Alex Garant’s Studio Tour for ‘Deconstructing Identities’ at MOAH

Alex Garant – Deconstructing Identities | September 12, 2020 – December 27, 2020

The inspiration behind ‘Deconstructing Identities’: The exhibition was created while self-isolating and navigating the ups and downs of the pandemic. This surreal setting gave birth to pieces inspired by self-reflection and specifically the role of self-inflicted appearances. People’s constructed nature fighting with their instinctive core and trying to visually translate a complete persona. This collection also introduces more contextual elements to my work. Featured are little pieces of nostalgia riding the line between kitsch and whimsy contrasting with the expression of the characters sometimes melancholic or naive.

View available works here: https://thinkspaceprojects.com/shows/alex-garant-deconstructing-identities-2020/show-pieces/

Video by Birdman

Photo Tour of ‘The New Vanguard III’ at Lancaster MOAH

We’re proud to present a photo tour of The New Vanguard III at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. The New Vanguard III features group exhibition “Small Victories” that focuses on suicide prevention and mental health, alongside solo shows from Kayla Mahaffey, Kevin Peterson, Kathy Ager, and Alex Garant.  

In recent years we have lost one of our greatest friends and allies, along with one of our rising stars, to this ever-growing epidemic. Depression and suicide are very widespread in the creative community and we want to help raise awareness and offer support for those suffering. If it helps guide just one person out of the darkness, it was more than worth it to mount this collection of works.

Explore a virtual tour of these exhibitions here.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. If someone you know needs your support, please don’t hesitate to drop them a call, invite them to a Zoom group, swing by if you can… just let them know they are loved and needed.

10% of sales will be donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

www.nationalsuicidepreventionlifeline.org

Kathy Ager’s Studio Tour for exhibition ‘Fool’s Gold’ at MOAH

Kathy Ager – Fool’s Gold | September 12, 2020 – December 27, 2020

The inspiration behind ‘Fool’s Gold’: For this body of work, I continued to delve into my own personal experiences and observations and seek ways to express them through objects and light. A lot of my inspiration comes from my more painful experiences and outlook on life, but I try to make something beautiful out of that darkness. I was particularly inspired by the alienation I felt last year when caught up with someone who valued the pursuit of the party life over building something solid and real. That’s where the title “Fool’s Gold” came from. It’s painful to feel like you’re not enough, but to those who are after more fucked up pursuits and easy highs – the fool’s gold – you will never be valued the way you deserve. I find so much inspiration in that heartbreak.

View available works here: https://thinkspaceprojects.com/shows/kathyager-foolsgold-2020/show-pieces/

Video by Birdman

The New Vanguard III: Interview with Kayla Mahaffey for ‘Adrift’

Thinkspace is proud to present new work by Kayla Mahaffey for her latest exhibition ‘Adrift’ as a part of ‘The New Vanguard III’ showing at The Lancaster Museum of Art.

Mahaffey’s work gives voice to the unheard stories of contemporary youth and, as explained by the artist, “serves as a guide to bring hope back into our daily lives by cherishing each moment not in the mindset of an adult, but with the fresh eyes and imagination of a child.”

In anticipation of ‘Adrift’, our interview with Kayla Mahaffey discusses the mysteries of the deep blue, the American dream, and the power of a clear and collected mind.

SH: How long have you been showing your work in galleries and various exhibitions? Do you remember the first time you showed your work to the public? What was the exhibition?

KM: I’ve been showing my work in galleries since 2016. My first time showing my work was in a group show. My style was totally different and the show’s theme was illustrating films in like a poster form. It was called, “XPO Illustrated Show” and it was a huge step to the beginning of a life as an artist.

SH: When painting, what are you listening to in the background?

KM: When painting, I usually have a documentary or podcast going on in the background. I love learning new things and I like to hear people’s views on various topics. Musically, I like listening to anything energetic and upbeat. Anything that keeps my mind running and keeps me thinking positively. Genres like pop, rock, jazz, and rap are usually my go-to’s and encourage me to move, get up, and paint.

SH: What was the inspiration behind the body of work that you will be showing for New Vanguard III?

KM: The visual inspiration behind, “Adrift”, came mainly from the ocean and sea-life and how vast it is and how it’s depths are mysterious and unknown. For the subject matter, I took inspiration from societal hindrances and how the American dream being achieved through struggle and generational efforts can bring about a story of inspiration and growth or sometimes bring pain and suffering.

SH: When viewing other artists’ work, what elements get you excited or inspire you?

KM: I really get inspired by other artists’ techniques. I love looking at their pieces and studying how they made that painting come to life. I like seeing the brush strokes, color schemes, and process. It makes me get a better understanding of their artistry and helps me learn in the process.

SH: Does having an exhibition at a museum feel different than showing work at a gallery?

KM: It definitely feels more monumental. Not only by the scale of things but by the title and involvement. The atmosphere brings about a notion of advancement not only in my career but in my capabilities. It hits you differently because when we were younger we all went to museums to gaze upon greatness and look at paintings that we thought were unimaginable and grand in some sense. Never would we think that one day we would even be showing at a museum of any kind. It’s a wonderful and beautiful feeling.

SH: Every person experiences that moment, when they are in the middle or even at the start of something, where it feels overwhelming or isn’t going as planned – how do you personally push through those difficult moments?

KM: When things aren’t going as planned, I step back from the problem, take a deep breath, and once relaxed, I tackle the problem head-on with a cool, collected and clear mind. Difficulties come and go in life, but they never cease to exist. It’s best that we find the most effective way to deal with these issues so we can get pass them…each time bouncing back stronger and with more ease than the last time.

SH: If you could show your work beside any artist, in the entire history of art, who would you want to share wall space with?

KM: I would love to show my work besides Jean-Michael Basquiat. Basquiat is a favorite of mine and I feel like our work evokes energy, color, and culture. While our styles are completely different, they include a chaos of color that contains structure, which grounds our pieces. The essence is somewhat similar and shows tons of narrative. If we were showing together in an exhibition, it would be a feast for the eyes, a shock to the senses, and everyone would leave feeling entertained.

SH: What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why?

KM: The most challenging piece had to be, “Don’t Rock the Boat,”. I had a hard time trying to change my color palette a bit and trying to make a much more complex composition. Not only was the composition difficult to organize and keep balanced, but the story challenged me. I had to delve into the journey that many of us make through life and how it can be difficult staying on track and staying balanced, while trying to keep the peace. I tried my hardest to make that statement come through the painting and I think in the end it was a success and worth every headache.

SH: Do you have any pre-studio rituals that get the creative juices flowing?

KM: Before painting, my ritual isn’t anything special. I wake up get some food for nourishment and some water to stay hydrated. I might read a book or a graphic novel for entertainment or might exercise for a bit. The main thing is to keep a clear mindset, stay healthy so you’re recharged, and keep yourself entertained because with this comes inspiration and a good mentality before you Stuart. You don’t want to hit a wall mentally when you’re about to get into the groove of painting.

The New Vanguard III: Interview with Kevin Peterson for ‘Embers’

Thinkspace is proud to present new work by Kevin Peterson for his latest exhibition ‘Embers’ as a part of ‘The New Vanguard III’ showing at The Lancaster Museum of Art.

A gifted hyperrealist painter, Peterson creates a fictional world in which innocence and collapse are brought into difficult proximity. Each mundane surface meticulously rendered to create a dystopian backdrop for babes and their benevolent conspirators, appearing as beacons of hope in a desolate space.

In anticipation of ‘Embers‘, our interview with Kevin Peterson discusses the pressure of showing at a museum, painting his son, and how he sometimes has to trash a piece.

SH: How long have you been showing your work in galleries and various exhibitions? Do you remember the first time you showed your work to the public? What was the exhibition?

KP: I guess for as long as I remember. It was the only thing I was good at in school. I was the kid who could draw. I always entered contests and stuff like that. As far as professionally, what I consider my first “real” gallery show was 2008. 

SH: When painting, what are you listening to in the background?

KP: Music or audiobooks. I go through many audiobooks. Contemporary fiction mostly. 

SH: What was the inspiration behind the body of work that you will be showing for New Vanguard III?

KP: Growing up in this world and the challenges we face in an attempt to thrive. 

SH: When viewing other artists’ work, what elements get you excited or inspire you?

KP: I guess identifying a style that is unique to the artist. That thing that you will remember in the future and when you see another piece you will know exactly who made it. It’s the hardest thing to do at this point where so much has already been done.

SH: Does having an exhibition at a museum feel different than showing work at a gallery?

KP: Yes, always. I don’t set tons of goals for myself as an artist, but that is one. It feels sort of more accessible to have work in a museum too, and I really like that. The public is welcome, galleries can sometimes be intimidating. 

SH: Every person experiences that moment, when they are in the middle or even at the start of something, where it feels overwhelming or isn’t going as planned – how do you personally push through those difficult moments?

KP: I’m in that position every time I make a painting. During the early stages usually. I feel like it will never look the way I want it to. At this point, I know not to panic. I know I have to just keep working it. If I put the time in, it will work out. Of course, I’ve also trashed some paintings as well. Rarely, but sometimes that’s the best thing to do. Start something new and chalk it up to experience, that can be valuable. 

SH: If you could show your work beside any artist, in the entire history of art, who would you want to share wall space with?

KP: Jerome Witkin

SH: What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why?

KP: I used my son for a model in one of these paintings. I’ve used him before, and its always so challenging. I feel this different level of need to get his features exactly perfect. If it’s a different model that I don’t really know well, it doesn’t matter so much, I just paint until I feel happy with the look.

SH: Do you have any pre-studio rituals that get the creative juices flowing?

KP: Procrastinating on the computer for a few hours? Coffee for sure.

SH: We declare The New Vanguard III is a milestone in your artistic journey, what are three other milestones that mark your path and life as an artist?

KP:
1. I got sober 15 years ago and I do credit that with inspiring a lot of my work- just contemplating growing up and being more introspective. 

2. Quitting my day job and doing art full time. 

3. The very first time my work hung in a museum. It was the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in 2016. That was really important to me.

 


THE NEW VANGUARD III
Curated by Thinkspace Projects

September 12 through December 27, 2020

Lancaster Museum of Art and History
665 W. Lancaster Blvd.
Lancaster, California 93534
www.LancasterMOAH.org

Featuring Solo Exhibitions From:
KEVIN PETERSON “Embers”
KAYLA MAHAFFEY “Adrift”
ALEX GARANT “Deconstructing Identities”
KATHY AGER “Fool’s Gold”