and imagined futures.
“This show was about a journey, about light and about connecting worlds and times that are centuries apart. The mythology of almost every culture talks about a hero’s journey and the challenge of performing seven labours to get to his final destination.” – Ala Ebtekar
Images via The Third Line
“Atlantico” represents the reunion of two brothers separated and linked by an ocean. Saner and Gnosick are not blood brothers but their souls share magical and ancient history dating back to previous lives.
The name of the exhibition refers not exclusively to the ocean between Spain and Mexico, but also to Atlas, the Titan of Greek mythology condemned by Zeus to carry on his shoulders the pillars that maintain separate Earth from the heavens. This myth is used by artists in their work as a metaphor about the balance between the divine and the mundane, good and evil, light and darkness.
Take a look at the coverage of the exhibition at Swinton Gallery and if you are around, the exhibition will be open until October 17.
SANER (Edgar Flores) was born in Mexico in 1982. His work mixes the ancient mexican tradition with contemporary aesthetics, graffiti and design. Iconic mexican idols and mystical characters are always present.
GNOSICK (Javier Iglesias) was born in Spain in 1977. He is an artist, graphic designer, publisher, curator amongst other things. He got into computers and graphic design field when he entered Art School. Along with his twin brother, Pablo Iglesias, who is also an artist and designer, they created the Belio Magazine. This periodical publication bets on emerging art and the most groundbreaking graphic design.
All images courtesy of Swinton Gallery and Henrik Haven.