16 April 2015
A few weeks ago I met with Russian-born Anton Zolotov, who had recently returned from LA and had a body of work to show me in his Brooklyn studio that was so new he himself did not know what to make of it. It was highly enjoyable to delve into his work and trace his playful, cynical, intuitive and intelligent approach to art-making. Having studied History of Art prior to going to art school, his broad knowledge is evident, and collides head-on with an awareness of both mundane everyday goings-on, and the artist’s socio-political immediate environment. I found it..
30 March 2015
‘Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom’ (2008) is a sculptural installation by Not Vital consisting of 100 stainless steel lotus flowers, each circa three meters long. The title is simultaneously poetic in its visual language, and absolute in its authoritarian command. ‘Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom’ refers to the slogan for a short-lived propaganda campaign Mao Zedong enforced in 1956. The stainless steel is crafted by hand in Beijing, rather than cast; the latter is now the norm in Europe. Welding together, chasing, and hand-polishing the steel is a complicated, arduous and lengthy process. Indeed, the technical process is an..
04 March 2015
On a recent trip to Bushwick, an established arts district in Brooklyn, I visited the mid-career German painter Robert Janitz. His studio was on the ground floor of a typical brownstone house. Janitz’s paintings were in various stages of completion, so I felt privileged to be exposed to the working practice so closely. The scale of the painting ranges from over life-size to something a little larger than A4 paper. While seemingly abstract, he refers to one body of smaller paintings as ‘portraits’. This added a very different perspective to my interpretation of the work. Janitz is most identifiable as..
05 February 2015
On a recent trip to Brooklyn, I visited sculptor Violet Dennison in her studio, which is located in an ex-sanitation building situated within a grid of industrial-looking streets. This seemed a good complement for her work, which fuses together domestic and urban elements. Her ‘signature’ is the frequent use of the base of found, office ‘swivel-chairs’ as the pedestals of her sculptures. Dennison strips the padded seats off the chair structure and builds in their place, using: plaster, cement, wire, plastic plants, and synthetic feather dusters. The combination of these materials makes the work playful and witty, yet the sculptures..
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