Derek Cracco Blinded and
Peter Fox AUTONOMIC (TRACY VOLKSWAGEN)
November 1 – December 13, 2013
beta pictoris gallery is excited to present Blinded, a series of new paintings by Derek Cracco, focusing on the ephemera of light. “I am intrigued by those moments when we see only a single color of light,” Cracco explains, and Blinded explores these moments through searing images of fireworks, explosions and other flashes of light.
In a nod to the French Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat, who devised a painting method that consisted of creating an image from thousands of colored dots, Cracco constructs a series of intimate, detailed pointillist-style paintings. Over as many as seven separate layers separated by barrier coats, he turns his focus on repetition and attention to detail into fields of flashes, stars and light. Cracco’s influences range from astronomy to particle physics to music, shifting and oscillating between the macro and the micro, between the illusions of light in works like Staring at the Sun (detail shown on top) and the disruptions the images dissolve into when viewed at close range.
These works also embody Cracco’s nuanced understanding of color theory. In a lineage drawn from Viktor Vasarely, Cracco combines the subtleties of color with both optics and illusion to create retinal images that work on multiple levels. As Cracco explains it, the use of the field of single dots allows him to get to the aspects of the works that he finds most interesting: color and light. At the same time, this fragmented, pixelated vision also suggests the fleeting nature of both the digital and the printed, of the shift from the benday dot and simple red, green and blue image construction to its more modern antecedent of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Cracco works with an understanding of color theory’s construction of images from three or four colors, but works through these limitations by hand-mixing his palette to show a shrewd understanding of tone and hue.
Cracco invites viewers into the intimacy and the danger of light, whether it is the low light of a candle, the flash of colliding atoms, or the blinding light of the sun, Blinded highlights the importance of the surface, the value of improvisation and the simple fact that just as light cannot turn a corner, when you get to the edges of these new works the illusion breaks down, leaving viewers with the memory of being blinded by the intimacy and the intricacy of color and paint. Derek Cracco lives and works in Birmingham, AL and for the past twelve years he has been professor of printmaking at the University of Alabama Birmingham.
His work has been exhibited throughout the US.Blinded is his first solo exhibition with beta pictoris gallery.
Capriccio 3 Capriccio 4 Capriccio 6
Peter FoxAUTONOMIC (TRACY VOLKSWAGEN)
November 1 – December 13, 2013
Peter Fox AUTONOMIC (TRACY VOLKSWAGEN) paintings, along with all 10 seasons (152 episodes!!) of TRACY VOLKSWAGEN TV, are now online - click on above pic and check it out! beta pictoris gallery is proud to present Autonomic (Tracy Volkswagen), a solo exhibition of new work by Peter Fox, on view November 1 – December 13, 2013.
A departure from his signature drip paintings, Fox’s Autonomic (Tracy Volkswagen) is a contemporary conceptual twist on the automatic drawing and painting practices associated with Dada and Surrealism. Fox reframes the subjective, subconscious, psychic phenomena of Automatism, placing it at the center of an objectively-constructed painting process, to be performed by an adventitiously-named alter-identity: ‘Tracy Volkswagen’. Wearing a video camera, Fox/Volkswagen records a real-time, full-length, first-person view of the Autonomic (Tracy Volkswagen) studio experience. The compelling out-of-body video documentation is presented in the gallery alongside the finished paintings. The project is born of Fox’s conceptually-driven 2001/2002 performance, 10,000 Automatic Drawings. Fox created 10,000 automatic drawings in a single year, working in a trance-like state and allowing the pen to direct itself on the paper toward internal concept and content, without conscious intervention or editing. With Autonomic (Tracy Volkswagen), Fox takes automatism a step further, leaving his personal identity at the door and inviting an indeterminate, ungendered, automatic Tracy Volkswagen to literally run the show.
Gathering paint, brushes and canvas, Fox limits his artistic agency to setting the scene and preparing the stage for Volkswagen’s performance, creating an environment that requires few conscious decisions to be made once the action begins. A palette of primary-based colors is premixed, canvases are stretched and brushes are laid out. Fox steps back, Volkswagen steps forward and the camera switches on.
With the active voice of a separately-willed, autonomous intuition, Volkswagen’s brush creates paintings that oscillate between rigorous abstraction and an uncanny surreal. Charged with its own faculty, with intention and identity stripped away, the work projects the disorienting aura of vicarious hallucination.
Peter Fox lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. This is his first solo exhibition with beta pictoris gallery. Fox’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally.
Peter Fox HATCH
oil on canvas 48 by 48 in.
Peter Fox WINGMAN
oil on canvas 48 by 48 in.
Peter Fox OUTREACH
oil on canvas 50 by 70 in.
Art in America review / Clayton Colvin (click on image to read online version on ArtInAmerica.com)
previously at the gallery :
Willie Cole is known for employing domestic objects charged with his own cultural history. He repeats the markings of everyday objects that hold the spiritual energy of those who handle them. Cole refers to his practice as “perceptual engineering”. These multiples stand-in for a most unsavory moment in history when another common commodity was human life. As such the objects’ identities blur and their meaning transform.
Cole’s works surrounding the clothing iron as an icon are featured in the exhibition FIRE/FLY at beta pictoris gallery. It was a common chore, the act of ironing clothing for an enslaver or employer. To the artist, the iron has the appearance of an African mask, or when used to scorch paper, the resulting marks resemble the historical drawings of ships that once carried slaves to the Americas. While the content holds somber significance, the shapes form beautiful patterns that closely resemble jungle flora. The ombre on the burned paper takes on a rich caramel color and reveals the scarring of the material. In addition to a selection of important new works using the iron, Cole will be showing an animated clip from his ongoing video project ShooFly.
Willie Cole FIRE/FLY review in WELD (click on image to read the review)
Willie Cole's work is found in numerous private and public collections and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; the High Museum, Atlanta, GA; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore, MD; the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, TX; the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, CT; the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, PA; the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Columbus Museum in Ohio; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA; the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC; the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, MI; the Montclair Art Museum, and the Newark Museum of Art in NJ; the Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL; the Saint Louis Art Museum in Saint Louis, MO; the University Art Museum at the University of California at Santa Barbara in California among others.
click on above image to watch a video of
Willie Cole talking about his work
John Fields Diegesis
beta pictoris gallery is proud to present John Fields: Diegesis, the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.
John Fields has gone Hollywood, or, to use another phrase from an early period in cinema history, Fields is in pictures. For Diegesis, the Birmingham-based artist uses black, white, and a range of gray acrylics on canvas to recreate single shots from seven motion pictures. Just as a dot matrix series renders a photographic image, and pixels create a video image, Fields’ paintings (which up close resemble a paint-by-numbers project) lend the illusion of a movie image, most convincingly when viewed from a distance. The distinguishing feature of these movie moments, however, is that each face we see in that shot from Deer Hunter, Manhattan, Last Tango in Paris, or Godzilla belongs to the artist.
Moving past the strategy of merely imposing himself into a motion picture (recall Buster Keaton entering the movie screen in Sherlock Jr., and Woody Allen paying homage to Keaton in The Purple Rose of Cairo), Fields assumes the role of key players in each scene. He first creates a mask from a photograph of his face, then superimposes an image of the mask onto the screen capture. The final, painted result has a peculiar distancing effect that, apart from establishing a not-quite-human resonance that is equally comic and disturbing, confounds the very title of the exhibition. In a motion picture, elements that are not part of the characters’ world (the diegetic realm) such as the score, voice-over narration, or on-screen text that describes time and place, are non-diegetic. The John Fields mask may exist in limbo between those opposite realms, or perhaps suggests that each lies along a continuum.
The notion that these may or may not be diegetic moments from a motion picture - the screen shot is precise but the face is from elsewhere - continues with each work being titled not after the movie, but instead inspired by movie dialogue as Fields remembers it. The shot from Manhattan is “Gossip is the New Pornography;” that notorious scene from Last Tango in Paris is titled “Get the Butter.” That the movie gets a new title, just as it gets a new “star,” repeats a similar tension between the painterly qualities of each work and the digital imagery mimicked in each. Nonetheless, Fields has managed to get himself in the movies, to whatever degree he constructs or operates within a “diegesis.”
That’s an extremely personal strategy that the artist admits he finds vaguely troubling, especially in the case of violent imagery in Peeping Tom and Deer Hunter, or the dual faces he employs for Last Tango in Paris. Oddly enough, the idea of using a mask for these paintings to some extent originated from a real-world event. For his birthday party a friend of the artist created a “John Fields mask” that each guest wore for the occasion. Everyone at the party was John Fields. For Diegesis, John Fields is everyone in the movies. There again, in this method the artist is actually assuming only the persona created by the players in these motion pictures. After all, in the earliest history of the theater, and at the time of the very first diegesis, a persona was a mask.
Steven Bindernagel Chasing the Ghost
beta pictoris gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new works by Steven Bindernagel.
Bindernagel has embarked on a new path inside his trajectory of abstract painting. Chasing the Ghost features small works on canvas, panel, and paper. Previously known for his large abstract works dealing with systems, meticulous grids, and expressive gestures this selection of work highlights an exciting departure for the artist. Moving away from sprawling imagery Bindernagel has focused on the material and the contemplative nature of an experimental approach to painting. Layers are added and removed in order to reveal and manipulate memory. The painting process becomes one of discovery in which he paints what cannot be fully comprehended. Through an attempt at making the intangible tangible the artist chases the unattainable ghost in the painting, the latent memory present in each coat on the canvas.
The paintings found in Chasing the Ghost are open-ended, unidentifiable, but rooted in an accumulation of personal history. Here the ghost and the memory are one in the same residing on the plane feeding off of each other’s energy, hiding and revealing a presence in each carefully painted work. In the way that a Cy Twombly painting explores grand allusions which simultaneously convey nothing and everything, mood and meaning stand at the forefront. For Bindernagel, perhaps it is seen in the obsessively scraped oil and acrylic, the rigorous sanding of the surface, or veil of paint replacing what was removed—these works live from within. Bindernagel cleverly coaxes the ghost from the work and ultimately what appears is as confounding as the memory itself.
Steven Bindernagel lives and works in New York, NY. He holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and has exhibited nationally. Notably he has recently shown at the Armory Fair, CRG Gallery, and a Dan Cameron curated exhibition at David Zwirner. This is his first solo exhibition with beta pictoris gallery.
Mark Flood FACEBOOK FARM (click image to see pics)
click above pic to watch the
Mark Flood FACEBOOK FARM video on youtube
click above pic to watch the
Mark Flood FACEBOOK FARM video on vimeo