Monthly Archives: February 2011

Talking to Brett Amory

Question: Tell me about “Waiting”

I started the ‘Waiting’ series in 2000. I was working in Emeryville and living in
San Francisco so I was commuting via Bart. I became really interested in how people looked in the
morning especially on Monday after the weekend. I noticed how everyone seemed to be somewhere
else, not at all in the present. I also started noticing a disconnect. The Bart would be packed shoulder
to shoulder but there would be no communication and minimal eye contact. Back then, the series was
all about Bart and I was taking a more traditional approach to painting. It was more paint what I see
or what the photograph detailed. I stopped the series in 2003 and experimented with a few different
types of mediums and styles of painting.

I came back to the series in 2007, but the idea of waiting changed. The people ceased to be
exclusively travelers, and I began to emphasize figures selected from anonymous snapshots of city
streets. I started pairing down the image to key elements of the compositions to provide an outward
echo of the inner states of the figures. Although the experience of waiting is still there, the perception
of it has changed from one of mundane task to one leavened with transcendence.

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Talking to Jason Lahr

Question: Tell me about “Plexi”

My primary interest is in narrative: the ways in which paintings can tell stories and the types of storytelling that are available to our contemporary moment. The narratives that I’m interested in creating involve the ways in which identity is formed by culture. In particular, I’m interested in how masculine identity (and specifically, working class male identity) arises from both mass- and sub- culture based sources. The images that I use are all appropriated and are executed in a variety of painting languages in an effort to create a web of references and allusions based in our culture. I write all of the texts and they’re designed to undermine the potential machismo of the work, given that the paintings collect a range of “boy images.” In the texts the female characters tend to be in positions of power, control, and authority, while the male characters are generally injured, inept, or mystified in their interactions with women.

In Plexi the macho histrionics of the Trans Am, line drawn devil “hails” or “horns” hand, and pattern lifted from Eddie Van Halen’s classic “Frankenstrat” guitar (additionally, the title Plexi refers to the 1960’s era Marshall amplifiers that formed Eddie Van Halen’s signature “brown sound.”) are offset by a quiet text in which the female protagonist treks her way into the rust belt wilderness of a strip-mine as unseen machinery thrums in the distance. The moment captured here is liminal. She crosses the border of the strip-mine and faces uncertain footing as she makes her way into its shale laden topography, which is echoed in the grey pixilated digital field beneath the text. Ultimately the painting brings a moment of calm perseverance together with a collection of male adolescent obsessions and nerdy minutiae.


Talking to Steve Seeley

Question: Tell me about “The Delicate Matter”

“The “delicate matter” is an ongoing pseudo-autobiographical project that, over the last seven years, has told the story of Man and his departure to space to find something better, only to be confronted with resentment and hostility from his Animal brethren when he attempts to return. Banished to space, Man now longs for his return to earth. Meanwhile, back on earth, Animals begin to fulfill their true roles which include, but are not limited to, becoming gods, developing super powers, joining gangs and rocking out to heavy metal. ”



Talking Curbs & Stoops: Active Space opening

Curbs & Stoops is pleased to announce the grand opening of Curb & Stoops: Brooklyn with an interdisciplinary art event open to the public. Join us for an evening of art, music and conversation.

Open Studios: Ashley Zelinskie, Brian Maller, Sebastian Vallejo

Participating artists include: Angel Otero, Ashley Zelinskie, Sebastian Vallejo, Brian Maller, Brian Matthew, Christopher Rivera, Hector Arce, Jason Mones, Jeffrey Pena, Jonathan Chapline, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Pep Williams, Hector Hernandez,  Maya Eliya Stein and Rachel LaBine.

Participating collectives: Lapiztola Collective, Super Pop Collective , and UR New York Collective.

Curbs and Stoops: Brooklyn is a 12,000 square foot progressive cultural center designed to promote community through art. We are working quickly to develop the many facets of the physical space which we hope resembles the diversity and excitement of our interactive presence. Once completed the facilities will house artists studios, a residency program, exhibition spaces, and our art accessibility think tank that will continue to produce the Curbs & Stoops blog and curated publication. Friday’s event will include
five exhibitions, three open studios and a party all designed to highlight the range and caliber of artists we will be collaborating with.


566 Johnson Street 2nd Floor
Friday, February 18, 6-10PM

Opening night party with DJ Grimmace.
Beers courtesy of DogFish Head.

Download Event Map Here!
RSVP via Facebook Here.
Download Press Release Here.
Make your own poster Here.
Download Images Here.


Talking to Brian Maller

Question: Tell me about “Female Nude Dematerializing”

“Female Nude Dematerializing” is about using human form as a means toward abstraction. Most of my work deals with ideas in art that have been heavily explored, in this case using the “figure as muse” scenario. The idea of using painting’s History as “ready made” is particularly exciting to me. I tend to be fairly forensic when researching ideas for a piece. A lot of time is spent looking at art online as well as in books.


Talking to Zach Johnsen

Question: Tell me about “Acid Over Easy”

in brief, this is what Acid Over Easy is about:  Explosive moments of inspiration or revelation in an otherwise ordinary and privileged day of an upper class 9 to 5er.  Acid Over Easy is a continuation in exploring the concept of a break in routine.


Talking to Eric Yahnker

Question: Tell me about “Cracks of Dawn”

“I titled my recent exhibition in L.A. “Cracks of Dawn” after this particular piece. Whereas the entire show sheds a perversely poetic light on the continued repackaging of the ‘American dream,’ and its uncanny ability to corrupt and cannibalize in the pursuit of its own preservation, this particular drawing more specifically examines the manifest destiny of women in the modern American political and business landscape. One alarming statistic which bolsters the fact that women will continue to grow as a societal force are that for every two men graduating college in the U.S. today, there are three women. Another interesting fun-fact is the last three White House’s have exclusively contained first daughters, signaling the possibility of a future role-reversing torch-passing by names such as Clinton, Bush, and Obama could only be handed to females. Obviously, I couldn’t conclude a description of this piece without noting the more Freudian implications therein, as well as the consideration of a long list of other definitions/synonyms of “cracks,” but it would require far too much bandwidth to go on…”

Crack of Dawn – 2011, Ambach & Rice @ Kunsthalle L.A., Chinatown, Los Angeles


Talking to Jonathan Chapline

Question: Tell to me about “Found Identities”

“Found Identities”, my newest series of work, relates my own personal memories to those of found, discarded photographs. The anonymous snapshots of unknown subjects invoke a response to my own memories, allowing for a reinterpretation and revitalization of the older captures.

The photographs that I interpret and base my work upon are utilized as a method of appropriating memory vs. the loss of memory through the discarding of an antique image. Scenery, backdrops and atmospheres portrayed in the past images invoke a familiar response. This context allows me to create a reinterpretation and invention that imposes my memories and experiences into new imagery. The work becomes a way of questioning the past and the way things have been remembered. Through my acquisition of the lost and revitalization of those past experiences, I am reframing them through my new vision of the event, allowing me to impose a new vantage point.

Question: Tell me about “Bedroom Door”

“Bedroom Door” is a video depicting an installation set out to create spaces and objects out of ersatz construction materials (foamcore for sheetrock, for example). By making use of this form of theatrical presence, I entreat the viewer to suspend his or her disbelief and enter into a fictional world that is intended to sit within what is commonly referred to as the “uncanny valley”: the place where a representation’s proximity to reality fosters a sense of uneasiness in the person experiencing it.

The theatricality, attained through lighting and other special effects, becomes the catalyst for this decision. In order to draw the viewer closer to the moment, the use of menacing orange smoke billowing from underneath a real readymade door alludes to a cinematic horror show, or at least, a fire safety instructional tableau. At the same time, my set pieces contain enough intentional flaws, moments of shoddy construction, and cheap special effects to continue to return the viewer to the awareness that what they’re experiencing is, in fact, a fiction, and a highly flawed one at that.


Talking to Rachel LaBine

Question: Tell me about “One day Porcupine returned from there, fabulously rich.”

“Porcupine” was part of a body of paintings last year that took science fiction films as their starting points. I had been thinking about the notion of the uncanny and how that was used in scifi film; how, for example, fabricated projections into the future were used to talk about the reality in which a certain film had been produced. More specifically, I was interested in the visual articulation of those relationships in the films, how abstraction was employed to a disconcerting effect and how that correlated to abstraction in painting. “One day Porcupine returned from there, fabulously rich” is a line from Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”.

Question: Tell me about “Mark Zuckerberg Presents: Build Your Own Totem”

Mark Zuckerberg Presents: Build Your Own Totem, a collaboration with artist Lee Johnson for a show called “Totemic”. We built the installation together and then performed during the two-hour opening for the show. Lee recently sent me some eloquent writing that he did on that piece – here is an excerpt:

Lee Johnson and Rachel LaBine’s installation Mark Zuckerberg Presents: build your own totem began with a completely white world constructed from a mash up of unrecognizable materials, objects from our daily lives such as televisions, toasters, and vacuum cleaners and layers of electronic digital video and projection.  During the performance, done within the installation for one night only, Johnson and LaBine dressed in skintight white jump suits and became genderless and nearly indistinguishable from one another. The characters within the surreal space were detached from physical interaction and communication.  Paint, slowly dripping from buckets on the centralized column of cultural detritus, actively changed the reality into a hot, colorful mess before the viewer’s eyes.  Communicating only through an online computer, Abigail Blank [Goddess Gemstonez], a fictitious shared identity on Facebook created for the performance, allowed for inquiries or friend requests by the audience via a nearby computer, all of which was projected onto the rear wall of the installation.  Out of the Facebook communication between Abigail Blank and the audience arose questions regarding identity, social norms, intercommunication and the pervasive nature of technology within American culture…Packed with digital technology to reflect the maximalist overstimulation of mass media, Johnson and LaBine’s Mark Zuckerberg Presents: build your own totem neurotically explored boundaries between physical and digital, truth and lie, presence and absence, and the construction of our identities.(…) The works explore the plural nature of reality through immersive environments and viewer interactions.  This pairing reflects a sense of the global culture’s growing interest in controlling and exploring our individual personalities in a progressively expanding world of digital communication.’



Talking to Daydreaming With….James Lavelle

Question: What is Daydreaming?
Inspired by the desire to marry music and visual art, DAYDREAMING…WITH JAMES LAVELLE is a unique and visceral new exhibition experience, bringing together some of the most high profile and acclaimed creative names working in music, art, film, fashion and design. Each artist will create a brand new artwork inspired by new music composed for the project by UNKLE. Inspired by a lifetime of work and musical collaborations, (UNKLE) takes the role of the Curator for this unprecedented pop-up exhibition at HAUNCH OF VENISON gallery which takes place in Mayfair, London, over the summer. Each track has been assigned to a major contemporary creative, who will in turn respond to the track using his or her own visual language to create a unique experience for the viewer. Working with artists representing a wide range of disciplines, these experiences will be combined under one roof to create the ultimate multi-sensory environment.

2007 Turner Prize nominee, Nathan Coley

Return to the wild, Kai and Sunny

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