Friday, January 27, 2012

Nurture Yourself - Up and Coming Contemporary Artists

Last weekend, I paid a visit to Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2012 at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica. In its third year, this West Coast International Art Fair hosted 70 international blue chip and emerging galleries from around the world with a strong focus on those in the Los Angeles area.  It was a perfect forum to see the most recent work of hundreds of new artists from around the globe and I had a great time strolling through booth after booth of inspiring artwork.  But after walking the entire fair, there were three artists that really stood out for me - Matthew Brandt, Peter Stichbury and Suh Dong Wook. I have a feeling all three will be coming to a museum near you sometime in the near future so keep your eyes and ears open for these rising stars of the contemporary art world.

Matthew Brandt

120816240828 (2012), Matthew Brandt. 

As we were walking the aisles, my husband and I were both drawn to this pink watercolor (or so we thought) painting of a house.  Upon closer inspection however, we noticed that it wasn't done in watercolors, but had incredible texture and looked more like it was made with some type of wax.  As it turns out, it was actually made entirely with double bubble gum!  I can't even begin to figure out how artist Matthew Brandt created something so beautiful with such exacting detail from chewing gum, but that is what makes his work so creative, skillful and unique. He received his M.F.A. from UCLA in 2008 and was recently featured on Forbes 2012 30 under 30 list in the Art and Design category of "disrupters who are reinventing the world" and his works have been acquired for the permanent collections of LACMA and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Peanut Butter and Jelly (2009), Matthew Brandt.

I learned from the gallerist at the show that he has also experimented with other foodstuffs in his prints including these works made with Peanut Butter and Jelly and barbecue sauce.  The fact he is able to take every day materials from his pantry and turn them into beautiful mountain landscapes is remarkable, isn't it?

Chinese BBQ Sauce (2009), Matthew Brandt.

Brandt has also created a series of vivid prints in which he uses water as an integral part of the work.  In the prints below, he took photographs of various bodies of water and then soaked the photos themselves in the water of their source.  I found it so interesting that the water from each lake altered the prints in different ways, exemplifying their unique and divergent compositions.

Yuba Lake, CA 5 (2011), C-print soaked in Yuba Lake water, by Matthew Brandt. 
American Lake, WA C2, C-print soaked in American Lake water, by Matthew Brandt. 

Peter Stichbury

Chloe Crowne, 2011, Acrylic on linen, Peter Stichbury. 
As we were coming to the end of the show, I saw Peter Stichbury's paintings from 50 yards away and made a beeline for the Tracy Williams Gallery booth to get a closer look. I have loved portrait paintings since I saw Gainsborough's Blue Boy and Lawrence's Pinkie at the Huntington Library when I was a little girl and my favorite thing in our home is portrait of artist Rachel Feinstein that my husband gave me when my daughter was born.  I was a little confused at first since it seemed as though many of Stichbury's portraits looked vaguely familiar - like I should know who the subjects were. The lovely gallerina in the booth explained that although they are all fictitious people, Stichbury uses various features from contemporary media images and combines them when composing his paintings. She mentioned one of his favorite people to cull features from was Elijah Wood, which explained my feeling of familiarity.

Roman (2011), Acrylic on linen, Peter Stichbury. 

Stichbury, 42, lives and works in New Zealand. He has called himself "a society painter of sorts," and says that he is "trying to illustrate what is going on psychologically in our community with the way the popular media represents people and the way we are made to feel our appearance should be." 

Estelle 10 (2011), Acrylic on linen, Peter Stichbury. 
In addition to his obvious gift of portrait painting, there is something at once beautiful and incredibly awkward about the subjects of his paintings. Take a close look and see if you can figure out whose eyes, mouth or forehead might have inspired his work. I think I see a little James Franco in "Roman," but who knows. Who do you see? 

Danijela (2011), Acrylic on linen, Peter Stichbury. 

Suh Dong Wook

Painting by Suh Dong Wook.

When I saw this painting by Suh Dong Wook of a young girl in a slouchy silk shirt and super-cool ankle boots, it immediately reminded me of some of my creative and stylish friends. Melding fashion, femininity and a shroud of mystery, he has said that he likes to paint "street fashion."  Wook, 38, currently lives and works in Seoul, Korea and received his MFA from the Ecole Nationale Superiuere d'Art in Paris.

Window, Suh Dong Wook.
He has had a number of solo shows in Paris and Seoul, but none here in the states.  I couldn't get much more information on this talented painter at the fair, but I guess I all need to know I can discover by enjoying his beautiful paintings.

MH on the brown couch, Suh Dong Wook.

검은안경을쓴모르는사람, Suh Dong Wook.

P.S. I'm always on the hunt for affordable artwork and prints and when I find them, I add them all to my Art and Prints board on Pintrest - you can follow me here


tina said...

These are really interesting. Particularly like the double bubble gum work of art.

At the moment there are so many fantastic art exhibitions in London that I have decided to have a military plan. Otherwise, will miss them all and kick myself.

First up is a huge David Hockney retrospective... can't wait... have a good weekend.

Unknown said...

I so badly wanted to go to the show! Thanks for the recap.


California Chic said...

@tina - I'm sure the Hockney retrospective is going to be amazing. You are so lucky to live near the Tate - probably my favorite museum in Europe. Have a great weekend!

@mademoiselle Fro-frou - Thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

amazing blog!!!i'm following you!!!

California Chic said...

Sabrina - Thank you so much for stopping by!

Theresa / InspirationCOOP said...

I love all the painters you selected as I'm sure there were plenty to choose from. Brandt's food art is incredible, for certain. How in the world?! I also love Wook's paintings. Street fashion painting is a brilliant inspiration. Of all, I think I am drawn most to Stichbury's work. Like you, I would have made a beeline to his work as soon as it caught my eye. There is something so mesmerizing about his paintings.
J, I think you missed your calling...You would make an amazing gallery curator/owner. Oh, maybe even a boutique that sells select clothing pieces and art. You have great taste! ;)

California Chic said...

@Theresa Thank you so much for your kind words..that means a lot coming from you because I think YOU have great taste too! Owning an art gallery & opening a boutique are two jobs I have always wanted to do, but just have never pursued...I'm thinking the gallery might be a retirement project for us and then maybe I can get a part-time job as a buyer for some super cool shop :)

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