Orange Crush ~ A collaboration with Gallery Orange, New Orleans
July 13th ~ August 18th, 2019
Kurt Pio was born in Cape Town in 1977. He completed his national diploma in Interior Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and had a brief stint in the industry. He then went freelance, assisting the decor editor at VISI Magazine. Thereafter he pursued his painting career and currently works full time in his studio in Cape Town’s CBD.
In 2008 he completed a millinery course at Central Saint Martins Collage in London and in addition to painting, designs his own range of hats. Kurt was a finalist in the Spier Contemporary 2010, South Africa. In May 2011 Kurt moved to Amsterdam and completed a three-month Artist in Residency program with Open Ateliers Zuid Oost. Since then, Kurt has explored a variety of techniques and themes in the visual arts. He was selected to feature at the 2013 Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg, the edit[ed] shop for Wanted Magazine, in the Taj Hotel, four solo exhibitions, one at the trending Woodstock Exchange, one as the opening artist at the brand new Smith Gallery in Cape Town. International Trend forecaster, Lidewij Edelkoort snapped up one of his artworks at Smith and installed it in her curated show titled Fetishism, at the Trapholt Museum of Modern Art in Kolding, Denmark. He went on to be the opening artist for the brand new Studio Dylan Thomaz in Cape Town. He has received considerable coverage in prominent local interior and lifestyle magazines for the past nine years.
“My paintings are about Life, Light, Color, Humanity, Sex, Love, Beauty and God. I’m on a continual search for Beauty – real, classic, imagined, created and perceived. I love Color – the blending, blurring, mixing and total amazingness of it. For a long time I pushed around pixels. Now I essentially push around liquid plastic. My art can be classified as Realism bordering on Abstraction In my portraits, I spend 90% of the time carefully rendering an image, then spend the other 10% basically obliterating it. But sometimes a completely new persona emerges. Finally, hopefully, paying some sort of irreverent tribute to all of the great painters, craftsmen and thinkers from the past who came up with all the great ideas first.” ~ G.C.
Robert Mars’ artwork chronicles an evolving fascination with the Golden Age of American popular culture and celebrates the icons of the 1950’s and 60’s by taking inspiration from this culture long past. Through the application of a rich color palette and tongue-in-cheek attitude, Mars’ paintings evoke a vintage quality of design and pay homage to the idealized age of growth and hopefulness that was prevalent in the USA at the end of the Depression. A time before the internet and mobile technology, where information was not instantly available to millions and there was no such thing as instant internet celebrities, and instead people lived with the myth of the unique, untouchable and unforgettable personalities of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley.
By merging his own concept of personal idols with those of mainstream culture, Mars is able to focus his work on a deeper analysis of the Golden Age of American personalities. As an artist, he has always been fascinated with 1950’s and 60’s culture, and his early work reflects many of the architectural and mechanical icons from this era. Muscle cars, motels, logos and hulking monuments to the “modern” feeling of the time permeate his early canvases. More recently however, Mars’ artwork has shifted toward the culture of celebrity and he is amazingly attuned to the fact that these instantly recognizable and larger-than-life personalities continue to resonate with contemporary American culture.
A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York, Mars begins the creative process by preparing his surface with multiple layers of brown paper in order to define the edges and delineate the background planes of color. He then alternates layers of paint and vintage paper ephemera, sanding away portions of the layers as he works, revealing the desired portions of under painting with the overall intention to provide the viewer with a muted window into America’s past. Chronicling this fascination with 1950’s and 60’s iconography, Mars has produced a body of artwork from his studio in New York that celebrates the commonplace objects and icons of an America long past, in a thoroughly modern and exquisitely constructed manner. His eye for a distinct facet of American history is impeccable and his ability to manipulate the color and wordplay of vintage printed material has earned him reference with the likes of Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Diebenkorn among other masters from the School of Pop. Robert Mars’ artwork is exhibited worldwide including museum collections in Munich, Tokyo, Amsterdam, London, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Paris, Aspen and Naples. His artwork has also been selected for the upcoming Absolut Vodka 2012 campaign and he was also recently commissioned by Oceania Cruise Lines to create site specific pieces for their newest cruise ship, the Marina.
Harriet White’s work explores themes of ambiguity and artifice. Through painting she aims to combine photographic accuracy and painterly distortion to create a removed ‘version’ of an image, one that has been translated but in itself is open to interpretation; to suggest the presence of some kind of narrative but never to clarify what it might be. Born in 1979 in Taunton, currently living and working in Bristol.looking into the abstraction of images by means of close cropping and heightened colour, the subject matter becomes ambiguous and almost irrelevant as the intricacies of the light reflected in the photograph take centre stage.
Dan Tague is a multi-media artist, curator, and activist whose work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Tauge’s work is multi-faceted. He is well-known for his dollar bill series that are a hybrid of sculpture, photography and political statements. Tague often addresses the issues of our day by rendering visual equivalents by the most powerful means necessary. Installations, photography and artistic activism are his means of confronting and responding to the concerns of today’s world.
His work appears in numerous public and private collections including The Whitney Museum of Art and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation. He is the recipient of several awards including The Joan Mitchell Foundation and Pollock Krasner Foundation. He was also an artist-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the La Napoule Art Foundation in France.
Lyle Carbajal is a multimedia artist focusing on the social commentary of cultural and economic perception and their implications in contemporary art. Romancing Banality is his current traveling installation exploring these ideas, in which viewers are fully immersed into the environment of his subjects for a truly distinctive, engaging, multi-sensory experience that challenges perspective and social beliefs.
By inhabiting the city of upcoming exhibitions in advance, Carbajal creates a unique audience experience–a manifestation of experiences, people, attitudes, and perception- which is in a constant state of transformation as it evolves, with each location simultaneously serving as both subject and muse.
Mike Egan is a Pennsylvania artist and former funeral home director, recently transplanted to Portland, OR, whose distinctive skull paintings are thought provoking, disturbing and beautiful. Mike says, “My paintings are created using acrylic paint, shellac and sandpaper and are made on wood panels and stretched canvases. The subject matter in my work tends to deal with life, death and religion. I’ve been working in funeral homes for the last five years and I’ve become quite familiar with all three subjects. Through funerals we tend to celebrate not only someone dying but we also celebrate that person’s life. Through religion we hope that our loved ones are in a better place, that they are not suffering anymore. My inspiration comes from many different sources: The German Expressionists, stained glass windows, Halloween, Southern folk art, funeral homes, horror films, music, lowbrow/outsider art, Religious icons, etc. I am always adding and subtracting ideas and colors to my work to make each painting have its own story. I like to think that each painting is in some way a good bye to somebody who passed away. A funeral portrait.”
Emily Thompson attended the prestigious High School of Art and Design and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She spent 10 years working as an art director for the In-house Advertising Department of Bloomingdale’s and after that a year as senior graphic designer of marketing at Playboy Enterprises. During those years and afterwards she also had a successful career as an editorial illustrator. Her illustrations appeared in major publications, books, on greeting cards, advertisements and products.
Today she focuses mainly on graphic design and fine art. As an award winning graphic designer, she works for clients all over the U.S. specializing in the design of printed materials.
As fine artist she has been recognized both regionally and nationally for her paintings. Her work is about the beauty of design, atmosphere, mood, color, the application of paint and texture. She is influenced by the landscape both rural and urban, roadside architecture and vintage signage. She has exhibited at The Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, The Trenton City Museum, The Monmouth Museum and other venues in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and California. Her work is part of private collections throughout the U.S. Emily and her husband, fine artist George Thompson live and work in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
David Bray Born in Dartford, Kent, in 1970, as a child Bray would apparently draw images of space travel, where he would depict himself and his friends visiting other Planets and Universes. As he grew older he began to explore a dark, egotistical fantasy world, which is still apparent in the work he makes today being influenced and inspired by a wide range of artists: from sculptor Allen Jones, comic artist Eric Stanton, erotic photography by Helmut Newton and Araki and paintings by Gustav Klimt, and Alberto Vargas.
Using basic drawing tools, such as pens, pencils and paper, Bray creates delicate and time-consuming drawings which explore emotion, utopia and a world of fantasy through his subject matter of the beautiful and erotic, but the unnatainable female form. His compelling works reveal his lifetime love of drawing and a very active imagination taking the viewer into his dark, amative world of fantasy. David has also had a successful commercial career since graduating in 1992 from Central St. Martins, in London with a degree in Graphic Design.
Kerry Smith is an art director, graphic designer and painter. His work is exhibited across the United States and in London. Kerry has also been featured in the international publications of PRINT magazine, HOW, Logo Lounge and 1,000 Dog Portraits.
Off The Record is a series of Gouache paintings of iconic record label and album art. The center holes are liner notes from the 1960s that often contrast the featured artist. Off The Record combines my love for album art, graphic design and fine art; the series was inspired by Beck’s 2015 Grammy Award for best album.
Conceptual artist Stephen Wilson’s street-education of textile-based techniques began with a freelance career in New York’s garment industry of the 90s. His métier quickly grew into a multifaceted studio art practice, with Wilson’s skill in digitized-embroidery at the core of his technique. Employing embroidery, painting, 3D printing, photography, sculpture and more, Wilson’s mixed-media assemblages are unique explorations of contemporary themes. His pieces often contain millions of embroidery stitches and take hundreds of hours to create.
From his studio located in Charlotte, North Carolina, a former mill town and textiles hub, Wilson aims to evoke questions about appropriation, conspicuous consumption and brand worship. His work has been exhibited in diverse locales from the Lincoln Center to the atelier of fashion-house Brunello Cucinelli, and is found in galleries, museums and private collections worldwide. Wilson has been featured in numerous fine art and popular media such as Town & Country Magazine, Huffington Post and ArtHive Magazine. Scala Arts and Heritage Publishers’ recent book on the Artist, Stephen Wilson: Luscious Threads, was released in Fall 2018.
Michael Longo is a New Jersey based artist who works predominantly in the genre of traditional oil painting. He has exhibited in New York and regionally. His new series
“Shark River Inlet” is an on-going project, in which the artist has been concentrating on one specific location to paint and sketch almost daily from different vantage points and throughout the four seasons. In this series he demonstrates the stark contrasts one can visualize depending on the lighting, time of day, weather patterns and time of year.
Gretchen Weller Howard was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. A self-described colorist, she employs both symbols and color to communicate the deeply personal meaning of each work. Her early focus included graphic design and decorative painting and even now, twenty years later, elements of both disciplines can still be seen in her mixed media abstracts. Over the years, she has developed a distinct vocabulary of images to describe the emotional threads that tie her work together.
The vessels, or boats of sorts, “appeared” first, and initially held within them the shredded remains of paintings she had lost during Katrina. After the storm, when Gretchen and her husband returned to their home in Pass Christian, MS, all that remained standing was a huge oak on the beach. Surrounding it were the remnants of an extensive collection of paintings that neighbors had collected and placed beneath the tree. Unable to throw them away, she tore them into long strips and later incorporated them into her work. These boats held safe the memory of the past and yet celebrated the rebitrth of the entire region. Soon after, bridges appeared as Gretchen returned to her birthplace and committed to laying down her family roots in New Orleans once again. And finally, the bird. Like the others, these symbols appeared suddenly and stood upon the bridges as sentinels of possibility and a bright future, never in flight, but poised for the great leap.
Today Gretchen’s work still primarily revolves around birds and boats, but the meanings have shifted and grown to take on a new, rich, and ever evolving language. They have both become vessels through which an idea is conveyed, and together with a supporting cast of symbolic characters, a story is told and a mystery unfolds.
Jill Ricci “One of the most arresting visuals for me is an old wall layered with papers, graffiti and text – our modern hieroglyphics. I try to re-create this beauty in my work, the layers of time and decay are what interest me. I hope that the person viewing my work will linger, trying to discover hidden imagery and text and depending on their life experience, find their own meaning or interpretation. Found images and objects function as signifiers of both individual and collective experience. By incorporating materials that are linked to the realities of daily life, I strive to establish an immediate identification between the viewer and the work of art. I am exploring the place between “high art” and popular culture, text and image, figuration and abstraction, past and present , and two and three-dimensional space. By combining elements of advertising ephemera, hand-stenciled papers, global motifs, design and abstraction I find a way to create work that feels both ancient and modern. I begin working without a final vision in mind: I use collected materials and allow pattern, texture, color and structure to emerge organically. In my current body of work, I aim to evoke the walls and architecture of exotic places, old subway walls with layers of posters, ads, graffiti and the stratum of paint with a hint of Malibu Barbie all simultaneously existing on one canvas.
Gavin Benjamin combines original analog photography and appropriated images with collage, paint, varnish, and Swarovski crystals to create a mashup of couture art. He is highly influenced by the way culture, media, politics, fashion, and design intersect.
George Thompson is a nationally-recognized award-winning fine artist. His new series of ceramic and paper mâché sculptures reflect his life long love of theater, magic, traditional music, improvisational comedy and the circus.
Influences also include Coney Island, Puppets, Carnival Side Shows, Sailors, the photographs of Edward J. Kelty and Diane Arbus, 1940s and 50s horror films and his parents who were both acrobats in the world famous Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Thompson is originally from New York and earned his fine arts degree from Pratt Institute and also studied at the Art Students League.