Reaching back to a theme from last week’s list of exhibitions, imaginative concepts of what exists within and outside of our solar system seem to be a resounding theme in contemporary art these days. To my delight, German born Thomas Ruff has now created a series of photograms based on black and white satellite photographs taken by ultra-hi resolution cameras on the surface of our friendly neighboring planet, Mars. Ruff’s work is remarkable for his painstaking attention to detail and the way he plays with the photo sensitivity of the paper he uses, the prints’ exposure to light, and a delicate use of pastel color palettes and muted hues.
The best way to describe Ted Stamm’s work is “highly reflective”. This is to say, not in the sense of reflecting light but, rather, with respect to the personal reflection that his minimalist visuals often inspire. His unique aesthetic allows the viewer to gaze at a piece of his for as long as necessary until the mind contorts the visual into whatever his/her imagination desires. Even more interesting, many of Stamm’s paintings, no matter how minimal, are based on moments from his personal life experiences which makes his work both a practice in subjectivity and objectivity.
Sam Gilliam — “Hard-Edge Paintings, 1963-1966” curated by Rashid Johnson – Los Angeles, CA
Sam Gilliam is best known for his stunningly colorful paintings which are created on large-scale pieces of draped canvas. The drape of the fabric creates a unique 3-dimensional effect that blurs the line between Abstract Expressionism, Lyrical Abstraction, textile, and tapestry. However, in a clever curatorial move, golden child of the Post-Black school of thought, Rashid Johnson, has chosen to illuminate the more technical side of Gilliam by displaying some of his earliest paintings. It is here where we see that Gilliam’s later work was born out of an organic and overwhelming early technical talent that perhaps has been previously undersold. For our LA readers, this is definitely a show not to be missed.
Romanian born and Berlin based Marieta Chirulescu will be presenting work starting this Friday in Brussels, Belgium. What is exciting about her pieces is that they by no means strive for technical and compositional perfection. Rather, it is the imperfections that make her very simple, neat, minimalistic style all her own. She also weaves in and out of numerous mediums and uses very functional tools, scanners, copy machines, and the like to create her work giving it a very gritty and edgy feel. The show’s lack of a title hearkens back to this concept of an idea stripped of its “title” and presented in its unvarnished natural state. Exciting!
Bringing some hard-edge style and an element of danger into a sophisticated private gallery in London? Thrilling! Pedro Reyes, based out of Mexico City has brought the concept of sustainability, recyclability, and the use of discarded objects and objets trouves to new and truly amazing heights as he has created an entire show out of reused and recycled guns and illegal firearms. Even more amazing, he has converted these dangerous weapons into sculptures and musical instruments, allowing beauty to flower out of the objects of violence. As he recently stated rather poetically, “It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place, the music expel[s] the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for the lives lost.” Beautiful.