Thursday, September 25, 2008

NEXT@Flux: a closer look

I finally managed to get over to the Next show over at Flux (put together by Brian Grey). And while overall I was/am glad to have a gallery within bicycling distance of my house, the show was a bit of a hodgepodge (I say that in the full realization that I too share the hodgepodge label in my recent effort).

In the show there were some really witty and whimsical pieces, however, there were also works that seemed like watered-down versions of other Jacksonville artists.

But first: there were two artists whose works, though clearly heavily design-influenced, were pretty solid. First off, the heavily commented-upon Karen Kurycki. The elegant, and seeming-lack-of-control luminosity of her mixed-media-ish watercolors have a really satisfying quality--that I suspect many of us have striven for, only to get a muddy, murple mess for our efforts.

Kurycki’s works are especially interesting because of their size. Small-ish they neither proclaim preciousness by virtue of fitting into one’s palm, nor do they obtrusively take up half of a wall.

Ashley Hazen’s works, also graphically influenced, evinced a kind of pleasing nostalgia, though I am not sure that these paintings wouldn’t be just as appropriate on a stylishly distressed t-shirt. Despite myself, I tend to be drawn to works that merge text with rendering, and have a semi-homespun feel to them. It is entirely possible that my admiration of these works stems from a purely self-referential place.

There were also a few smaller pieces in the show that deserved a closer look: Martin Moore’s Resurrection made me think of Tom Robbins’s Another Roadside Attraction. Though usually I pretty readily write-off work that is too overtly religious in reference, this small piece was, well, funny. Plus literary allusions (conscious or unconscious) are like catnip.

Yvonne Lozano’s piece, In the Trash Can, which shows a young child immersed in a bubble-bath filled trash can, raises questions of story-telling and memory, memoir and veracity. As a child, Lozano and her family struggled, so I wonder if this is a depiction of an actual memory--as are some of her works--or if it is a symbolic piece: trash to transformation.

Lozano herself says, “Nope, no symbolism. We actually did have a field day with Mr bubbles in the trash cans. The dog would sometimes join us."

Several artists in the show had works on display that recall the work of others:

It seems that Alexis (one name only) owes a visual debt to Jason Wright, Josh Hoye to Sean Thurston, and Shane Douberly to Mactruque. Often similarities in work are unintentional, and even unconsciously made by the artist-at-hand. Personally, I too have had to have the uncomfortable “derivative” conversation. And though it is never easy-to-hear, it is often necessary.

*pictured, the {newly} ubiquitous BoomFox and Hazen’s piece, The Dream.


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Ben said...

Regarding Shane's work, although I can easily see the similarities you bring up, I have the good fortune to be able to see his work from a historical perspective. In high school he was already working with vivid, yet harmonious, color schemes and what I would consider "thicker" painting methods. He studied painting in college and really honed his approach there. His current work seems like a very natural step in a long progression (especially his portrait work, which is ALL Shane).

Aside from that, I too was impressed with Karen (the lobster in particular) and Ashley's work. Another local artist with similar, graphic design flavored work, is Kristi Holliwell, who I saw at the last Vestal show.

I was surprised by how much I actually liked at this show, beyond those already mentioned.

madeleine said...

Dear ben,

Thank you for sharing, I guess what I was saying (rather ineffectually) was that when you are --lets say-- newly out of school, and working with that level of technical skill, then it might be time to force oneself to evolve.

Here's what I mean: the other day I was talking with mark Creegan about his installations, and how, initially they'd been a way for him to challenge himself, but now, he feels like he has a real grasp on them, and feels as if he must push beyond the site-specific works into territory that is unfamiliar once again.

I'd love to see what Shane, with his obvious understanding of paint, could/will do.

Ben said...

" might be time to force oneself to evolve."

Having seen his work for years, I can tell you it has evolved. I remember his highschool work focusing on giraffe heads with wild pink and blue squares in the background. I also remember gorgeous representational paintings from college. For Shane, the evolution seems to be one towards poignancy. One of his paintings from the NEXT show was almost like a Rothko in it's simplistic horizontality.

"...he has a real grasp on them, and feels as if he must push beyond ...into territory that is unfamiliar..."

I would assert that this IS unfamiliar to Shane, given the work he's been doing for years, this new work is decidedly honest and without ornament.

"I'd love to see what Shane, with his obvious understanding of paint, could/will do. "

I'm curious about that too. I can't wait to see where it goes. I know he has been doing a lot of video work and I wonder if that has / will influence his future work. I am however, equally interested in his current work. And I love the pretty colors :)

Shane Douberly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Douberly said...

Madeleine, I'd love to talk shop.

peace, Shane