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.

Interview with artist Ariel DeAndrea for ‘Chasing the Current’

Ariel DeAndrea in studio

An interview with artist Ariel DeAndrea for her upcoming show ‘Chasing the Current’ at Thinkspace Gallery. The opening reception for the show is Saturday, May 23, and run through June 13.

SH: What is your creative process?
AD: I love to travel and I never go anywhere without my camera, rolls of hand picked paper, scissors and fishing line. Anytime I see a body of water that inspires me, be it a puddle, a fountain, the ocean or a river, I stop, pull out the paper that fits the mood, start cutting and folding cranes and then I throw them in the water with some fishing line, so I can manipulate their angle and let the current of the water and the reflection of the environment off the water do the rest. After I take hundreds of photos, the editing process begins. I pick my favorite photos, build my canvases and begin the oil paintings, using the reference material.

SH: How long can it take you to finish a single piece?
AD: It really depends on the size, but I would say that my smallest paintings get at least 100 hours of effort at 10 inches by 10 inches, not including the time it takes to build the canvases.For those not already familiar, please explain the significance of the paper crane to you and how you first came to work with them.

SH: For those not already familiar, please explain the significance of the paper crane to you and how you first came to work with them.
AD: I recently found a drawing that I did in 4th grade (age 9) of little origami cranes flying around an old Japanese saying, “O flock of heavenly cranes, cover my child with your wings”. It gave me shivers down my spine when I found it. It crystallized for me how long my obsession with cranes has really been going on and I felt like everything in my life has been working towards this moment, as I have honed my own personal understanding of the crane to pay homage to it through my art.

Ariel DeAndrea Childhood Drawing

It resonated with me as a child, that if you folded 1,000 cranes, you could make a wish. Raised atheist, prayer did not come naturally to me, in fact, it was balked at in my household. I believe folding cranes became a sort of covert form of prayer for me. I turned to folding during trying times to soothe myself , for the wishes of good health and safety for my loved ones, when I knew not what else to do. It was, is and always will be the most purest, calming and comforting single object in the world to me, that can be made 1,000 times over and yet always have an individuality and unique beauty. This has been true, as I have folded over 4,000 cranes so far in my lifetime and still counting…

This form prayer became a real solace to me, when I was 13 and my mother, our best friend and I went to Indonesia. Our friend was hit by a car and in critical condition for 18 hours before we finally could evacuate her to Singapore. It was a harrowing experience fighting for her life all those hours and it left me scared, changed and feeling helpless once the immediate danger was over. I turned to folding cranes at her bedside in the hospital and found great comfort in it, as though I was actively helping when I could no longer help and it was now in the capable hands of the doctors. Next came my father’s life threatening brain injury, and then my mother’s battle with cancer. Each time, folding cranes was a way to cope and to find hope in dark days. This is how the fascination at age 9 turned to spiritual obsession in my adulthood.

SH: How do you select the color and patterns the cranes will have?
AD: I have collected papers from my trips to Japan and hunted for paper stores in the US and Europe that carry unique paper. Mostly I look for large sheets of hand printed Japanese washi papers. I want colorful paper with strong unique and careful design. I then carry many different sheets of paper with me at all times and pick the paper that fits the mood or color scheme of the place that has captured my attention.

SH: While painting do you feel like each crane takes on a different story?
AD: I absolutely feel the personality of each crane. My art practice with cranes originally was folding. I felt that each crane deserved to be carefully selected in size and color, folded, and loved. The point of folding 1,000 cranes is not to get to the end, but the meditative practice, the process, the conscious thought of your purpose for folding, repeated again and again, 1,000 times. This is what inspired me to paint them individually, to revere the singular. When they hit the water they take on so much life. Some dance about, others seem to glide with more serious purpose, some carefree, some reflective and contemplative and some almost sinister, like they are out on a hunt.

SH: What inspired your upcoming show, Chasing The Current?
AD: I am always chasing that next current to bring a crane to life in a new inspiring way and to bring attention to the movement and reflection in life all around us. Water possesses a unique spirit, ever moving and reflecting the world around it, it is powerful and never the same after even just a milliseconds passing. Once I started looking for it, I saw it everywhere. I try to capture it as best I can, but the photos are one stagnant moment that cannot hold the experience and journey of actually being with the crane, the sun, the water. It is in the process of painting that I feel I am able to better infuse and reinterpret that feeling of movement, complexity and beauty that the real world presents to me. I simply want to share the quiet turbulence of this one birds fight not to get pulled down and drown. They are resilient in the water as though they want to splash in the sun, like a child would. Each body of water has its own current, pull in different directions, some violent, some still, all like magic to me.

SH: Your bio states that Japanese Shinto inspires your work, explain what Shinto is and how does it play a part in your day to day life?
AD: Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan. It focuses on the spiritual essence of all natural things, that a river or ocean might contain its own godlike divine spirit, making it animistic in more anthropological terms. I believe the cranes help bring out the spirit of the water they are in. They transform from a paper toy to vessel for the soul of the current, the spirit, the moment of the river or lake and so on. I have always felt that almost painful feeling of beauty and mystery that nature and especially water can hold, an energy that is unique to each place, that feeling that “god” is every rock, every stone, every river. I can almost hear the whisper of their soul if I can still myself enough. The cranes help me to find that stillness and hear that soul.

crane #22

SH: What are your favorite paints and colors to use? What’s your favorite brushes?
AD: I absolutely love Old Holland paint, hands down. They never have too much medium in them, so you can thin them yourself. Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red Light, and Scheveningen Purple Brown are my greatest “out of the tube” obsessions. Cadmium mixed with Naples Yellow and Cremnitz white, can create one of the most beautiful, electric glowing colors of all time. I love mixing paint to see how they play together. It is forever fascinating and exciting to me.

Brushes, I use synthetic brushes of assorted sizes in filberts and rounds (mostly Robert Simmons Expressions or something similar) and squirrel hair wash brushes. All my brushes are quite small, so I am often buying relatively cheap rounds that have as fine a point as possible, so I can toss them once the point goes. Expensive brushes in size 000 don’t seem to keep their point any longer than the cheaper ones. I do spend my money on expensive wash brushes, so they don’t shed and good quality paint because the integrity of the color and body is worth it.

SH: When did you feel you had found your creative voice and style?
AD: Art for me has a strong relationship to discovery and experiment. I think the artist is always learning and yet I have found some truth to hold onto in my own art practice.

Most poignantly, when I found that fourth grade drawing…I was questioning the meaning of it all…you know, the artist dilemma in its largest most vast scape and was feeling overwhelmed. Then I found that drawing and snapped out of the macro of art and artists and all its history and into the micro, me as an artist as one piece in a larger puzzle. The best I can do is be true to myself. I thought, “the child in me would be delighted by the paintings and installation work I do with cranes today”, and that made me feel like I had arrived at something I have been searching for since childhood, something of sincere integrity. That’s when I knew, but the process of discovery has been ongoing. I revere and contemplate the master artist’s of old and still everyday strive to better honor their legacy and to affect in at least some small way the heart strings of the viewer.

Ariel DeAndrea photographing cranes

SH: As nature plays a part in your work, where is your favorite place to observe or be in nature?
AD: I have a special place in San Francisco, off the trail in Point Lobos. It is atop a cliff overlooking the ocean and the golden gate bridge. It is quiet and private and a little scary to climb over there, but I have been going there since my early teens and I think about that place often. I still go there when I am in town.

SH: Can you share with us something that scares you and something that makes you really happy?
AD: Crocodiles scare me. They are often in my nightmares. I feel like they are one of my spirit animals, alerting me of danger and playing off my fears. They are archaic, resilient and strong predators, built to adapt, survive and kill. Cranes make me happy, real ones and the paper ones. I have big white paper cranes hanging in my bedroom. Every morning I look at them dancing in the breeze from the window and feel a moment of weightlessness and delight. They are gentle, playful and vulnerable, the opposite of the crocodiles.

SH: What is something you know now, that you wish you would have known when first embarking on your artistic career?
AD: I remember hearing the famous illustrator Marshall Arisman give a talk after I had finished art school and he said something to the effect of, “paint what you know and love and you will never bore of the subject matter.” I think that as a young artist sometimes I tried to force ideas that were good ideas for someone else, but not so sincere to myself. I feel grateful to have arrived at content that resonates with me. This protects me from being too swayed by trends within the art world, allowing me to be comfortable with my work.

SH: If money were not an issue, what might your dream project entail?
AD: I know exactly what it would entail and once I get a lot of money, you shall see…

SH: Star Wars or Star Trek?
AD: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Bec Winnel Interview for Beautanica

Bec Winnel Beautanica ‘Beautanica‘ opening reception Saturday April 25th from 6 -9pm. 

Warm-Up Questions:
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee

Spirit Animal?
Moth

What was your background noise when creating this show?
The radio (Triple J) for most of it and then a new born baby girl!

Main Interview:

BEc Winnel Progress Shot I

SH:  Are the women in your work based on people you know or an imagined reference?
BW: They aren’t based on anyone I know in particular. Although I use shots of models backstage for reference, the women in my art are meant to capture and represent the soulfulness of women in general.

SH: What inspired the direction of this latest body of work?
BW: I was pregnant when I started and had a baby by the time I finished. I’m sure she, Bridget, inspired my work strongly along with the subject matter I always use, feminine beauty, mixed with elements of nature. A lot of the reference for the nature elements in my work come from plants around my house.

SH: If you had only 5 minutes to go shopping at your favorite art supply store and buy whatever you wanted, money is no object, what would you throw in your basket? (or cart)
BW: Ooo, can I have the whole shop? I would probably head to the watercolour section and pick out the most beautiful and expensive full set of watercolours, packaged in a beautiful wooden box.

SH: How did you develop and find your artistic voice?
BW: While I always stayed with females as my subject, I experimented with a lot of different styles and mediums. Eventually I stuck with realism using pencils as I felt this area was where my strengths were. Around the same time I discovered the work of Sara Moon who influenced my style also. Sara Moon created vintage style images of women in a smokey and dreamy world. From there my style has developed to include areas of 2D abstract imagery and patterns of mixed media such as watercolour and metallic inks. Also incorporating pan pastels into the realism of the ladies. Always experimenting and trying new things helps you to find your voice.

New Piece for Beautanica by Bec Winnel

SH: What do you do when you’re filled with self-doubt or stuck in a creative rut?
BW: Sometimes I’ll walk away from my art (go outside, have a hot shower, go for a drive, go visit a friend) until I feel inspired to create again or if there is a deadline and I have no choice but to produce work, I’ll start several artworks until finally one feels like it is working. Most important and almost impossible sometimes, is not to over think what I’m doing but to let it just happen, almost on a subconscious level.

SH: When do you get the most work done; morning, noon, or night?
BW: Either early morning or late at night. I’m useless during the middle of the day.

SH: How do you know a piece is finished?
BW: I once read that a piece is finished when your eye can move freely around a piece and all areas of the artwork feel resolved. I pretty much try to follow that idea. I usually check with partner or family too and ask them if they think it looks ‘finished’. A fresh eye never goes astray.

Bec Winnel Progress Shot II

SH: What other artists work are you a fan of right now?
BW: There are so many artist work that I love, I think I’m following around 300 of them on Instagram! An artist my friend just introduced me to is Lorraine Loots. She creates mind blowing little realistic artworks the size of your thumbnail!

SH: What do you know now, that you wish you’d known when you were first embarking on your artistic career?
BW: When I was starting out, it did take a long time to find my artistic ‘voice’ and at times it was really hard and frustrating. I still feel like I’m finding it with every piece I create, however, one artist said to me a couple of years ago, finding your voice simply takes time. Knowing that, I could have accepted the journey is an ever-growing one and to be more patient!

SH: If you could live in any movie for a day, what would it be? Would you be a specific character or yourself?
BW: It would have to be a Drew Barrymore movie. Either ever after or 50 first dates. I would just be myself and watch Drew. She seems so nice and funny.

New Works by Bec Winnel in ‘Beautanica’ Opens April 25, 2015

Bec Winnel Beautanica

Bec Winnel: Beautanica
Opening Reception: April 25, 6-9pm
On view: April 25, 2015 – May 16, 2015Thinkspace project room is

Beautanica, on view in the Thinkspace project room, will be featuring new works by Australian artist and illustrator Bec Winnel. A self-taught talent, Winnel is known for the ethereal quality of her feminine portraits. She creates hauntingly lush drawings with layer upon layer of graphite, colored pencil and pastel, an impressive technique that makes viewing her work undeniably magnetic. The drawings convey an incredible amount of luminosity and depth, while also feeling quite impermanent and on the verge of disappearance. With cobweb like delicacy, their elegance is palpable. This material illusion of airiness and fragility transports the imagery beyond mere portraiture into a realm of otherworldly fantasy and calm.

In Beautanica, Winnel continues her exploration of feminine beauty, in all its strange and compelling guises. In a dreamlike trance, her figures seduce and scintillate, but we are left with the distinct feeling that their beauty exceeds the physical and is somehow filled with pathos and understanding. Like sympathetic harbingers emerging from the ravages of a storm, they offer their beauty as a comforting mirage and a promise of something better. Entirely transporting, her spellbinding work verges on the truly magical.

Group Exhibition GUMBO Opens Saturday April 25, 2015

gumbo postcard

 

Gumbo – Alex Yanes, James Bullough, Matthew Grabelsky, Ryan Hewett, Sergio Garcia, Troy Coulterman, Troy Lovegates

Opening Reception: Saturday April 25th 6-9pm
On view April 25, 2015 – May 16, 2015

Thinkspace is pleased to present Gumbo, a group exhibition featuring works by Alex Yanes, James Bullough, Matthew Grabelsky, Ryan Hewett, Sergio Garcia, Troy Coulterman and Troy Lovegates. A truly divergent group of Thinkspace artists, the show reflects the steadily expanding diversity of the gallery’s roster. Firmly forward-looking, while ambitiously setting the pace for the New Contemporary movement, these artists have phenomenal contributions to make and are consistently raising the standard. Gumbo is an exciting grouping of the gallery’s contrasting visions, personalities and media.

Alex Yanes creates whimsical multi-dimensional works, inspired by everything from subculture to his recent initiation into fatherhood. Based out of Miami, a vibrant urban culture that sings through his aesthetic, Yanes creates installation based pieces out of wood, acrylic, resin and enamel. With hyper-saturated colors and contrasts, immaculately finished surfaces and electric energy, Yanes’ spatial installations and objects command a physical and experiential presence. They combine a graphic sensibility, drawn from his formative years immersed in tattoo, rock, hip-hop and skateboard cultures, and an imaginative expansiveness that transforms the familiar into something entirely new. Elevated by an undeniable vibrance and individuality, his stylized works feel like living things.

James Bullough is an American born artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. His paintings, and huge monumentally scaled site-specific murals, are phenomenal combinations of realist painting technique and graphic punctuation. Inspired by gritty urban graffiti as a young artist growing up in Washington, DC, Bullough harnessed its energy in his work, and perfected a realistic oil painting technique from his study of the Old Masters. Combining the momentum of the one and the technical precision of the other, his work is about staging compelling contrasts and juxtapositions. Working in everything from oil, spray paint and ink on canvas, Bullough’s paintings strike a balance between realistic figurations and stylized interruption. Disjointing the realistic elements with graphic areas and fractured or striated planes, Bullough intends to challenge the viewer’s perception.

Matthew Grabelsky’s implausible, and wonderfully fantastic, paintings depict surreal manifestations of the subconscious in unlikely urban contexts. Influenced by 19th century French Academic painting, his technical sophistication and refinement contribute to the delightful contrast of these unlikely scenes and humorous mixed-reality paintings. In his recent body of work the New York City subways are invaded by quasi-mythical creatures, part human and part beast, or surreal appearances by other wonderful grotesques. In these otherwise unassuming daily scenes of public transit, Grabelsky inserts a cast of characters borrowed from fairytale and the zoo, delighting in the absurd and the impossible. Intending his work to inspire sub-conscious free association in his viewers, Grabelsky plays with context and expectation.

Ryan Hewett approaches portraiture with an expressive and painterly aesthetic. Pursuing the capture of energy rather than the practice of verisimilitude, the South African artist has a distinctive painting style that seizes the energy and observed experience of his sitters. With loosely layered surfaces that emanate depth, light and dimension, Hewett creates emotive and passionate representations that embrace the materiality and texture of his medium. Working with oil paints, his figurative impressions align themselves with the tumultuous tradition of expressionism. With rich hues and suggestive glimpses, his works are intense painterly interpretations of the body.

Sergio Garcia is inspired by the unconventional and the creative subconscious. The Texas based painter and sculptor, constructs works that are surreal combinations that place familiar situations and objects in extraordinary circumstances. A Hyperrealist in the truest sense, his sculptural works are uncannily true to life and play with the viewer’s spatial and contextual expectations. Wonderfully bizarre, they transform the mundane into fantastic phenomena, and encourage mind-boggling encounters in unexpected spaces. Similarly, his paintings offer whimsically unexpected combinations and creatively evocative scenes, inspiring free association and speculative wonder.

Troy Coulterman, Canadian artist, creates resin sculptures that seem like graphic novel or comic book characters come to life. Rich with suggestion, Coulterman artfully conveys ideas, metaphors and themes with graphic concision, capturing extensive narrative moments in a single sculptural body or gesture. Inspired by graphics and comic books, his cast of wonderfully bizarre characters emote and convey with exciting presence. As three-dimensional objects that read partly as animation come to life, and partly as dimensional drawing, they command our attention with an unrelenting pull. Distinctly human in their emotive power, but clearly other in their wonderful absurdity, his figures are captivating.

Troy Lovegates, widely known as “Other”, creates ambitious large-scale mural works with precision and detail. A street artist from Canada, his works are heavily patterned, saturated with hyper color, and incomparably dense and rich. With an impressive attention to detail and line, Lovegates builds figures and motifs through heavily condensed mark making. The figures in his work are wonderfully exaggerated and poetic, sympathetically drawn from equal parts caricature and realistic observation. His smaller format works are executed in several materials, ranging from weathered wood, books, paper and linoleum cuts. Self-described as an artist who enjoys the chaos of simultaneity and messy working conditions, Lovegates is constantly revising and adapting previous efforts, reintegrating them into current bodies of work that reflect the history of their making.

Dabs Myla MTV Movie Awards Domination!

MTV Movie Awards Dabs Myla

Dabs Myla have been dominating the art scene in the states since they first landed here back in 2009. Having worked with them since those early days, it’s been exciting to watch this duo grow. Now they’ve gone from Melbourn to MTV! The two of them have been hard at work creating a sick set for the MTV Movie Awards, and the Instagram teasers alone have us setting our DVR.  Find out what inspired the new MTV Movie Awards logo design on MTV.com, and tune in April 12 8/9c to see what a Dabs Myla movie award show makeover looks like.

Follow Dabs Myla on Instagram

dabs myla mtv movie award set

mtv movie awards set dabs

Get More:
2015 MTV Movie Awards, Latest Movie News

New work by Seth Armstrong in “The Air is Thick”

Seth Armstrong The Air is Thick Postcard

New work by Seth Armstrong in “The Air is Thick” on view March 28, 2015 to April 18, 2015.
Opening Reception with artists on hand:
Saturday, March 28th 6-9PM

 

Thinkspace is pleased to present The Air is Thick featuring new works by Los Angeles based artist Seth Armstrong. Armstrong’s paintings self-consciously capture a sense of looking, arresting moments with cinematic detail and voyeuristic curiosity. Varying in scale, the paintings offer views that are alternately intimate and vast, moving expertly between the monumental and the minute. Laden with detail and suggestion, each piece offers a moment in the trajectory of a larger narrative, and the viewer is compelled to realign the fractures of these inconclusive moments. Hanging the works on suggestion rather than on the overt, Armstrong builds tension and excitement in every painting with the possibility and expectation of action. Surfeited with this palpable sense of permanent anticipation and arrest, the air is indeed thick enough to cut.

Originally from Los Angeles, Armstrong studied painting in Northern Holland and completed a BFA at San Francisco’s California College of the Arts. His deft handling of oil paint clearly demonstrates a facility inspired by traditional painting techniques, and a material aptitude for the dense capture of light and color. The intense realism of his style is often tempered by a looser, more painterly approach, and by a stylized handling of light and dimension. With viscous luminosity and substantive flesh, qualities achieved with a seamlessly clean application, his works feel heavy with tactility and dense with tangible space and body. Armstrong’s use of stark saturated contrasts is offset by a tendency towards stylized hyper-color, creating both depth and edge that exceeds the muted tones of the real. These contrasts achieve a sense of brooding visual tension that manages to evoke both nostalgia and strangeness simultaneously.

In The Air is Thick, Armstrong continues to explore themes that have consistently fascinated his output: the intrigue of illicit looking, and the fine line between intimacy and trespass. Just as cinema manages to satisfy our innate love of voyeuristic access, so too do the paintings offer us views onto private lives that both frustrate and satisfy. The suggestion of constant narrative pervades even the stillest and least active views, as Armstrong reminds us of the secret recesses behind all closed doors and all quiet faces.

Seth Armstrong The Air Is Thick

Seth Armstrong – “The Air is Thick”