MY MODERN MET HIGHLIGHTS HOTTEA’S SCOPE INSTALLATION

Artist Eric Rieger, also known as HOTTEA  whose installations have stunned the attendees of visitors to our exhibitions at the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, grabbed the title of one of 2018’s best art installations by My Modern Met. His installation in the entrance of the Scope Art Fair in Miami this past December was vast and jaw-dropping.

He shared his inspiration for the installation with the publication, “Even though we may take things for granted, once they are gone we wish we would have acted differently. Our sun, rain, wind, plants, animals, people, everything could disappear in seconds and when they do it is our memory of them that will carry on assuming there is something beyond our existence here on earth. What I hope people took away from my installation was not only a color experience they will not forget but also a reminder of how much a singular moment can mean.”

To see all the installations selected for this year-end review visit the My Modern Met website.

 

Interview with Daniel Bilodeau for “State of the Art”

The first new works to adorn our project room for 2019 are by Canadian, New York-based artist Daniel Bilodeau for his exhibition State of the Art. Bilodeau’s paintings explore aspects of identity, from the symbolic archetype funneled through art history to portraits of people close to the artists. He combines the immediacy of single rapid strokes, pours, non-objective marks with carefully constructed realistic forms to create gorgeous reimagined portraitures,  where his portraits of people around him are highly personalized, the portraits from art history are depersonalized

In anticipation of State of the Art, our interview with Daniel Bilodeau discusses the inspiration behind this body of work,  creative process, and dream collaboration.

Join us for the opening of State of the Art this Saturday, January 5th from 6 pm – 9 pm. 

SH: For those that are not familiar with you and your work, can you give us a brief look at your artistic background and zodiac sign?

DB: Sure, and I think I’ll start here: while I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, a pivotal moment came when my 5th-grade teacher took us to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art to see the Marc Chagall retrospective. As a child, I could relate to the freedom with color and the lack of anatomical accuracy in the work. And I could see that these works were moving and important; on display in hallowed halls. As soon as we had passed through the exhibition proper we entered a room full of paper and art supplies and we were told, essentially, “Now it’s your turn.” I could draw new parallels at that moment and felt an empowerment. Other crucial moments in my life and art came when studying at the museums of Italy and France for a summer, living as a monk at a Zen monastery for another summer, a blood ceremony with the chief of the Yaqui Native tribe.

My BFA came from Ringling College in Florida, my MFA from the New York Academy of Art in New York City.

It seems unlikely to me that any balls of gas impossibly far from here are conspiring around how my next dinner party or job interview will go. However surprised I’d be to find my fate really is written into a star map, I’ll be damned if I don’t, for some reason, go looking at the public display screens at the train station when they flash the zodiac blurbs. If there is astrological weather in store for me, it’s coming to a Pisces.

SH: What inspired this latest body of work?

DB: The joy and challenge of creating, first of all. Pushing the resonance between smooth and textured, illusory and abstract, deliberate and spontaneous… In terms of content, with these portraits, I was considering how the sense of self today is formed. It’s formed inside an algorithm funneled cacophony of input and expectation, and the manipulation of content produces more and more for us to consider. I wanted to speak of the side of us that is learned balancing with the side which is direct, automatic, and childlike.

When not painting people around me I’ve examined portraits from the past- two in particular- through the lens of our image-addled times. Working from my own previous experiments with a Bronzino and an Ingres, instead of reproductions of the originals, I play a game of telephone- adding, shifting, and seeing what changes over the iterations. Ever more titillating freely available imagery is traded endlessly online. Here I’m embracing this open season on visual content-fascinated by the losses and gains associated with our culture of content manipulations. In the migration of culture into digital space, and the processing of art history through a digital age vastly removed from the original context, I’m dealing with the question of whether these old works are “up for revision;” especially given that they are all definitely receiving it and there is no going back. Where my portraits of people around me are highly personalized, the portraits from art history are depersonalized.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece.

DB: “Unfolding” involved just about as much color and movement as could go into a piece which, in person especially (with its size somehow important), still evokes calm. The interesting challenge, as I put it to myself, was to have the work both full of life and at ease simultaneously.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?

DB: Both and beyond – sometimes it’s a small drawing, and I do take endless photographs and screenshots of everything from spots on the ground to torn up flyposting in New York City to the work of inspiring artists. I also manipulate imagery with physical collage and in Photoshop. The methodologies really vary by the piece.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

DB: The next one- the nascent work of art. Knowing that I can do more, make more, tackle the next one, explore an idea, express myself, inspire someone. There is a wellspring of inspiration and an urgency with the passage of time.

SH: What frustrates you about your work/ creative process?

DB: Pulling brush hairs and paint boogers out of fresh varnish, protecting the sides of the paintings, touch-ups and many other such things that take hours when all I want and need to be doing is painting. The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day when clearly we need many more.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?

DB: If Picasso, Velázquez, myself and a nice bottle of Bourbon all got together I’m sure we could make something happen. Artistically. Also, I would leap at the chance to collaborate with a museum to fill a room (rooms) with creation on a large scale install.

SH: What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?

DB: We all look at life through our own tiny keyhole, no matter how “connected” we are. Art first causes us to pause. Then it introduces a new perspective, feeling, or information to consider and internalize in such a visceral way. There is nothing else like it and to engage with art is to bring a gift into your life.

 

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

DB: Rods and Cones: color swirls plated with a texturally contrasting layer of translucent hardened caramelized sugar varnish, with rods and cones.

SH: Favorite way to celebrate the completion of a project/body of work?

DB: Before cleaning up and getting right back to work I would ordinarily have a great dinner with friends I couldn’t spend time with during the work deluge. This time, however, two days after the opening I’m going to make a dream come true and go on an intensive exploration of eight Southeast Asian countries. The time has come for a great adventure.

Artist Statement:

State of the Art – Daniel Bilodeau

Whether playing with an archetype funneled through art history or a portrait of someone close Daniel Bilodeau is thinking about aspects of identity today. He has been engaged with a series of works which imply certain truths of our time: the modern sense-of-self formed inside an algorithm funneled cacophony of input and expectation, and the manipulation of content to produce more and more to consider. His paintings, in form and function, speak of the side of us that is learned and calibrated balancing with the side which is direct, automatic, and child- like. He uses different forms of attention in painting these, combining the immediacy of single rapid strokes, pours, non-objective marks and introduced found objects with carefully constructed realistic forms. Intertwining these into a unified whole beckons out different forms of creative activity and the result speaks to a similar interplay within the psyche of the sitter- the conscious and the unconscious at work simultaneously.

When not painting people around him Bilodeau examines portraits from the past- two in particular- through the lens of our image-addled times. Working from his own previous experiments with a Bronzino and an Ingres, instead of reproductions of the originals, he plays a game of telephone- adding, shifting, and seeing what changes over the iterations. Ever more titillating freely available imagery is traded endlessly online. Here this open season on visual content is embraced by Bilodeau who is fascinated by the losses and gains associated with our culture of content manipulations. In the migration of culture into digital space, and the processing of art history through a digital age vastly removed from the original context, Bilodeau deals with the question of whether these old works are “up for revision” especially given that they are all definitely receiving it and there is no going back. Where his portraits of people around him are highly personalized, the portraits from art history are depersonalized.

Bilodeau displaces and distorts but brings his creations through objectification and back as a haptic, considered physical work of art with presence. Having used the variety of tools at his disposal Bilodeau produces real-world objects demanding attention as signs of the times, remembrances of the past, and an embrace of all the gorgeousness we can make through our ever-widening visual resources and agency.

Interview with Stephanie Buer for “Wild Abandon”

We are starting 2019 off with “Wild Abandon” from Portland-based artist Stephanie Buer. In her latest body of work, Buer returns to Detroit where she explores the city, and shares her finding through photorealistic paintings in oil, and charcoal works on paper. Buer captures the abandoned recesses of the city, finding unexpected richness in its desolation and quietude in its abrupt vacancies. Our interview with Stephanie Buer dives into the inspiration behind this new body of work,  what the role of an artist is in society and her dream creative collaboration.

SH: For those that are not familiar with you and your work, can you give us a brief look at your artistic background?

SB: I spent the majority of my childhood and even into adulthood, training as a classical ballet dancer. So I didn’t start pursuing drawing and painting seriously until College. I went to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, where I studied drawing, painting and stone carving. Right after I graduated all of my stone carving tools were stolen and at the time they were too expensive to replace, so I started focusing on my drawing and painting. I also worked for many years in car design, while I lived in Detroit, once I saved enough to pay off my student loans, I moved to Portland and started making art full time.

SH: What inspired this latest body of work? What buildings and cities did you explore?

SB: This body of work was inspired by Detroit, a city I love and called home for 10 years. I had taken a break to explore and make work from other cities and was starting to feel a bit homesick, so I decided to go back home for this one. I was also inspired by the cold, snowy weather. It has been years since a good snowy winter and a winter break trip to see family, have coincided. There has been a lot of warmer winters in the last 6 years or so and I just love painting and drawing snow. It makes me so happy, I couldn’t wait to get out and explore. I was home for two weeks and the temperature was never above 20 degrees. It was so cold one of the days that my camera froze! My closest friend and old college roommate recently bought some property and a small building in Detroit. It’s in a neighborhood that is a bit newer to me, so I spent some time with her getting to know some of the places and buildings nearer to her new home. Spingwells, Del Ray, the Old Continental Motors Factory, Corktown, these are just a few of the locations that I worked from.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece.

SB: I usually draw very blank skies, just plain white paper most of the time. I made a larger drawing that had a lot of cloud work in the sky. I know it doesn’t sound like much but it was quite challenging and I think it turned out well. I also tried some new techniques with the painting of clouds too and I think it was successful. I guess I’m proud of the clouds. Sounds a bit silly but I am.

SH: Abandon buildings can attract interesting characters and private security, has there been a time where you had to talk your way out of a tricky situation? Is there a particular piece from that moment we can reference?

SB: I’ve been pretty lucky, in Detroit, there isn’t a lot of security. Birdman and I had to run and scale a small wall to get away from security in LA once, that was pretty fun. The climbing skills really came in hand.
In Detroit its more often very interesting characters that you run into, and I love that. While gathering images for this last body of work, my friend and I were stopped by an older man, taking his son and granddaughter on a tour of the neighborhood he grew up in. This neighborhood, like most in Detroit was lively but desolate, on account of the riots back in the 60’s. His son wasn’t too amused with the tour so he was excited to tell us some stories from his childhood. He told us that Stevie Wonder grew up in the same neighborhood as him and that as a young kid, he used to deliver milk. He was showing us where his house once stood. The drawing, Searching for Stevie Wonder, is that spot.

SH: What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? Why and what did you learn?

SB: The most challenging piece was definitely the large painting of the Continental Motors factory. It is the largest painting I have made to date, even building the canvas was a learning experience. I am a big fan of the artist, Rackstraw Downes. He paints a lot of wide-angle landscapes where he exaggerates the curvature of the earth in the horizon and building lines. I wanted to experiment with that and it was very difficult. I find very straight lines and square angles comfortable, they’re easy to make look perfect, but long sweeping, organic lines are so hard to perfect.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

SB: I love painting and drawing. I get excited to be in the studio every day, even after doing this for so long, it never gets old. Going through new images and planning out pieces and bodies of work is exciting. Trying new techniques is exciting. I like the way that the work helps the viewer to see beauty in things and places where they might not stop to look. I love it!

SH: What frustrates you about your work/ creative process?

SB: The sustainability and the business side of an art career are the things that frustrate me the most. There’s not much about the creative process that I dislike. Even the tedious bits, like laying in the construction lines or painting hundreds of bricks, I’m even starting to enjoy a bit of framing! Its just the business part of it that I find frustrating.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?

SB: I daydream about collaborating with a choreographer and a dance company. Sometimes my pieces feel to me like the settings on a stage and I wonder what types of movements and costumes someone would dream up to take place on the stages I would create. That’s a super outer space daydream though, never said it out loud before.

SH: What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?

SB: I think the role of an artist in society has many purposes. It depends on the artist. A few things that I think are important though, are to challenge people, to bring into question the ways we live, and the choices we make. Its also to bring beauty into the world.

I would like my work to encourage people to have conversations about what it means to be more present, to be in the moment and observe the world. It’s a societal lifestyle change I see happening and it worries me. I would also like my work to challenge peoples relationship with the environment, to bring attention to our relationship with it and our responsibility to it. I had some great conversations with myself during the making of this body of work, about these points. I love winter, and I love snow, I love being in it, looking at it, capturing it in my pieces. The reality of it though, is that it is rare these days in the midwest. Growing up winters were always cold and snowy but its changing. I know my work is known for focusing on old, dilapidated buildings and graffiti but I wanted these pieces to also showcase the changes we experience with seasons, wintertime, a unique experience to the midwest which I think is not a guarantee these days. It may be something we look back on in a hundred years or so, as a memory. It doesn’t seem like much in capturing it now, but it may be what is most significant about work which artists are making these days. These thoughts definitely inform my life too, they teach me to live a life that is more aware of my impact. Per the earlier point too, I hope making art reminds me to be more present, to put my phone down and to focus on the things that are important.

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

SB: That is an interesting question. There is a lot of snow in these pieces so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch, although, I’m imagining bits of brick and asbestos, some twigs sticking out . . . that’s yucky . . . maybe like vanilla with chocolate and Oreos and other messy looking bits, maybe in a brick patterned waffle cone!

SH: Favorite way to celebrate the completion of a project/body of work?

A trip! I visited my family in Michigan for the holidays after I finished this last body of work, it was great motivation. A trip to the mountains or some time in the desert climbing is also something I really look forward to. I sacrifice those things in the middle of deadlines so its great to be able to fit them in again.

Join us for the opening of Wild Abandon, Saturday, January 5th from 6 – 9 pm.

 

December Opening Reception of Dulk’s “Legacy” and Christophe Konecki’s “Size Matters” with work by Spenser Little in the Thinkspace Office.

We’re proud to be closing out 2018 with a fantastic show by Dulk, Christopher Konecki, and Spenser Little at the Thinkspace Projects gallery in Culver City. The exhibitions opened December 1st and will be closing this weekend.

Dulk’s Legacy showcases an almost sold out gorgeous body of work, and Konecki’s Size Matters is a collection of imaginative modern sculptures. In the office space, Spenser Little’s wire portraits continue to awe and perplex viewers. There are only two more days to see these exhibitions, tomorrow Friday, December 28th and Saturday, December 29th. Don’t miss out!

Stephanie Buer Studio Visit for “Wild Abandon”

We’re excited to kick off 2019 with Stephanie Buer’s photorealistic work of abandoned urban landscapes. Wild Abandon will showcase her poignant oil paintings, and charcoal works on paper. Below is a peek into Buer’s Portland studio captured earlier this year.

Join us at the opening of Wild Abandon, January 5th from 6 pm to 9 pm.