Virtual Tour of THE NEW VANGUARD III at The Lancaster Museum of Art and History

The Lancaster Museum of Art and History, in collaboration with Thinkspace Projects, is pleased to present The New Vanguard III, a dynamic group exhibition of works by international artists working in the New Contemporary art movement.

Visit https://players.cupix.com/p/MEHjje2B for a self-guided tour experience through group exhibition Small Victories and solo exhibitions from Kevin Peterson, Kayla Mahaffey, Alex Garant, and Kathy Ager.

Virtual tour created 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”

Pow! Wow! Antelope Valley Mural Map

POW! WOW! Antelope Valley returns for our third year this week in Lancaster, California. International and area muralists will adorn the walls of the city, adding to the 31 murals and installations created during the 2016 and 2018 editions of the festival. Founded in Hawaii, back in 2010, POW! WOW! is a series of global events that celebrate culture, music and art.

We are excited to share with the Antelope Valley community the art of eleven amazing creatives this coming September. Taking part will be Allison Bamcat, Carlos Ramirez, Carlos Mendoza Casey Weldon, Chloe Becky, Gustavo Rimada, Huntz Liu, Kim Sielbeck, Manuel Zamudio, MJ Lindo, Spenser Little, and Victoria Cassinova.

As the new murals come to life, be sure to explore our existing murals and installations from Aaron De La Cruz, Amandalynn, Amir Fallah, Amy Sol, Andrew Hem, Andrew Schoultz, Bumblebeelovesyou, Carly Ealey,  Christopher Konecki, Dan Witz, David Flores, Ekundayo, Emily Ding, Hueman, Isaac Cordal, Jeff Soto, Julius Eastman, Kris Holladay, Lauren YS, Mark Dean Veca, Meggs, Michael Jones, Mikey Kelly, MOUF, Nuri Amanatullah, Scott Listfield, Spenser Little, Super A, Tina Dille, and Tran Nguyen.

For the safety of the artists and the general public and in compliance with the Los Angeles County Health Department’s COVID-19 protocols, we will not be holding any public events during POW!WOW! AV. While the expansion of the Antelope Valley’s outdoor museum is exciting and visiting the murals offer some escape for all that have been trapped indoors these past several months, we ask that you wear a mask while touring the new murals as they come to life. Please respect the artists’ working space and safety by keeping well away from their work zone and do not distract them with conversation. We thank you in advance for your understanding and support.

The Lancaster Museum of Art and History is dedicated to strengthening awareness, enhancing accessibility, and igniting the appreciation of art, history, and culture in the Antelope Valley through dynamic exhibitions, innovative educational programs, creative community engagement, and a vibrant collection that celebrates the richness of the region.

Thinkspace Projects was founded in 2005; now in LA’s Culver City Arts District, the gallery has garnered an international reputation as one of the most active and productive exponents of the New Contemporary Art Movement. Maintaining its founding commitment to the promotion and support of its artists, Thinkspace has steadily expanded its roster and diversified its projects, creating collaborative and institutional opportunities all over the world.

Made possible due to the support and sponsorship of the Lancaster Museum of Art and History and Thinkspace Projects from Los Angeles, California. 

Special thanks to the City of Lancaster, Destination Lancaster, The BLVD Association, Signs & Designs, and all who helped bring POW! WOW! AV to life.

For further details please check www.lancastermoah.org and www.powwowworldwide.com

POW! WOW! Antelope Valley 2020
September 5 – September 12
Lancaster, California / The Antelope Valley
Presented by MOAH Lancaster and Thinkspace Projects

Allison Bamcat
@allisonbamcat

Carlos Ramirez
@c.ramirez2323

Carlos Mendoza
@chuckvalleys

Casey Weldon
@caseyweldon

Chloe Becky
@elsiethecowww

Gustavo Ramada
@arte_de_gustavo__

Huntz Liu
@huntzhuntz

Kim Sielbeck
@Kimseilbeck

Manuel Zamudio
@raid_33

MJ Lindo
@mjlindo

Spenser Little
@spenserlittleart

Victoria Cassinova
@vcassinova

The New Vanguard III: Interview with Kathy Ager for ‘Fool’s Gold’

Thinkspace is proud to present new work by Kathy Ager for her latest exhibition ‘Fool’s Gold’ as a part of ‘The New Vanguard III’ showing at The Lancaster Museum of Art.

Ager is known for her surreal still-lifes inspired by the 17th-Century Golden Age of Dutch and Spanish painting. Her compositions are comprised of historical visual rhetoric to deliver intensely personal and emotively charged themes. 

In anticipation of her first museum exhibition, our interview with Kathy Ager discusses her love of light and color, finding inspiration in heartbreak, and how switching between big and small pieces helps artistic pursuits move forward.

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?

KA: I’ve been showing since 2017. I remember my first exhibition was a sort of DIY situation in Lisbon, Portugal. I’d spent quite a bit of time there and met some amazing artists and friends. My friend Isac decided he wanted to make something happen instead of waiting for a gallery to approach us. It was a great show! I showed alongside some amazing Portuguese artists like Wasted Rita, Kruella D’Enfer and Maria Imaginário.

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

KA: Depending on my mood, I’m either listening to podcasts or music. I find if I’m in a lonely mood, which is pretty often when sitting in a studio alone all day everyday, listening to podcasts really helps. I really love dark, funny shit like Last Podcast On The Left. If you haven’t listened, start with Episode 331: The Donner Party or Episode 161: Hollow Moon. I’m also super interested in other people’s lives (I’m so nosey) and love hearing personal stories. The podcast Heavyweight gives me a good dose of that, plus some good laughs and some satisfying digging up of the past. Episode #2 Gregor is a good place to start, where they attempt to ask Moby to give Gregor’s damn CDs back.

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

KA: 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.

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

KA: I definitely get excited by the use of light and color in other artists’ work. I’m always analyzing how the subject matter was lit and what the set up must have been. When I was living in Amsterdam and Barcelona, I got to see first hand how the difference in natural light (cold versus warm) coming through a window can make a difference in the vibe of the original baroque masters. I also love combinations of realism and graphic elements. It creates a playfulness that can be both dark and light and I love that kind of vibe.

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

KA: It definitely feels different. There are so many different lanes in which to show work. From the DIY experience of my first show in Lisbon, to showing with Thinkspace, and now in a museum, they all feel different in a good way. It adds another dimension to the experience of showing and viewing my work.

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? 

KA: I feel like I experience that on a weekly or even daily basis! I feel overwhelmed quite often, or feel like I’ve lost my painting ability (a fear that seems to hit me when I start every painting). I get through it by just moving forward and painting. I might move on to a different part of my painting if I’m having trouble with a certain spot. Or if I’m working on a very large canvas and feel like I’ll never finish, I might switch to a small painting for a few days just to remind myself that I’m capable of finishing something. I also find it super helpful to chat with artist friends who can pump me up and reassure me that I’m doing fine! It’s all a mental game, so learning what works for you to keep moving forward is key. 

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?

KA: It would be insane to show alongside one of the Dutch masters like Adriaen Coorte, Frans Snyders, or Ambrosius Bosschaert, who inspire a lot of my work. Although their skills are lightyears ahead of mine and I’d be mortified! Haha. I’d also love to do a show together again with Wasted Rita where we can express our inner pain and angst in such different ways. That would be fucking amazing.

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

KA: I think “Look Both Ways Before You Crossed My Mind” was the most challenging. I’d been sitting on this idea for quite some time and it took a while to solve it visually. I’m always looking at how to express a specific feeling clearly enough without getting too literal. Then I came across this coyote who had been hit by a car and it was the perfect symbol for what I was trying to visualize. From there, things were easier to solve. It was also a very large canvas so it was tricky to work within my relatively small working space!

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

KA: Definitely tea and some good music every time! My mom is from England so I’m a die-hard tea drinker. Nothing starts before a good cup of tea. I also love to dance so I’ll usually start with a couple solid tracks that get me going. Something like “Last Kiss” by Overdoz or “Summertime Magic” by Childish Gambino. The combination of tea and dancing also explains the number of tea spills occurring throughout the days.

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?

1. My first ever exhibition in 2017 with my friends in Lisbon

2. My first ever solo show, Golden Ager, with Thinkspace in 2019

3. A collab with a (THE) sneaker brand which will remain top secret until later in 2021!!


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”