PORTRAITURE SCULPTURES BY CARLOS TARDEZ

by Ariadna Zierold

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Carlos Tardez has a ability for portraiture throughout two- and third-dimensional bureaucracy. Yet, it’s in his sculptures that the surreal nature of his works becomes visceral, whether evoking laughter, intrigue, or both. Those small figures are regularly paired with normal-sized, discovered items. Those interactions create peculiar narratives.

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BOLD SWEEPS BY SALMAN KHOSHROO

by Ariadna Zierold

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Salman Khoshroo’s paintings are the fruits of years of experimentation. In part, this is because his earliest and most impressionistic portraits often struggled to portray any positive emotions. Instead, they always managed to capture—wittingly or unwittingly—something of an existential angst in their predominance of whites, blues, pinks, browns, and blacks.

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Khoshroo creates large-scale figures and portraits that practically drip from the canvas. The scale on a computer or mobile screen can be quite deceiving, as most of these pieces are several feet tall, composed of enormously precise strokes that veer toward abstraction while eventually leading to a cohesive figure.

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Khoshroo began experimenting with a wider range of colors and styles and is now well-practiced in Impressionism, Cubism, and Futurism. Recently, he’s eschewed the facial detail of his earlier portraits in favor of bold sweeps of primary color that nonetheless conform to the outline of a portrait.

GORGEOUS PORTRAITS BY TAE LEE

by Ariadna Zierold

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Korean artist Tae Lee lives and works in Los Angeles. The focus of his work invites to ruminate on a certain state of being that is regarded as the ideal found at the peak of the human condition. He believes this ideal is found in the visage of empathy found in the expressions of Jesus, Mary, and the high Saints in the paintings of the 19th century Italian Renaissance. The faces imply a sense of understanding in the difficulties that humanity battles in it’s longing for enlightenment/salvation, but does not condescend humanity with sympathy or pity.

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“The hypocritical and cyclical tendencies of the material world can only be soothed by the light of empathy, an effort mystics and shamans from times past have all championed. The illuminated visages of the Holy Mary and the Great Buddha radiate a similar empathy, their peace not denying the great cost of sustaining life. This grace, used to navigate through this tumultuous and ultimately comedic lifetime, is the realm in which I seek to explore my art.” Tae Lee

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EL MAC: A MODERN SPIN ON THE CONVENTIONALITY OF THE HUMAN PORTRAIT

by Ariadna Zierold

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Miles “Mac” MacGregor is an artistic historian in his own right, capturing the influence of his culture within his works of art. The influence of El Mac’s Mexican and Chicano culture is written all throughout his creations.

He uses the streets as a way to continue the tradition of portraiture. Born in Los Angeles, the self-trained artist focuses on subjects that celebrate and reflect the cultural history of the southwest. Introduced to graffiti as a teenager, it was the materials and process involved in spray painting that captivated the artist more than writing letters.

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Collaboration is a part of graffiti and it’s a practice that Mac embraces, since the city is essentially a large shared space where his work lives. Set against the work of noted artists Nuke and Kofie, the layered mural honors indigenous peoples and invisible histories that are often forgotten.

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Mac like many artists learning their trade began by painting portraits of friends and family members but this output eventually progressed to conceptually heavier material. Choosing to paint a series of anonymous Mexican laborers, these paintings honored those that would not be typically featured in the history of portraiture.

His finished murals are so well regarded they are sometimes seen as unofficial monuments throughout the city. The artist knows these temporary contributions have a much more powerful impact during their life than traditional studio work. Collectively as a body, they celebrate, honor, and speak into human nature and the importance of truth and beauty.

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Mac utilizes an application of spray paint that appears to vibrate and ripple on the wall. Furthermore, precise shading gives life to his subjects, ultimately transmitting an palpable energy through his work that is unlike no other. While each portrait is typically soft from a distance, the crosshatching and line work bursts outward with exuberance.

The history of Mexican and Chicano culture is a constant in Mac’s work. A student of art history, his use of Catholic iconography is unmistakable. While he portrays everyday people, the juxtaposition of a mother and child, the use of blue cloak, or an implied halo around the head of one his sitters signifies the importance of the divine and the role of the church.

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“It’s a visual language that extends back to classical times.” Although not overtly religious himself, Mac sees himself as a spiritual person. He does not seek to teach biblical narratives or virtues but instead references this symbology and imparts its significance to his sitters, making the commonplace extraordinary.

After finishing his “Juarense y Poderosa” mural in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, El Mac moved up north to El Paso where he created another strong and meaningful piece. Titled “Ánimo Sin Fronteras” (Spirit Without Borders) it is another homage to the people that experienced the injustice and violence occurring regularly in the areas on the US/Mexican border. Through this series of murals, he is trying to get pay respect to these people and help them with their fights.

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“This is the mural I painted in El Paso, Texas, titled “Ánimo Sin Fronteras” (spirit without borders). All aerosol and fatcapsIt’s based on photos I shot in 2012 of a man named Melchor Flores, who’s been fighting to get answers and justice for his son who was picked up and disappeared by police in Nuevo León in 2009. This mural is located in the heart of downtown El Paso, and complements the fighting spirit of the classic boxing mural next to it. This is an important mural for me, something I’ve been trying to make happen for a while. It is for all those who fight for justice.”

Mac’s El Paso and Juárez murals are excellent examples of this energy applied to a political framework. The murals feature a different image on each side of the U.S./Mexican border and are a manifestation of Mac’s soft yet powerful voice. Each portrait addresses the violence and corruption with border politics and crime. The first portrait features a young woman whose mother was kidnapped and killed while the other is a man whose son was murdered by the police. The proud and dignified images exude hope and resilience yet simultaneously raise awareness to the awful conditions for those living on the border and the struggles these families have undergone. Mac’s ability to address difficult issues is shrouded in beauty and it makes the harsh truth palpable.

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What makes El Mac’s works so memorable is his ability to put a modern spin on the conventionality of the human portrait by incorporating his detailed line work. This brings an almost distorted, fragmented accompaniment to his creations, opening the doors for varying interpretation. Challenged by creating difficult images, Mac succeeds by making more than a technically executed portrait. They instead are social and spiritual reminders of our humanity, the small details of what makes someone an individual become giant gestures to be admired.

 

 

New Mural by El Mac, Kofie, Nuke and SKILL with AISE in Los Angeles

A new mural by El Mac, Kofie and Nuke went up in LA yesterday, along side SKILL UTI who also worked on a second wall preserving DASH 2000’s work with AISE.  The UTI Crew‘s wall which has a portrait of an older  woman of Navajo descent (marked by her turquoise necklace) now looms over the Arts District in Los Angeles between Traction and E. 4th Street on S. Hewitt.

photo by Jy-Ah Minphoto by Jy-Ah Min

SONY DSCphoto by Jy-Ah Min photo by Jy-Ah Min  SONY DSC photo by Jy-Ah Min  photo by Jy-Ah Min

Photo credit: Jy-Ah Min for Upper Playground

Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery

132 605x811 Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery Sage Vaughn preview FIFTY24SF Gallery

FIFTY24SF Gallery is proud to present, Runaways, a group of new paintings by Los Angeles based fine artist, Sage Vaughn. This exhibition marks Vaughn’s first solo show in San Francisco and first solo show in the states in 4 years. Runaways opens November 19, 2011.

After two successful exhibitions at London’s Lazarides Gallery and The Outsiders, Vaughn returns to the United States with a body of new work. The first group of work in Runaways echoes the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “children are all foreigners.” The work illustrates the cast off minutia in our midst, the runaways, the street urchins, scamps, and hooligans that are often ignored. The focus is on the individuals, the small things. Vaughn uses song birds, feral parrots and escaped exotic pets on their own or, at times, with an accomplice, in an obscure dystopian setting. Here the viewer can explore sentiments of rebellion, survival, isolation and stolen sweetness the birds experience as they go about their secret lives above our heads.

The second group of paintings looks at the concept of the fleeting existence of the butterfly. A butterfly is only in this form for a comparatively short period during its life span; during which, it lives to fly, to mate, and to reproduce before it fades. constructing a single visual movement based on the compulsion of the individuals illustrates the driving force behind their transformation. in these works  assembles the inconsequential to a point where they can emphasize something more powerful and instinctual. 

Runaways will feature works in a variety of mediums, including a new series of paintings and Vaughn’s iconic envelope paintings. There will also be a large-sized hand-painted print in an edition of 24.

Sage Vaughn will also present a second exhibition at FIFTY24SF Gallery starting on December 16th, 2011, featuring special installations and conceptual works. 

Sage Vaughn was born in Jackson, Oregon. He has exhibited throughout the world, including Lazarides Gallery and The Outsiders in London, Galerie Bertrand and Gruner in Geneva, Art Agents Gallery in Hamburg, Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, and DACTYL Gallery in New York.

For more information about the work, contact gallery@fifty24sf.com

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Touch the Sky Mixed Media 9 x 13 2011 Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery Sage Vaughn preview FIFTY24SF Gallery The Lone Coyote Mixed Media 9 x 12 Mixed Media 9 x 13 2011. Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery Sage Vaughn preview FIFTY24SF Gallery Spider man Mixed Media 9 x 13 2011 Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery Sage Vaughn preview FIFTY24SF Gallery Self PortraitMixed Media 9 x 12 Mixed Media 9 x 13 2011 Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery Sage Vaughn preview FIFTY24SF Gallery Butterfly with chainlinkMixed Media 9 x 12 Mixed Media 9 x 13 2011 Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery Sage Vaughn preview FIFTY24SF Gallery Bad Hair Mixed Media 9 x 12 2010 Sage Vaughn @ FIFTY24SF Gallery Sage Vaughn preview FIFTY24SF Gallery

From The Citrus Report

Posted By The Citrus Report

Rico Deniro

Posted from The Citrus Report

In one of our favorite exhibitions of the year, and we don’t just say that because we are associated with the gallery, Rico Deniro has created one of the most pleasantly serene and bizarre gallery experiences we have had in recent years. Surrounding you on each side are over 90 hand-carved, wooden masks of major icons, celebrities, politicians, and a few friends of Rico’s thrown in as well. Some are easily identifiable, some completely devoid of easy targeting. Is it Kenny Powers? That is Predator, but is that Kofi Annan? Sometimes multiple rounds make faces become clearer, and sometimes second-guessing leads to forgetting.

Rico has quietly explained to us his intentions, and working with master woodworkers in Mexico who probably have minimal background knowledge on a subject like Darth Vader or Kanye West, don’t carry the same baggage of cultural references that we have for these given subjects that have dominated our media for years and years.  How does that lack of background filter into a woodcarved, handmade portrait based off a picture that one sees for the first time? And how does that filter then filter down to us who have seen these icons for decades and decades? There is a mind game going on here.

And the guessing continues after multiple viewings. It is a weird feeling to watch yourself and others become frustrated when we can’t identify our icons. It is almost if we are telling ourselves “You KNOW that person, don’t be silly. Just THINK!” And chances are, no matter what Rico and his team built, no matter how obtuse the portrait may be from your original memory of the given person, you have a library of millions of “icons” you begin to filter through yourself.

And that is where the fun, and alarming realizations, kick in.The Citrus Report staff

RicoDeniro.com

FIFTY24SF.com

Posted By The Citrus Report

Dado, by Boogie

A great shot by Boogie… there are people who sit at Dolores Park who only wish they could look this authentic.