Opening Reception for Seth Armstrong’s ‘Pretty Deep Shit’ & Brian Mashburns ‘ Axiom’

We closed out April with new exhibitions from Seth Armstrong and Brian Mashburn that drew in quite the Saturday night art crowd. Armstrong’s ‘Pretty Deep Shit’ debuted a new body of work that was a love letter to the golden hour and shimmering night lights of Los Angeles. Rich saturated colors and voyeuristic details, Armstrong’s work is truly some that must be seen in person to fully appreciate the sometimes literal cheekiness of his pieces.

In the project room Mashburn’s ‘Axiom’ debuted a new body of work that was inspired by the current political climate and environmental concerns. He continues to take us on a tour of this other world where the clouds are thick and the mountains far in the distance.

Get to know the artists better in our interviews with Brian Mashburn and Seth Armstrong.

Available work from ‘Pretty Deep Shit’ and ‘Axiom’ can be viewed on the Thinkspace Gallery website.

Interview with Brian Mashburn for ‘Axiom’

Thinkspace is proud to present Brian Mashburn‘s latest body of work ‘Axiomin our project room. Mashburn, an Ashville-based artist, creates detailed oils painting of smoky landscapes where nature finds it way to prevail amongst a desolate industrialized world.  In anticipation of Mashburn’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Brian Mashburn to discuss his creative process, a day in the studio, and a perfect day in Asheville.

Axioms opening reception is from 6 – 9 pm this coming Saturday, April 29th in our main room

SH: What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work?
BM: For the most part it’s in response to our ongoing political situation and various other social and environmental concerns.

SH: The mountains seem to be more looming and ominous compared to past work, is this a progression or our projection?
BM: Maybe a little of both. I’m pretty fond of traditional Chinese landscape painting, earlier works from the Song and Yuan dynasties in particular. Some of the recent thematic and compositional cues have certainly come from that influence, which includes more prominent mountains. Personally, I don’t see them as necessarily ominous or looming but I understand how they could read as such. For me, the mountains represent either an ideal place or state of mind or serve as an anchor for the composition providing stability and/or depth to the picture.

SH: How do you challenge yourself to grow and evolve as an artist?
BM: I try to stay engaged and curious, earnest and when possible not cynical. I do my best to educate myself on a wide variety of topics both technically and conceptually tangential to my work.

SH: What is your creative process? How much does the outside world influence your work and voice?
BM: Quite a bit, there is a ubiquity about the news these days that is sort of unavoidable and painting can be a good way to process things, a kind of catharsis for sure. For example, the painting called “Great Leap Forward” began as a response to Trump’s proposed border wall and other antics from this administration. It got me thinking about examples from history in which a brutish solution failed to address a nuanced problem. The historic Great Leap Forward was Mao Zedong’s campaign to force China from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. A particularly insidious part was the mandate to kill all Eurasian tree sparrows and rats in China in an effort to boost grain production for export. I guess the thinking was the fewer grain-eating sparrows there were the larger the harvest and subsequent export business would be. The plan failed but not before creating an ecological catastrophe that greatly exacerbated the Great Chinese Famine. Scattered throughout the painting are several references to Mao’s rise to power and looking on are 3 tree sparrows and a rat.

SH: Can you walk us through what a day in the studio looks like?
BM: I wake up around 6 or 7 most days then have my coffee and read until 8 or 9. The rest of the morning I try and focus on the things that are either more difficult or less appealing, things that I will dread doing until I get them out of the way. The afternoon usually finds me down some rabbit hole either in a painting or doing research. I’ll take an occasional break to play with the dog or go for a walk. I try and finish up around 8.

SH: What do you enjoy doing when not painting? What would be a perfect day in Asheville?
BM: I like to hike. I also watch birds. Asheville is a great town for both. There is a scenic route called the Blue Ridge Parkway nearby, it’s sort of like our version of the PCH. It closes in the winter whenever there is snow or ice. On those days I try and get up to the parkway early in the morning and walk the closed road. Those are pretty ideal days in Asheville.

SH: If you were to collaborate with any artists dead or alive, who would it be and why?
BM: It would be cool to work on a mural with Thomas Hart Benton, I think our approaches would be similar and I would learn a great deal.

SH: What excites you about other artists work?
BM: That’s hard to say, I appreciate nuance, integrity, and technical proficiency but those things may or may not generate excitement. There is something about the immediacy of visual art that produces a sensory experience separate from critical thinking.

SH: Are you a binge-watcher/listener? If so, what’s been your latest addition?
BM: Yes, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks compulsively. I binged S-Town twice the first week it came out and recently ran across The Atlantic’s feed on Soundcloud. Recent audiobooks include Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, Them by Jon Ronson, and The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker.

SH: If your work was translated into a cocktail what would it be made out of and taste like?
BM: Bourbon, neat.

 

Brian Mashburn’s “Axiom” opening April 29th

Brian Mashburn
Axiom
April 29 – May 20, 2017

Concurrently on view in Thinkspace’s project room are new works by Brian Mashburn in Axiom. Based in Asheville North Carolina, Mashburn creates phenomenally detailed oil paintings of foggy landscapes, in which remnants of the natural world exist uneasily alongside evidence of its all but complete industrialization.

Dark and brooding, the stylized moodiness of Mashburn’s work is inspired by the foggy mountains of Appalachia and the heavy, opaque smogs that descend upon Hong Kong and parts of Southeastern China. Like a tangible veil, the gray film is itself a dark harbinger of the destructive forces of industry. Mashburn’s landscapes are indistinct and seemingly sooty vistas, where spires of human architectures and crags of rocky mountains carve out its backgrounds. Darkly and otherworldly, they share similarities with the tradition of 19th-century gothic landscape and its championing of all things eerie, though they feel distinctly contemporary and surreal in their free mixing of historical and cultural references, architectures, and animals.

Mashburn depicts hyper-realistically rendered wildlife in his foregrounds, often posited in stark contrast to the vaporous looseness of the distances. Whether an owl, buffalo, dog, or elephant, the individual isolation of the creature, its contextual disjointedness, and abrupt displacement, when found in the midst of this caliginous world, is jarring and ominous, particularly when set against the traces of human development which are all too apparent in the beyond. These paintings read as narrative fragments, suggesting a larger story beyond the frame – alluded to but never fully disclosed. Vaguely post-apocalyptic, and beautifully thick with foreboding, they show both the vulnerability and resilience of the natural world in spite of human intervention and “progress.”

Thinkspace at Scope Miami Beach 2016

scope-ad

Look for Thinkspace near the fair’s main entrance at booth F05, bringing the heat with mini solo shows from Cinta Vidal and David Cooley + new bodies of work from Alex Yanes / Alexis Diaz / Brian Mashburn / Brian M. Viveros / Glennray Tutor / Jean Labourdette (aka Turf One) / Josh Keyes & Sergio Garcia + our wall of sixty 12×12 inch works from our family of internationally renowned artists.
12×12 group show:
Aaron Li-Hill
Adam Caldwell
Alex Garant
Amy Sol
Baghead
Carl Cashman
Chie Yoshii
Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker
Dan Lydersen
Dan-ah Kim
Daniel Bilodeau
David Rice
Derek Gores
Dulk
Ekundayo
Erik Siador
Frank Gonzales
Glenn Arthur
Henrik Aa. Uldalen
Icy and Sot
James Bullough
James Reka
Jana & JS
Jeremy Hush
Jolene Lai
Josie Morway
Juan Travieso
Kari-Lise Alexander
Kelly Vivanco
Ki Sung Koh
Kyle Stewart
Linnea Strid
Lisa Ericson
Liz Brizzi
Low Bros
Luke O’Sullivan
Lunar New Year
Mando Marie
Marco Mazzoni
Martin Whatson
Mary Iverson
Matt Linares
Matthew Grabelsky
Michael Reeder
Mike Egan
Pam Glew
Rodrigo Luff
Scott Listfield
Scott Radke
Sean Mahan
Sean Norvet
Snik
Tony Philipppou
Wiley Wallace
X-O
Yosuke Ueno
Platinum First View:

Tuesday November 29, 12pm-4pm

VIP & Press Preview:
Tuesday November 29, 4pm-8pm
General Admission:

Wednesday November 30 – Sunday December 4, 11am-8pm

Taking place on Miami Beach at Ocean & 8th

miami

Opening Reception of Nosego ‘Along Infinite River’ and Brian Mashburn ‘Witness’ exhibitions

along infinite river

Saturday, July 18th, Thinkspace Gallery hosted an opening reception for Nosego’s “Along Infinite River” and Brian Mashburn’s “Witness”, along with new works by Drew Leshko in the office. We released three prints that night, one from Brian Mashburn and two from Nosego that will be available on thinkspaceprints.com in the next few days. Please follow Thinkspace Gallery’s social media sites for updates. The new exhibitions will be on view till August 8th.

nosego mural

nosego main room

nosego hand

Nosego infront of piece

brian mashburn infront of work

brain mashburn flamingo

brian mashburn print

photo of a painting

black book nosego

observing work

thinkspace room

david and drew

thinkspace family

Interview with Brian Mashburn for “Witness”

Brian Mashburn Witness Mild Spring

Witness‘ will exhibit new works by Brian Mashburn in the Thinkspace Gallery project room. The opening reception is from 6-9pm on Saturday, July 18th and the show is on view till August 8th.

Warm Up Round (Quickies):
Coffee or tea?
Coffee
Rock, Paper, or Scissors?
Paper
Sweet or Savory?
Sweet

SH: What was your inspiration for “Witness”
BM: The inspiration behind witness was more of a slow build rather than a singular event, no epiphany as is most often the case for me.
My work is an aggregate of influences that evolve within the framework of the type of landscapes I usually paint. These influences, I guess you could call it inspiration, stem from whatever I am exposed to at the time of production: the books I’m reading, the day’s news, the weather, and so on. Each piece individually has a more definable source but when viewed as a whole the inspiration behind this show more vague, fluid.

I will say there were a handful of things that seemed to stand out over the course of making ‘witness’. Namely, I’ve been fascinated with Camille Paglia’s introduction in her relatively recent work Glittering Images. Also been trying to wrap my brain around some of Zisek’s rantings on ideology which I’m pretty sure are profound but a little over my head at times. Finally, I spent some time at the natural history museum in DC and at the national zoo. Both places were immensely helpful in gathering reference. Anyone who is familiar with the Smithsonian NMNH will recognize some to the subjects in these paintings.

SH: Have you ever been to Dollywood?
BM: I’m sorry to say I have not, at least not that I can remember. It’s possible I went when I was younger. That may be something I need to remedy. I have some friends who go somewhat regularly, almost as a pilgrimage. Pigeon Forge (amazing name btw) is pretty close to Asheville, it really is a beautiful place.

SH: What is your process for a painting? Do you work on multiple paintings at a time?
BM: My process is pretty drawn out and labor intensive. I paint in layers, wet on dry, so drying time is always a concern. These days for the most part I can use this to my advantage. I generally have at least a dozen canvas going at any given time and I move between them while waiting for paint to dry. This works for efficiency’s sake but it also allows me to step back, get some distance and reevaluate a work several times during the course of painting.

Brian Mashburn Witness Old Revolution

SH: Favorite brush and paints right now?
BM: I generally use Gamblin oils with a few exceptions, I like a dense titanium white so I’ll often go Winsor & Newton for that. That said, I’m not super particular about the brands I use. I learned to paint using all sorts. I used to go on eBay and find these lots of random used oil colors from various makers and just roll with it. These days I try to keep some consistency only because drying times can really screw me. If something unexpected happens with a brand or medium I’m unfamiliar with it can throw off my whole rhythm and schedule. Gamblin colors have been pretty reliable in this regard.

I’m a little more particular about brushes. I just had to retire one I’ve had for 20 years. It’s hard to replace something like that. Usually I’ll have a handful of brushes that I’m trying out alongside my tested ones. Loew Cornelle has some nice nylon flat brushes that suck for a while then something happens and they get good. No idea what that’s about, it’s kind of weird. My most treasured brushes are all pretty old and have acquired a sort of bristle pa tina that informs the way I paint. If a brush I use for painting clouds dies, on some level I’ll need to relearn how to paint clouds.

Silver brush mops for blending are decent, always on the lookout for a good mop. I’m pretty obsessed with liners, they are the hardest to be satisfied with because there’s no room for error or defect. Furthermore they need to be cheap because the tip will dull regardless of hair and they need to be replaced often.

I was introduced to Trekell during the La Familia show, the 5/0 and 0 golden taklon liners have been awesome and will be a staple from here on.

SH: Your pieces have an insane amount of detail, your eyes must be perfect or your optometrist hates you. Are the details in your paintings having an effect on your physical health?
BM: I usually have either a shoulder, elbow, or wrist issue – repetitive motion injuries, pinched nerves, etc. My eyes are alright, I think. Haven’t had them checked in a minute. I think my back is sacrificed a bit to compensate for my eyes – I tend to lean in and trade posture for clarity. I have a few tricks that involve my easels and studio setup that help.

In general it’s really not too bad, though. I’ve always been accident prone and the risk is limited in the painting studio. I love wood working, have been a picture framer for over 10 years and grew up in lumber yards and cabinet shops. I have had way too many close calls and minor to moderate injuries involving wide range of power tools, so not going to complain about a sore back or elbow (at least not publicly).

Brian Mashburn Witness The Stranger

SH: Has Bob Ross influenced your clouds?
BM: That’s funny. I was obsessed with Bob Ross growing up. I would attempt to paint clouds like him when I was about 11 or 12. It was probably a really formative experience. I remember how disappointing they would always be close up but at a distance they would look fine. This drove me crazy, felt disingenuous somehow. Since then I’ve had this compulsion to make the painting function better, get tighter, the closer you get to it. This is a core tenant of what I do. It’s an odd thing because many of my favorite artists are quite gestural. I guess it’s easy to admire a skill set that is, on a deep seeded level, beyond my grasp.

SH: What is the biggest misconception about being an artist? What is the most fulfilling part of being an artist?
BM: I’d say the biggest misconception is in the sheer workload involved. Being an artist is very hard work, and not always very romantic. At this stage in my career, I am a sole proprietor of a business. 100% of production, r/d, marketing, customer service, and so on is up to me. I know talking about art making in these terms is a bit gross and somewhat counter-intuitive, wherein lies the misconception.

That said, in a way this is also the most fulfilling part. I love not having those sort of authority figures you find in 9-5 environments. I have not always been great with authority figures. There is a lot of stress associated with what I do, but it’s my stress. It’s a burden of my own making and I nurture it. I like that.
I also love the interdisciplinary nature of art. I am very curious and have a lot of interests. Being a painter allows me to dive into various topics that I’d like to know more about and see what if any fit has within the framework of my paintings.

SH: Who’s work are you geeking out over at the moment?
BM: Jacques Louie David and George W Bush. Seriously. Shit’s fascinating.
I also just read the Mary Iverson interview in Juxtapoz. I really admire what she’s doing, although the people problem has me a bit freaked (not a bad thing).

Brian Mashburn Witness Two Elephants

SH: What do you listen to while painting?
BM: Mostly spoken word, audiobooks and podcasts. I get a little obsessed with this sort of stuff. While working on this show I listened to several Malcolm Gladwel l books, some Noam Chomsky essays, some Zisek rants on ideology, biographies on Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, and Mao, and always tune into WTF with Marc Maron.

SH: What is your Mad Max (end of the world) strategy?
BM: Haven’t seen the new Mad Max yet and all I remember from when I was a child is Tina. So my answer is more Walking Dead strategy…

When zombies are concerned, I always thought drop ceilings were underused. I had a possum die in the ceiling of my last studio. It was rank, but almost impossible to pinpoint exactly where it was. If zombies (walking dead zombies at least) go on smell this would be a good way to buy some time or maybe just post up for a while. They’re not going to jump up there with you and you’d have the perfect angle to go at their heads, if you’re into that sort of thing.

If it all went down I’d probably climb up in a drop ceiling, maybe in a Walgreens.

Please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for more information and we hope to see you out Saturday, July 18th. 

New Works by Brian Mashburn for ‘Witness’

Brian Mashburn Postcard

Brian Mashburn – Witness
On View July 18th – August 8th

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room are new works by North Carolina based artist Brian Mashburn. In Witness, Mashburn creates suggestive landscapes that invoke industrial degradation and the consumptive trappings of wealth and leisure. In the midst of these compromised human worlds, looming just off in the hazy distance, resilient wildlife manages to prevail in the foregrounds. Mashburn’s meticulously rendered paintings allude to the consequences of unchecked industry and to the problematic nature of exploitative ideologies. His beautifully detailed oil paintings are gothic in sensibility, but timely in their social and political preoccupations. Though dark and ruminating with romantic disillusionment, the works, nonetheless, suggest the possibility of redemption in a world largely burdened by its own self-inflicted ruins.

Mashburn inserts realistically detailed animals into the foregrounds of these desolate forest landscapes. They provide a stark contrast and counterpoint to the shadowy and ambiguous scenes unfolding in the backgrounds. These animals, both wild and domestic, bare witness to the world around them, like allegorical figures in a cautionary tale. The narratives in Mashburn’s works remain open to conjecture, offering the viewer incomplete and contemplative moments. Whether viewed as dystopian nightmare or contemporary political commentary, the works are at once aesthetically striking and emotionally resonant.