Olaf Breuning (Metro/Nils Steark Gallery) The Art Freaks, 2011
Olaf Breuning is the Swiss-German mad-man visual artist who merges methods in his paintings, photography, installations and everything else he makes. Much of this auteur’s stuff is cross-disciplinary and exists as subversions of everything we know, from fashion and pop-culture to sacred institutions and even art itself. In ‘The Art Freaks’ he cross-examines art history by transposing signature styles and questions the relationship between enduring artworks and consumable patina. His work conflates the tropes of so-called high and low artistic techniques and is a provocative visual discourse on the topics of kitsch, cliché, and reproduction.
Ron English (Opera Gallery) The Eternal Infancy of Art, 2011
Ron English is the high brow American pop-artist iconoclast who plays for high stakes and loves to agitate against the status quo. His ‘AGIT-POP’ style is clever street-art that blends stunning visuals with political, consumerist and surrealist messages and is fuelled by a more personal, hands-on social responsibility. His work is laden with the iconography of his generation (KISS, Andy Warhol, Disney characters, Coca Cola, etc.) and he masterfully explores and critiques capitalism and post-modern culture.
Banks Violette (Team Gallery) Untitled Sculpture, 2011
Banks Violette creates nihilistic-inspired installations that jangle your nerves and penetrate your soul. In his jolting aesthetic shot over Minimalism’s bow, Violette turns his .50 caliber machine guns on art writ large. Inspired by memories of being high on crystal meth, moody thrash metal and bucket loads of existential angst, Violette’s dark work is a powerful meditation on youth culture anxiety, loneliness and dealing with despair. Space and materials (crashed cars and twisted steel in this case) are hijacked, devoured, contracted, slowed down, woven back together and fabricated into a beautiful and deep metaphor. The tension is palpable but the work is beguilingly ghostly, stylised and symbolic. Basically amazing!
Zane Lewis (Graham Gallery) Shatter Series, 2011
Mind-altering, viciously pretty, shimmering and seductive, the Texan-bred, NYC-based artist takes mixed-media art to the extreme, re-fashioning glass fragments and sleek viscose into sublime chimera as glitzy as Miami Beach itself. His Shatter Series, fabricated from shards and monochrome paints, is as fragile as a Ming vase, beautifully edgy (in the truest sense!) and some of the most jaw-dropping work we’ve seen yet!
Sterling Ruby (Pace Wildenstein Gallery) Planetary Asthma 2011
Hailing from Germany and now based in LA, Sterling is the multi-disciplinary doyen of montage and installation art. Employing various forms of pastiche and mixed-methods, his work reflects an enormous degree of optical multi-tasking and symbolic meaning, able to take in and process themes as diverse as warfare, street graffiti, gang violence, social strife and architecture. Think phantasmagorical sculptural objects like bimorphic ceramics and hypnotic kraftwerk.
Thomas Canto (Opera Gallery) Interstellar Motorways, 2011
Frenchman Thomas Canto’s compositions are straight-up fissuring, convulsing into a spectacular cosmic vortex that instantly induces a state of frenzy and ecstasy. With unbridled abstract fecundity, his geometric illustrations cohere, then break apart, then re-organise in a hallucinatory stylistic abundance.
Matt Jones (The Hole) Space + Energy 2011
Matt Jones conjures a kind of transgressive pop-culture through his punk rock archetypes, underground iconography and kinetic compositions. His works represent a force greater than you, and a kind of cosmic system that consumes you. The visual-stylistic pluralism on display demonstrates notions of perpetual time, grand space, the infinite, and imagination that goes completely off the rails. Known for life-sized installations, propped figures and stylised silhouettes of legendary icons, cultural signifiers (Nirvana, Black Flag, etc.) and astrophysics, Jones’ artistic milieu is out of this world!
Davis Rhodes (Team Gallery) Untitled, 2011
NYC-based artist Davis Rhodes, a DIY maverick who grew up in Canada, blends colour-field and hard-edge painting with post-minimalist positions in order to explore the relationships between colour, texture, form and semiotics. He takes the concept of the painted object as his starting point, posing questions that surround the act of painting and the cultural values assigned to art, surface material and display strategies. His works – enamel paintings, mylar and foamboard panels, originate from the visual milieu of urban living: posters, graffiti, advertisements that in aggregate represent the sign-system endemic to modern urban life.