THE NEW VANGUARD III at Lancaster Museum of Art and History

“Don’t Rock The Boat” / acrylic on aluminum panel / 48×48 inches / 2020

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’

(Lancaster, CA) – The Lancaster Museum of Art and History, in collaboration with Los Angeles’ 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. The highly anticipated follow up to 2018’s successful second iteration of The New Vanguard, on view in tandem with this year’s POW WOW! Antelope Valley will feature special solo projects by artists Kevin Peterson, Kayla Mahaffey, Kathy Ager and Alex Garant.

The New Vanguard III, in keeping with the first two installments, will present a diverse and expansive group of curated new works. In addition to the solo exhibitions on view from Mahaffey, Peterson, Ager and Garant, we will also be presenting our ’Small Victories’ group show focusing on suicide prevention and mental health. We’ve lost one of our greatest allies and friends and one of our rising stars to this ever-growing epidemic in recent years. Sadly this issue is very widespread in the creative community and we want to help raise awareness and funds. If it helps guide just one person out of the darkness, it was more than worth it to mount this collection of works.

This special showcase will include new pieces by ABCNT, Adam Caldwell, Ador, AKACORLEONE, Allison Sommers, Angel Once, Anthony Hurd, Anthony Solano, Atomik, Brad Woodfin, Brian Mashburn, Bryan Valenzuela, Carl Cashman, Charlie Edmiston, Chloe Becky, Clare Toms, David Rice, Derek Gores, Dovie Golden, Dragon76, Drew Young, Edith Lebeau, Eduardo F. Angel, Erik Mark Sandberg, Frank Gonzales, Ghost Beard, Goopmassta, Hilda Palafox, Hola Lou, Huntz Liu, Imon Boy, Jaime Molina, Jeff Ejan, Jimmer Willmott, Kaplan Bunce, Kate Wadsworth, Kelly Vivanco, Ken Flewellyn, Kim Sielbeck, KOZ DOS, Lauren Hana Chai, Lauren YS, Linsey Levendall, Mando Marie, Manuel Zamudio, Mari Inukai, Max Sansing, McKenzie Fisk, Meggs, Molly Gruninger, Mwanel Pierre-Louis, Nicola Caredda, Patch Whisky, Ricky Watts, Roos van der Vliet, Sergio Garcia, Shar Tuiasoa, Stephanie Buer, Tati Holt, Telmo Miel, TMRWLND, Waylon Horner, and Wiley Wallace

Edith Lebeau

A movement unified as much by its diversity as its similitude, ‘New Contemporary’ has come to denote an important heterogeneity of styles, media, contexts, and activations over the course of its establishment since the 90s. Unified in its fledgling beginnings by a founding countercultural impulse searching for its own nomenclature, the New Contemporary movement’s shifting and inclusive designations have offered alternative narratives over the years to those popularized by the dominant art establishment and its conceptual predilections.

Though stylistically disparate, the work belonging to this rapidly expansive movement reveals a desire to reference the popular, social, and subcultural domains of contemporary experience, grounding, rather than rarifying, imagery in the familiar. Looking to the urban landscape and the kaleidoscopic shift of individual identities within it, these artists use the figurative and narrative to anchor their work in the accessible and aesthetically relatable. A fundamentally democratic stance governs the ambitions of this new guard, ever in search of novel ways to expand rather than to contract.

Kayla Mahaffey Adrift

Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Kayla Mahaffey (also known as KaylaMay) is quickly becoming one of the city’s most sought-after artists with her unique blend of flat, cartoon elements with brilliant photo-realism.

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.”

Being born and raised on the South side of Chicago, IL., only ignited Kayla’s love for all things art. The artist elaborates, “seeing the struggle and the support from the community made my work evolve to a concept that is personal to me. I continue to further my technique, and creativity in my field in order to paint a beautiful picture of a new world for those around me. Living in our society can be tough and most of the time we have to make the best of it. A wild imagination can take you so far, but at the end of the day we need to realize and observe the world around us. And the world around us is where I find my inspiration to paint. Colorful paintings that contain hints of whimsy and realism that tell a story of inner thoughts and personal issues that sometimes go unheard.”

Alex Garant Deconstructing Identities

Toronto-based, Canadian, Québéquois artist Alex Garant is a painter known for her hyper-realistically rendered Op art portraits in which the faces and eyes of her subjects seem to skip their registers through image redoubling and superimposition, Garant is in search of the frenetic internal life of the sitter.

Not unlike the fugitive flicker of a screen or the spectral layering of multiple film exposures, her portraits reveal an unsettling multiplicity, shifting beneath the subject’s surface. Garant creates faces that challenge the optics of identity and the reductive way in which it is perceived, with a visual gimmick that quite literally dislodges and displaces its coherence to produce skittering psychological images of fracture and ricochet.

Garant has long been fascinated by the interaction of patterns and symmetry, and the resulting optics of their graphic repetition and layering. Her portraits begin with a series of superimposed drawings based on her sitters, actual individuals, and muses from her life, and pushes the familiar confines of portraiture to a newly strange and re-sensitized place of sensory confusion. Her subjects and their energy seem to erupt from within, testing the tensile seams of the skin, the body, as always, an insufficient vessel for the incongruous experience within.

The artist’s labor-intensive oil paintings are meticulously executed, often incorporating patterning or other graphic elements and motifs to produce reverberating visual effects. Her color palette ranges from the subtlety of realistic flesh tones to hyper-colored gradients, saturated pastels, and translucent gem-like washes of color. Her stylizations of these vertiginous portraits thrive in surreal kitsch to interrupt the apprehension of the subject, activating a process of invested viewing, that is of trying to “see” the person amidst the trappings of hallucinatory visual interference. The compelling and somewhat unsuccessful process of attempting to stabilize the image produces a fundamental feeling of perceptual instability, one that intensifies our stolen communion with an evasive subject.

Kathy Ager Fool’s Gold

Kathy Ager creates detailed, still lifes that feel simultaneously Baroque and acerbically modern. Inspired by the 17th-Century Golden Age of Dutch and Spanish painting, her imagery uses historical visual rhetoric to deliver intensely personal and emotively charged themes. A professional graphic designer-turned painter, this is Ager’s first complete body of work to date and will include ten new paintings.

Ager begins her process with language – an idea or expression often gleaned from music, a book, or some other source that resonates personally. She then endeavors to resolve the concept visually through objects and composition, assembling a patchwork of references – some collective and shared from pop culture, others steeped in the idiosyncrasies of the personal. Both poetic and revelatory, Ager’s works feel charged with the simultaneous misery and beauty of contemporary appropriation – and express the current world through the formal repositories of the past to create anachronistic moments of resonance and delivery. Ever present amidst moments of undeniably expressed disappointment and disillusionment are redemptive linings, beautifully poignant discoveries, and playful, irreverent mirth.

The seductive darkness with which Ager reveals universal human longings is both disarming and consuming. Broken hearts are offered up as organs in a bowl, skeletal memento mori abound, and dating feels about as abject in the modern world as butchery; books are stacked with suggestive spines, and flowers wither while fruit threatens to decay. The abattoir is never far from the transcendent ambitions of classical statuary in Ager’s world, while beauty is embroiled in the vulnerability of intimacy and self-exposure.

Kevin PetersonEmbers

Kevin Peterson, a gifted hyperrealist painter, creates a fictional world in which innocence and collapse are brought into difficult proximity. His arresting images combine portraits of children accompanied by kindly sentient beasts in a state of kindred displacement. Alone, though together, in strangely desolate, richly graffitied urban scenes, these babes and their benevolent conspirators appear interchangeably as beacons of hope and symbols of dispossession.

Peterson’s works harness a dystopian social hyperrealism through painstaking attention to every possible fraction and detail of the mundane in their execution – every contour is excised, every surface meticulously rendered. The weird crystal clarity of the hyperreal in the depiction of these desolate underpasses and structural ruins provides a starkly strange backdrop for elements of fairytale, like the fantastic alliances proposed between children and animals, and the magical narratives these allegiances imply. A psychologically poignant, if not ambiguous, feeling of transformation and hope lingers in these impossibly arresting scenes of solitary kids. The resilience they suggest is haunting, while the unsettling verity with which these vulnerable fictions are cast strike something in our shared fear of literal and figurative exposure.

Always in search of poetic tension and compelling contrasts, Peterson alloys unlikely parts: beginnings and ends collide, the young appear in worn and weathered worlds, innocence is forced into experience, and the wild infringes upon the ‘civilizing’ city limits. In Wild, Peterson explores themes of protection and marginalization, staging wild animals, ironically, in the humanizing and civilizing charge of caregivers. Though a recurring suggestion in previous works, the role of the animal in a nearly shamanistic role as protector and watcher appears more overtly in the new. Small children are attended by wild bears, watchful raccoons, gentle fawns, mythic looking ravens, owls, and jungle cats, among others, as they hold a living and protective vigil against the crumbling architectures around them; their guardianship staged like a protective bulwark.

Peterson’s hyperreal paintings are at times uncomfortably close in the pathos of their offerings; they remind us, too, of something uneasily present in us all, a childhood that haunts the posturing of all of our adulthoods. Ultimately, Peterson’s works offer beautifully jarring reminders of the need for redemptive outcomes in a disappointed time.

www.thinkspaceprojects.com

Alex Garant Solo for SCOPE IMMERSIVE | ONLINE VIEWING ROOM

“All Is Well”

We’re excited to participate in SCOPE Immersive, an online virtual art-viewing experience for these strange and unpredictable times. For the inaugural edition that begins May 22nd, we are proud to present six works from artist Alex Garant.

Please find more information on this virtual exhibition below.

SCOPE IMMERSIVE | ONLINE VIEWING ROOM
MAY 22 – JUNE 05

We share a deep concern for our galleries’ well being during this difficult time and empathize with all who are faced with new critical challenges as we share the sensibilities and sensitivities of being a small business. With the impact of COVID-19 being felt globally and throughout our immediate communities, SCOPE believes that now more than ever, we are called to affirm our mission of presenting the very best of The New Contemporary.

It is in this spirit of being responsive and adaptive that SCOPE is pleased to announce the launch of SCOPE Immersive | Online Viewing Room. These invitational, survey, and thematic online events will present collectors with the opportunity to explore and purchase artworks from SCOPE exhibitors remotely in a curated digital and interactive space.

UNIQUE TECHNOLOGY
Unlike other platforms that rely on outdated iterations of basic slideshow technology, SCOPE Immersive invites collectors to step inside three-dimensional spaces which can be easily accessed by computer, mobile phone, or VR device. These unique events will be presented each month; starting in May and running through December in celebration of our 20th Anniversary edition of SCOPE Miami Beach.

SHOW INFORMATION
SCOPE Immersive’s inaugural edition will be open to collectors, curators, and art lovers alike beginning May 22nd at 11 am EST and run through June 5th. It will feature eight galleries, curated by SCOPE founder Alexis Hubshman.

Learn More: SCOPE Immersive | Online Viewing Room

Recap of the Opening Reception of Exhibitions from Yosuke Ueno, Alex Garant, and TikToy

The opening reception of Yosuke Ueno “But Beautiful” and Alex Garant’s “Voyage of the Insomniac” in the Thinkspace main room was a beautiful event. Both artists had prints available that were picked up by dedicated fans. In the project room, we were proud to present “Timewarp” which display the animated clocks of artists TikToy that are reminiscent of the 1989 classic Little Monsters.

Thank you to all that came out to support these incredible shows from all three artists. Congratulations to Yosuke Ueno, Alex Garant & TikToy on beautiful new bodies of work!

All three solo exhibitions are on view through August 25 at Thinkspace and can also be enjoyed via our website at http://thinkspaceprojects.com

photos courtesy Bryan Birdman Mier

Alex Garant Interview on the Podcast Harsh Truth

Art podcast Harsh Truth which dives into dealing with the business of art recently interviewed our current exhibiting artists Alex Garant. The interview not only discusses her life and creative process but also Garant’s art savvy business tips.

Listen to the interview now on your favorite podcast streaming service.

Alex Garant’s exhibition “Voyage of the Insomnica” is on view now through August 25th. To view available pieces from the exhibition visit the Thinkspace website – here.

 

Interview with Alex Garant for “Voyage of The Insomniac”

Thinkspace is pleased to present Voyage of The Insomniac, featuring new works by Toronto-based, Canadian, Québéquois artist Alex Garant. A painter known for her hyper-realistically rendered portraits in which the faces and eyes of her subjects seem to skip their registers through image redoubling and superimposition. In anticipation of Voyage of The Insomniac, our interview with Alex Garant discusses the exhibitions challenging work, an explanation for the compositions movement, and the catalyst for her artistic journey.

Join us Saturday, August 4th for the opening reception of Voyage of The Insomniac, from 6 pm to 9 pm at Thinkspace in Culver City.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work? Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in “Voyage of the Insomniac”?
AG: Voyage of the Insomniac was a very personal series. For the past couple of years, I have been experiencing bouts of insomnia, and I have been struggling with sleeping well. Unfortunately, I am the kind of individual who needs a lot of sleep. The lack of Z’s ended up putting me through quite a few days of hazy wakefulness, in a sort of automated trance. This collection is inspired by those days; the awaken hours passing by, lost between overstimulation and mental confusion. Trying to find beauty in overthinking and attempting to embrace the haze.
The collection is a total of 13 new paintings, 12 of them representing each hour between midnight and noon and a 13th painting (The 13th Hour) representing the eternity of a sleepless moment.

SH: Is there a symbolic significance to the double vision aspect of your work?
AG: Many people say it’s hard to look at yet is what draws the viewer to the piece. For me, the vibrancy is a visual representation of breathing, living, experiencing one’s self. In regards to this specific collection, I would compare this to a mirror reflection experience. When you are so sleep deprived and walk in front of a mirror, you look at yourself and wonder: Is this me? Is this what I look like? Is this how people see me? Then you smile, thinking, I can look decent, and then you stare into your own soul, witnessing your own struggles. That duality is what I am trying to represent in my imagery.

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?
AG: My favorite piece for this show is “The 13th Hour”. Strangely enough, this is the last piece I worked on for the show; I find I was able to capture the emotion from which this entire series started. Whenever I produce a larger body of work in a condensed period, I find myself learning a lot, on a technical level but also how to translate the intangible ideas into something others can see. This painting is the most direct visual translation of what was on my mind at that moment.

SH: Where do you source inspiration?
AG: It depends, sometimes, I have ideas of colors or patterns I want to try, most of the time, it is more of an emotion I am trying to render. I strive to get all my inspirations from within myself and avoid getting influenced by external sources like social media or anything of that nature.

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?
AG: I do a lot of little doodles. My first ideas are often little stick figures and some simple lines just to help me remember the idea. I will grab anything close to me, napkin, notebook or sketchpad. I also have a few very silly notes on my phone such as “Boy with red lines,” or “snooze roosters,” I don’t think it would make sense for anyone but me hahaha.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?
AG: I am very attracted to symmetry and balance, resulting in my compositions being very simple and slightly stiff. I don’t like to add elements for the sake of adding stuff. I prefer a minimalist approach to my pieces. I want the viewer to have a one-on-one encounter with the character painted, without distraction. I want the viewer to relate to the subject, projecting his/her own experience.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
AG: I love sketching, I love the early steps of the process, refining the idea, drawing the preliminary composition, etc. I am also learning to love the detailing process at the end. Adding texture and mini glazes.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
AG: Sometimes, an idea is so great in your mind, but then you just can’t put it down on paper, or you start painting it, and the whole thing turns muddy. It happens a lot, and over the years, I still struggle to let go of a piece once I start working on it; eventually, some pieces don’t make the cut and will be destroyed. I want to stay humble and always keep learning. For that to happen, it is important to push yourself and experiment while producing new works. This improvement process sometimes results in not-so-great art. Instead of getting frustrated, I need to learn to accept the lesson, absorb the learning and move on with the new skills (hopefully) acquired.

SH: What is an aspect of other’s artwork that really excites you, what are you drawn too?
AG: I am a huge art fan girl. I worship anyone one who comes up with ideas, concepts, and images I could never think of. I love colors and bold lines, I am a huge fan of Michael Reeder, Benjamin Cook, David Cook, Ryan Heshka, Travis Louie, Dan Lam, Richard Ahnert, Jeremy Okai Davis, Tina Lugo, 1010, Double Parlour, Caitlin T. McCormack and I could just keep on going and going… I love new ideas and people who master their own craft.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
AG: Sooooo many ideas. I really want to do more collaborative projects this year. Indie movies and musicians. Weirdly, I would love to do some kind of painting/ collab with Gucci. I have been loving their social media editorial content lately.
Also, I am currently working on a print collab with artist Paul Jackson I am super excited about.

SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?
AG: When I turned 30, I suffered a massive heart attack, and it truly changed my life. I felt reborn and refocused on what is important. I suddenly knew I needed to direct my energy towards art and that it was my true calling. I also understood that living passionately was key. Time is the only currency we are all running out of. So, this sense of urgency started translating into everything I do. No time to wait or to be hesitant. You must commit and keep fighting.