Cyprien Gaillard makes work about the intersection of history and nature, and humankind’s relationship to both. Gaillard is particularly attracted to dereliction: “I’m interested in things failing, in the beauty of failure, and the fall in general.” This means that he not only finds ruins, but also induces them: in his “Real Remnants of Fictive Wars” series (2003-08), he activated industrial fire extinguishers on select Land Art sites and documented the performances. His work spans many media—including photography, installation, etching, painting, sculpture, performance, and public interventions—and is almost always made outside the walls of a studio. He also has employed his iPhone to shoot films, which are then transferred to 35mm. Many of Gaillard’s works deal with the cyclical nature of time. Gaillard was awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2010.
Dean Levin’s process-based paintings reflect his training in architecture, dealing with conceptual questions of space and form. His canvases employ grids, indices, and refined design techniques, and are made of such functional materials as fiberglass-reinforced plaster and polished steel. Levin’s monochromes, stained by a special blend of oil and turpentine, are reminiscent of the minimalist Light and Space works of John McCracken and Peter Alexander—artists who helped pioneer a movement famously based in California, where Levin grew up.
Andy Denzler is a Swiss artist. His distinctive technique of distorting the freshly applied surface of his paintings has shaped his entire oeuvre in painting, printmaking, sculpture and drawing.
We are delighted to say that Blond Contemporary has been accepted to exhibit at Volta Basel, and the rescheduled fair will take place at the same time as the main fair, from Monday, September 14 through Sunday, September 20 2020.
However as the organisers have pointed out everyone should be aware that no major events will be permitted by the Swiss Government before August 31st. However the organisers, considering the ongoing developments in Europe, still believe that the fair will go ahead, so with all the normal caveats in place, we still hope to see you all in Basel in September.We will be showing works by Frederick Anderson, Daniel Jensen and Lucien Smith.
Walter Beckers was a Belgian Artist, born in 1929 in Antwerp. He developed a long career as an artist, art collector, and a publisher. Following the sale of his publishing businesses in 1977, Beckers embarked on a full time artistic journey which incorporated his fascination with the literary world – both ideally and physically. Among his more prominent artistic achievements was the completion in 1995 of the permanent installation Ein Stein, Ich bin Ein Stein, on the roof of the Muhka Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp.
We came across William Sellar’s work in the States like a number of other artists Bert Irvin in the UK springs to mind, his work really seemed to flower in his later years. We were sad to hear of his death in 2019 and attach a quote below taken from his obituary in his local paper in Rochester New York. He was much appreciated in the 1960’s but his take on late modernism at the end of his career retains a compelling contemporary vitality in the tonality of his colour and its composition. So it remains a genuine extension of the genre.
‘Bill served in the U.S. Army just after the Korean War and at the completion of his service, he pursued an education in Fine Arts which culminated in a MFA from the University of Michigan. Bill spent the beginning of his career in the role of educator and taught at Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, Hunter College and was the Artist in Residence at Carleton College. From there, he transitioned into being a project manager and fabricator for his long-time friend and colleague, Wendell Castle. A sculptor for the majority of his career, later in life Bill switched to painting as his medium of choice and produced a large body of work that survives him today.
His work has been shown and is included in the collections of numerous Museums and Galleries, including the Whitney Museum of Art (participating in Biennial Shows of 1966 & 1968), Albright Knox Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Max Hutchinson Gallery, Stephen Radich Gallery, Rochester Pyramid/ROCO Galleries, Oxford Gallery, Mercer Gallery and Warren Phillips Gallery.’
Trudy Benson was born in Richmond, Virginia She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. This by Trudy herself is perhaps the best introduction to her work “One of the reasons I fell in love with painting was the sensation of walking into a room and being able to smell the paint. Surface is so important to me for the same reason, there is a physical presence that is immediately apparent when you are actually in a space with a painting. I also enjoy using colors and color combinations that can’t quite be photographed the same way that our eyes see the color IRL. It’s almost a fetish to have so many sensory qualities in an essentially 2-D object, especially these days when almost anything can be experienced virtually. The idea that a painting, which at one time was a virtual experience, a window, can now be decidedly phenomenal is something that has driven the work for years.”
Trudy Benson’s paintings are notable because her method is laid bare for any viewer willing to look deeply. The paintings start with a raw canvas and a commercial airbrush. Benson sprays broad gestures or stream of consciousness doodling then she adds blocky cell-like structures of solid bold color that obscure and activate the surface with dynamic shapes. She often slathers lines of paint extruded from a pastry bag adding another dimension of depth and activity to the surface.
The contrast between the wispy spray and thick frosting-like paint creates a dramatic sense of space. If the eyesight is softened the hard-edge planes lift and hover off of the surface, sharpen your vision again and the heavily physical surfaces regain their heft and presence. The difference between a substantial grounded shape and the ethereal atmosphere is a key into what makes Benson’s work ebulliently muscular and airy simultaneously.
Trudy Benson belongs to the generation that inherited a society where computers and technology are seemingly like air or water, not optional but an overarching aspect of reality. The idea that we can « unhook » or opt out of social media is becoming quaint in the blink of an eye. Benson’s paintings seem to ask questions about the nature of newness and the converse state of nostalgia and memory.
The nostalgic quality that is embedded in the paintings is seemingly about the rapid pace that the newest computer tools begin look simplistic or silly. Benson’s paintings take a similiarly investigative look at high-modernist abstraction; a language, like computer software, that is full of codes and rules. Benson’s intuitive improvisations on these codes offers us glimpses into how our lives are shaped design and visual logic. It is the insouciant attraction to both the high and low of abstraction that recalls such American painters as Elizabeth Murray, Rebecca Morris and Katherine Bernhardt.
Benson has often talked about using primitive computer drawing tools like Macpaint as her preferred method for sketching out ideas before beginning a canvas. She often describes these tools as being left behind on old computers, in effect these programs are found or rehabilitated, as if through a happy accident. Benson finds pleasure in spotlighting the act of making painting as a step-by-step layering process. « Layers » is a term that any person familiar with using Photoshop or any other graphic computer program would recognize immediately.
But ultimately there is something exuberant rather than programmatic in the paintings : running late, rushing out the door, down the stairs… off to work. The happy push inside of each painting is urban, fun and utterly free.
Teresita Fernández is a New York based visual artist best known for her prominent public sculptures and unconventional use of materials.
Tamar Halpern is a photographer whose subject is the photographic process as much as the objects captured in her images. She uses a variety of photographic technologies, both contemporary and historic, and her final prints are the result of elaborate processes involving repeated cycles of digital and manual alteration: scanning, re-photographing, printing, sponging, taping, silk-screening, and wiping. The objects in the images are frequently commonplace, and also include streetscapes and interior views. In the final images, however, the original subject is sometimes distorted and obscured beyond recognition. Halpern’s style favors dense layering of images, high contrast, texture, and saturated colors.
Paul Pfeiffer (American, b.1966) is a Contemporary sculptor, photographer, and video artist who often uses found footage in his installment pieces. Pfeiffer was born in Honolulu, HI, but spent most of his childhood in the Philippines. He earned a BFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute before moving to New York, NY, in 1990. In New York, he received an MFA from Hunter College. Pfeiffer also took part in the Whitney Independent Study program. Pfeiffer’s innovative work in sculpture, video, and photography incorporates recent computer technology to investigate the role society and the media play in shaping our awareness.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a series from the early 2000s to 2018 in which artist Paul Pfeiffer digitally erases specific details from photographs in order to create stunning, yet eerie visuals of professional basketball players. In each image, Pfeiffer digitally manipulates photographs from professional basketball games by erasing all evidence of other players, lines on the court, names and numbers on the player’s jersey, the ball, and all other contextual details that give insight into what is occurring. After erasing all these aspects in the photographs, one single player remains with lights shining on them and an audience intently watching. Raising the player to iconic status and yet curiously mutating the subject by removing the context in which his presence and actions are meaningful. Taken to its logical extent Pfeiffer in ay the end of his sequence of works removes even the player himself producing the bank void whose meaning is its absolute lack.
Nick Darmstaedter produces artwork without an affinity to a single medium or material. He is best known for his active involvement with artist-led organization, The Still House Group, founded by Isaac Brest and Alex Perweiler in 2007. Like his Still House peers, Darmstaedter frequently produces works that employ found objects; he states that gathering and sorting are a crucial part of his practice, in which chance also plays a significant role. His works, however, are not readymades, but transformations that emphasize the materials’ physical properties and original forms. Darmstaedter’s works nod to the American Pop and Minimalist movements.
Masato Seto is a Japanese Thai photographer.
Seto has worked on various photographic projects. The best known may be Living Room, an exhibition and then a book of a strip of single and group portraits of Japanese and foreign residents of Tokyo in their homes. This won the Kimura Ihei Award.
Seto in 2008 had his first solo show of photographs in his native country of Thailand. The exhibition featured his first two series of color photographs “Picnic” and “Binran.” The show was put together by curator Connelly La Mar with support from the Japan Foundation in February at H Gallery.
Kasper Sonne is an internationally exhibited Danish artist living and working in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York. In 2000 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Sonne exhibits paintings, sculptures, and installations.
Josh Smith is a painter who has lived and worked in New York since 1998. He works with collage, sculpture, printmaking, and artist’s books. He first became known in the early 2000s for a series of canvases depicting his own name, a motif that allowed him to experiment freely with abstraction and figuration and the expressive possibilities of painting. His work has since given way to monochromes, gestural abstractions, and varied imagery, including leaves, fish, skeletons, sunsets, and palm trees that the artist has explored in series. Smith’s work engages in a celebratory and prolific project of experimentation and refinement—upending the conventions of painting while simultaneously commanding a deep awareness of its history.
Smith was born in 1976 in Okinawa, Japan. Smith’s father was in the US Army, and his family moved frequently, eventually settling in East Tennessee, where the artist mostly grew up. His work has been presented in numerous solo exhibitions at museums and arts institutions in the United States and abroad, including at the Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (2016); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome (2015); Zabludowicz Collection, London (2013); The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut (2011); Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva (2009); De Hallen Haarlem, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2009-2010); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok), Vienna (2008); and SculptureCenter, Long Island City, New York (2004).
Smith’s work is held in numerous international public collections including The Broad, Los Angeles; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok), Vienna; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Jörg Sasse, born 1962, is a German photographer and visual artist. He studied at the Art Academy Düsseldorf in the master class of Bernd Becher. His works are not photography in the classical sense, but often use found footage from various sources such as flea markets or family inheritances.
Fredrik Værslev, born in 1979 in Moss, is a Norwegian visual artist. He is known for his works in Hyperrealism, particularly for his paintings and sculptures. He currently lives and works in Drøbak, Norway.
The work of Aaron Garber-Maikovska (b. 1978, Washington, D.C.) encompasses painting, drawing, performance, and video—interconnected modes of communicating a vernacular of somatic expression. Garber-Maikovska describes the site of the body and its role in making art not simply as a tool with which to navigate our world, but “a centralized perceptive sphere of emotional, physical, conceptual, and spiritual inquiry.”
(B. 1984, New York) Kassay currently lives and works in New York City and is represented by 303 Gallery. He holds a BFA from the State University of New York, Buffalo (2006).
Jacob Kassay is a post-conceptual artist best known for his work in painting, filmmaking, and sculpture. Kassay’s work is primarily concerned with a formal approach to the placement and objectivity of paintings. Adhering to a set of strict reductive strategies shared by modern artists, Kassay’s work focuses on situating objects according to their spatial limits while foregrounding the experience of the contingencies and provisional duration of their exhibition.
‘Untitled’, 2011 (featured) has been constructed in the neo-minimalist style in which the artwork is typically meant to be of purely aesthetic value, designed to focus only on the visual and the superficial, rejecting all further meaning. However, by using the format of a diptych, Kassay cultivates a relationship between the two canvases. As a result, Kassay rather unusually infuses the sterile and superficial aesthetic of neo-minimalism with the suggestion of a personal and intimate dialogue between the two canvases.
This effect is very typical of Kassay’s process. The artist is known for manipulating and conditioning the experiences of those that witness his work. Kassay has described his work as the relationship between structured forms and the individuated body. His process is one whereby traditional media are used to amplify the audience’s instinctual responses to their environment.
Jacob Kassay is also well known for his innovative approach to curation. Some of his installations focus on the multi-sensory experience of his audience. Often his work occupies a space between painting, sculpture and interactive installation, taking inspiration from the surrounding space. Kassay reflects, distorts and relates to both the architectural environment in which his pieces are shown and the way the audience moves through this space. An iconic example of this is his installation, ‘HIJK’ at Xavier Hufkens, Belgium (pictured bellow).
By conditioning the space, colour and even the sound of the viewer’s surroundings, Kassay’s pieces of work expose the mechanics of how we respond to our environment. As such, the artist applies a structural approach to our biological mechanisms of sight and spatial recognition.
Jacob Kassay’s work is conceived as a response to space. The arrangement of his work and how the pieces interact with their surroundings – and ultimately with their audience – is key to understanding the essence of his work. Kassay’s paintings interrelate and form multiple dialogues: with each other, with the space around them and with the viewer.
Kassay is perhaps most well- known for his silver paintings, made using an electroplating technique that references early photography, which warp the reflection of their viewers as well as depicting subtle changes in light throughout the day. Form, surface and physicality are key in Kassay’s work, which is conceived as both softly gestural and ambiguous in its complexity.
Critic Alex Bacon has written that these paintings “actively pose the question—what does it mean to be represented?…This kind of aesthetic activity is suspended somewhere between the “real” world that is reflected, and the particular aesthetic world a painting inhabits as an…autonomous thing”.
“These works are evocative of Robert Ryman, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. “There’s no reason that we can’t go back to the past and rehash ideas that maybe you thought weren’t complete”, the artist says.
Kassay has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions including MoMA PS1, New York, ICA, London, Art: Concept, Paris, France, Protocinema, Istanbul, Turkey, Fondation Ricard, Paris, Kunsthalle Andratx, Mallorca, Spain, ME Contemporary, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Collezione Maramotti, Italy.
In his paintings, sculptures, and installations, Scott Reeder uses simple forms to address complex ideas and deploy cultural critique. He has become known for his cartoon-like style, expressive contour lines and bright colors, demonstrated infamously in his ”Cute Communists” series (2007) of famous communist leaders painted with doll-like cuteness. His other subjects include paintings of anthropomorphic objects, in a reconsideration of the familiar and mundane, and humorous references to iconic art historical works, as in Cops Ascending a Staircase (2009) (a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s most famous work). More recently, Reeder has begun to make a series of spaghetti paintings, in which the silhouettes of various types of cooked and uncooked spaghetti are spray painted onto a surface in abstract compositions.
Scott Reeder (b. 1970, USA) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan.
Reeder’s work has been shown widely in exhibitions including at the Saatchi Gallery, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, the Daniel Reich Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Jack Hanley, China Art Objects, and Pat Hearn.
In 2011, Scott Reeder was the subject of a solo exhibition, ‘Chicago Works’, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Reeder has been known to create many different types of work, including representational canvases, reductivist sculpture, neon lettering, lists and spray-paint on canvases decorated with pasta. The last of these – Reeder’s ‘Pasta Paintings’ – consist of the silhouettes of various types of cooked and uncooked spaghetti that have been spray painted onto a surface in abstract compositions.
His recent projects also include the feature film entitled ‘Moon Dust’, shot over the span of eleven years. Set a century in the future, it tells the tragic story of a failing resort located on the moon.
Central to Scott Reeder’s work is his humorous critique of the history and stylistic traditions of art-making. The artist is known for his wry sense of humour that incorporates both art-historical references and silly jokes.
Reeder does not only work with one or two artistic styles, nor does he operate within a single artistic movement. Rather, he jumps around from genre to genre, using artistic style as a contextual tool for his humorous, and often satirical, commentary.
While many artists – such as the Pictures Generation Louise Lawler (also featured) – tend to feature other artist’s work in their own pieces in order to comment on the nature and discourse of the fine-art world, Reeder is unusually innovative in his approach: mimicking their painting style, rather than substance. His mock appropriation of other artists’ styles include parodies of Caravaggio, Picasso, Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Rothko and Matisse.
Importantly, Reeder continues to value the role of mark-making and artistic expression. He does not attempt to ridicule the role of the artist, but rather, the essentialist approach often deployed in analysing and understanding the artistic frame work in which they exist.
He satirises the structured discourse of art history with jokes praised for having “the weight often given to seminal Conceptual Art”, yet he is able to do so playfully, without sacrificing the expression, emotion and character of the artist.
Reeder’s approach to pastiche is mocking and sarcastic, but, most importantly, it’s simple. As the artist asserts, “if you try to deconstruct why something’s funny that always kills it. [I’m] interested in a kind of extreme reduction, understatement or deadpan”. His minimalistic approach to his humour translates stylistically in his earlier pieces, such as ‘Paper at Night’ (featured), which feature bold images and bright colours that intentionally feign naivety.
‘Bread & butter’ (Dead), 2009, is a perfect example of this: an unnatural, playful pallet depicts purple and blue slabs of bread and butter as grave stones. The piece combines the uncomfortable subject of death with a playful, neo- fauvist aesthetic and sense of the everyday and common place (implicit in the cultural idiom “Bread and Butter”).
His ‘Paper at Night’ series is part of a group of work which playfully depicts and satirises political and ideological movements. In this context, ‘Paper at Night’ is evocative of covert, undercover pamphleteering and the spread of seditious messages. The dapple of rectangles in this body of works mirrors that in ‘Panda Protest’ – the play on black and white being similarly suggestive of either the press or a polarised perspective of ‘us and them’. Moreover, the cynical implications of placing one of the worlds laziest animals at the scene of a political protest are apparent.
The List, circa 2013:
Another telling example of Scott Reeder’s approach to artistic commentary is the work that featured in his solo exhibition at Lisa Cooley. His pieces included an aluminium floor sculpture made to look like crumpled paper, entitled ‘Bad idea’, 2013. He also exhibited various canvases with handwritten lists, titled for instance ‘Alternate Titles for Recent Exhibitions I’ve Seen’, 2013, which included the likes of ‘Indoor Street Art’ and the scathing ‘Painting Is Dead But These Paintings Are Still Available’.
Reeder’ s lists (pictured bellow) employ a litany of comedic devices from non-sequiturs to word play and playful symbolism. His written works poke fun at the creative process and the naming of art works. In many ways his 2008 ‘Paper at Night’ pieces pre-empt his later focus on the written word and the communication and proliferation of an idea.
His experimentation with noodles elevates the status of this bizarre, everyday material and simultaneously unites it with the artistic process such that the pasta becomes an integral part of the work’s genesis. Using this approach, he has produced pieces that draw upon various artistic movements – form Russian constructivism and Minimalism to French BMPT. Various critics have interpreted this technique as an implicit critique of the essentialist approach to understanding the nature of painting as a medium in 20th century art.
Rezi van Lankveld works by pouring and dripping layers of oil paint directly onto canvas, only to manipulate the paint by moving it around, occasionally using a brush. This method initiates a play between allowance and restriction, as she controls the paint through an intuitive process. Once the paint is poured, the painting starts somewhere to become something else along the way, balancing between coincidence and intention. These metamorphosis-like movements never seem to stop as van Lankveld’s paintings stimulate a generative way of looking. They explore the tensions between figuration and abstraction, with gestural forms that suggest, and at the same time reject representation.