Kiki Valdes – Riding Dualism

kikivaldes-art_copy

KIKI VALDES
RIDING DUALISM

Reception: Wed, November 19th 2014
The National Arts Club / Marquis Gallery
15 Gramercy Park South, New York, New York 10003
6 – 8 PM / RSVP is required 
ridingdualism@gmail.com

For his FIRST one-person exhibition in New York, Kiki Valdes presents new paintings that explore the phenomenon of dominance and the translation of experience into image and form. Continuing his inquiry into the evaluation of popular culture in the context of established American settings, Riding Dualism proposes a step further whereby traditions are re-explored and roles often reversed.

Valdes’ work often draws a corollary between the content and action with surroundings punctuated by arid landscapes and fragmented spaces. In his work “Bullish in the Desert”, the interaction between the dark colossal animal and the brightness of the hovering ghost-like figure is offset against the brightness of the warm tones of the landscape. This painting as well as others in the series, investigates the poetics and memories of the perpetuating Western American culture, re-enacting the artist’s own experience in the wilderness of Arizona.

Simultaneously entertaining and strikingly composed semi-abstract paintings, Kiki Valdes’ works are critical interrogations of the duality between the individual and the system, or in this case the ‘animal’. Tracing the conflicting broadcast of everyday uprising, the unleashed beast in “Angry Horse” exposes the overthrow of ongoing endorsed system, projecting the viewers in a mental state of a no-man’s land where the dignity of the animal and individual are one. Kiki Valdes approaches the lore of the American cowboy with an intimate immediacy, enabling his contemporary experience to exist within the continuum of civilizations.

Kiki Valdes was born in Miami, Florida in 1981, and lives and works between New York, New Jersey and Miami. A Cuban American painter, Valdes’ work explores the multidimensional complexities of people, religion, American-life, sex, and superstition. His canvases tend to overlap on top of various unresolved paintings and capture a sense of association, rhythm and conflict. Kiki often refers to his paintings as studies; instead of art history’s draw toward the female or still life, Valdes explores the use of 1990’s cartoons with expressionistic tendencies. His appropriation of Disney/Nickelodeon characters is a starting point for him to redefine his understanding of the subject. The work can best be described as a marriage between abstract expressionism and cartoons.

“Kiki Valdes: Riding Dualism” will be on view at The National Arts Club, New York from November 3-29th 2014. A reception will be held on November 19, 2014 from 6-8 PM.

Press Contact: RidingDualism@gmail.com

National Academy: Beyond the Classical

The National Academy Museum & School has put on a rather EXCEPTIONAL show: Beyond the Classical. What I was thinking what the should would be composed of … well let’s just say I was ABSOLUTELY wrong. I was thinking I would be looking at Ancient Greek Sculptures contrasted with contemporary versions. That was not the case. AT ALL.

What I saw before me was INCREDIBLE. A FASCINATING mix of MODERN and CONTEMPORARY works that draw on classical works and themes. This show is a MUST SEE. From Rauschenberg to Duchamp, to Kiki Smith, Mickalene Thomas and more… the list goes on and on. And the works you are presented works are not necessarily typical for what you would normally associate with each artist (especially Mickalene Thomas).

Check out a few snaps of works below that are in the show… but we did not include them all because we ENCOURAGE you all to go and check it out! (Images from Top to Bottom: Yinka Shonibare, “Fake Death Picture,” 2011 – Susan Solano, “Memoria,” 1992-93 – Marcel Duchamp, “L.H.O.O.Q.,” 1964 – Mickalene Thomas, “Carmen: Standing Reaching, Standing Twisting, Standing with Back to Artist,” 2011.)

10557312_10203322973970705_6954209436528976551_n

10698667_10203322973130684_1295995222843565977_n

1381851_10203322972090658_5239471742417596376_n

10486003_10203322976530769_2732442317719561484_n

 

XX,

CHC

@CultureHeARTs

Overreaction is a Bloody Understatement – An Example of How NOT to Take Criticism

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 12.16.56

Everyone has the right to critique. Just “artists” or artists take it a little too personally, sometimes. Wanna be dramatic? Take it and break it. See for yourself.

But seriously, if you love what you do, why do you care what other people think? It’s just an opinion. This is not the difference between life and death.

And – Dear Girl in the Video with your “abstract” painting, you are already a fashion designer apparently, so you are established. I understand you spent a lot of time on that piece and went out of your comfort zone – but was this really necessary? Obviously you got upset and had the right to be since this painting was so personal to you that you started cursing and slammed the canvas against the wall after you kicked the frame. Maybe you should just stick to fashion?

Kids, at the end of the day… do what you do best. Follow your He(ART). Don’t listen to what other people have to say. Believe in yourself.

XX, DP

Weird, Strange, and Morbid: Charles Matton, the Unappreciated/Unrecognised Artist

Charles Matton (1)

I think in my previous posts, that I’m sure all of you have read and become dedicated CultureHe(ART)s readers – its apparent of my style of art (aka K’s style) exemplifies the WEIRD, STRANGE, and the MORBID. This is why when I stumbled upon the French artist Charles Matton (1931 – 2008), I was overwhelmed with happiness and curiosity. I want to share that with you. I won’t bore you to death with a biography and list of works, but I will give you a little rant on why I think he’s so great. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t.

What strikes me about Matton and his work is he was an innovator, a REBELLIOUS artist. During the Modernist period when abstraction was a predominant mode of painting and sculpture, Matton diverged. I think this was brave. He believed that abstract reality when in front of you becomes beautiful. He would paint bouquets, heads, flowers – and painting was not his sole medium. Matton has done everything from sculpture to collage to films, you name it, he’s done it.

Charles Matton (14)

What strikes me most about his work, is his undeniable love for reality and being able to find beauty in the strange, the foreign – whether it be morbid such as his masochistic photographs, his pregnant sculptures or attempting to infiltrate the minds of the great artists such as Bacon and Giacometti (he created some wonderful small collages of their studios that you can look at for hours).

Charles Matton died in 2008, and this is why I am writing about him now. I think he was very under appreciated and unrecognised due to the overshadowing of modernist art and his divergence from it. He’s a bit kooky and weird – but hey who isn’t? And as I always say, “if your not weird than you are not normal.”

Charles Matton (15)

What does your He(ART) think? Strange? Morbid? Beautiful?

Peace Out, K.

What’s NEW at TATE MODERN: LONDON

So I don’t know if it’s me or all us ART fans out there love going to the same museum 1000x just to see their favourite works… but this last time I went to visit the Tate this past weekend, I got a MASSIVE SURPRISE. While much of the Tate is under construction, that did not stop them from bringing out their A Game. See for yourself:

To begin Gerhard Richter’s 11 Glass Panes is now on display. Put 11 planes of glass together and what do you get? A FABULOUS mirror (obvi take a SELFIE in it when you’re there – it is the cool thing to do)!

IMG_3763

Ellsworth Kelly has a WHOLE room – while I am only showing one piece it is because I am encouraging you to go and see the rest! They are LARGER THAN LIFE and truly BRILLIANT minimal pieces of art.

IMG_3758

Lastly, another new piece I came across was Tracey Emin’s Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing. What a tragic past she had, but what a GENIUS way to express her emotions.

IMG_3772

Get inspired. Express yourself. Love He(ART).

XX,

DP

The Biggest Disappointment: RA Summer Exhibition 2013

Royal Academy summer exhibition

perry-adoration-of-the-cage-fighters-2012-2

While every year, apparently, people look forward to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition… I can without a doubt say that this show was the BIGGEST disappointment – possibly ever.

I have seen student shows in the states, I have seen student shows at other Uni’s in Europe… but for such an esteemed academy, the work was anything but.

But actually. It was a massive disappointment. The highlights were that of the architectural maquettes – which are for sale; opposed to the six tapestries by Grayson Perry (above) whose tapestries entitled The Vanity of Small Differences (based off of Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress) are aesthetically appealing and visually/mentally time consuming when trying to grasp what is going on, however they are NOT for sale, and take a place on the cover of the book with works sold. I find this quite odd.

Did the RA know that all the works chosen were not so splendid so the work they chose for their cover is a work that is not being sold? I call this FALSE ADVERTISING.

I am not saying all these artists are lacking talent, but their works are heavily derived from per say Manet, Monet, Ellsworth Kelly, Alex Katz, etc. Or they are just plain horrific, and embrace numerous qualities of kitsch (ugh).

If I have no dissuaded you from visiting the show, and I do encourage you to go and have your own opinion, please let me know what you think. I love some great feedback!

XX, DP

Some Highlights from Venice: Ze Peggy Guggenheim Collection… aka AMAZINGGGGGG

Breath taking. Fantastic. Phenomenal. Incredible. Mind-blowing. MODERN ART… There are no other better words to describe some of the highlights I saw at the Peggy Guggenheim this week in Venice – ITALY, duh (p.s don’t forget she slept with a lot of these artists hence her nickname “THE MISTRESS OF MODERN ART”)…

Let the works speak for themselves:

ROTHKO

image-6

PICASSO

image-5

LEGER

image-7

STELLA

image-8

AND… last but NOT least… the most awe-inspiring combination of works that I saw – a Barnett NEWMAN ZIP hung above a Carl ANDRE sculpture. WOW. LOVE. OBSESSED.

photo

Enjoy. Take it all in. I am still working on it. But actually.

GET INSPIRED. GET CULTURED. He(ART) the ART.

XX, DP

Francis Bacon’s Muse – Isabel Rawsthrone

tate_tate_t00879_10_large

You may think something is wrong with this person’s face… but it is Francis Bacon’s way of creating a portrait – which can be found in the TATE (Modern). It is a portrait of Isabel Rawsthrone. Bacon and Rawsthrone were close friends and after Rawsthorne’s death in 1992 Bacon admitted they had an AFFAIR (even though he was gay – apparently – who knows, who cares, but tres scandalous). In a statement to Paris Match confessed, “You know I also made love to Isabel Rawsthrone, a very beautiful woman who was Derain’s model and Georges Bataille’s girlfriend.” As such, unlike any of his other female sitters of which could only be counted on one hand, Rawsthorne became his MUSE.

Bacon had no FORMAL training. Bacon’s earlier portraits were created by means of having his subject present. His portraits beginning in the 1960s were developed based off of photographs and focused in on facial features. Bacon only painted those who he knew intimately – Lucian FREUD, George Dyer, Henrietta Moreas, Muriel Belcher, and Isabel Rawsthrone to name a few.

While his brilliant portraits evolved from photographs taken by John Deakin, the final result was one that which could be described as phenomenological – the idea that his paintings go beyond the physical attributes of the exterior and exemplify inner truths.

Bacon’s portraits could further be understood as influenced from Surrealism and Abstraction, where a duality exists within each painting: between thought and form, life and death. Nevertheless, Bacon captures Rawsthrone’s physicality such as her arched brows, high forehead, and accentuated cheek bones; however, he has done so in an intriguing way that navigates the cusp of abstraction and figuration in relinquishing the human form through his distorted yet incredibly powerful techniques of portrayal. Bacon elaborates in his discussion with Sylvester, “What I want to do is distort the thing far beyond the appearance, but in the distortion to bring it back to a recording of the appearance.”

The artist’s ENERGETIC brush strokes are contrasted with smudged contours and blurred boundaries as if he is trying to reveal an open form that is trapped within its own subsistence. Bacon removes screens and veils to uncover truths about existence through fusing the notions of paint and the idea against a stark background, which brings the portrait to appear to have a floating appearance. The artist’s work of his dear friends in the 1960s exhibit and suggest a psychological rendering.

Check out this work at our FAVOURITE museum in London – Tate Modern. Embrace those around you. Find your muse. Go with the flow.

XX, DP

Not My Choice, But My Voice; The Turner Prize 2010 – Angela de la Cruz…My Pick

Angela_delaCruz_SuperClutter_250_MED

If anyone remembers the Turner Prize in 2010, ze award was given to Susan Phillipsz. Now I am no art genius and my opinion does not have validity at this point in the art world. Having said that it, I would like to applaud Angela de la Cruz’s work (above) and make the point that her work is extremely daring and twists notions of painting-which is why art is progressive in its practice. I will make the case here that I believe the work of Angela de la Cruz should have won the Turner Prize in 2010. You do not need to take my opinion into consideration, but I urge you to look at these works and pretend that you are a judge. It is fun!

The Turner Prize is an award, or THE AWARD, given to an artist that has made the greatest contribution to the British Art World within the last year. It must be awarded to an artist that is under 50 years old, and has lived or worked in Britain for at least 12 months. In 2010, there had been four individuals that were selected to win the Turner prize; each with their own unique take on art.

The four nominees for the 2010 Turner Prize were The Otolith Group film
artists, Dexter Dalwood – a painter, Susan Phillipsz – a sound artist, and
Angela de la Cruz – a painter.

Angela de la Cruz is a Spanish born artist (1969), born in the city of La Coruna. In 1989, she moved to London to study art. Tragically, de la Cruz suffered a stroke in 2006, and was unable to work for a few years. With renewed energy and dedication she bounced back and began painting, again. However, the artwork that she was nominated for was created prior to her stroke.

Angela de la Cruz was nominated for her solo exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre. She had BROKEN the norms of painting physically and figuratively. Her paintings and sculptures have been destroyed and reconstructed in order to evoke a new sense of art. An example of this is her painting “Hung” which was a painted canvas. The frame of the canvas was later deconstructed and reconstructed in an unusual shape. This gave the painting a sense of awkwardness. She uses her art pieces as a language to convey feelings of rawness and humour.

Her playfulness in her artwork is what I admire most about her. There is a satirical humour that her art radiates. It is not merely paintings on a wall, but personalities that interact with the viewer. Each of her pieces of artwork has their own persona. I believe unlike the other artists, she has made new developments in the world of art, due to her unorthodox approach to it.

Angela de la Cruz does not accept art the way it is, but attempts to redefine it. And isn’t that what makes good art? She follows in the steps of Duchamp and Pollock as art innovators.  Her pieces have a sort of Duchamp/Robert Morris hybrid. She questions art. Her pieces force the audience think; what is art? Can this be art? How does one define what art is? Angela de la Cruz’s art is interactive. This is what an artist should do, question art and constantly be redefining what art should be.

Well this is what I think, but why not take a stab at it yourselves!

I give you the articles and videos of the Turner Prize 2010. Take a
look… think about it. Were the jurors right or wrong? Let us know
what you think.

Peace Out, K

In Honour of Mark Rothko, A Reflection on His Contribution to Abstract Expressionism

Today marks the day Rothko committed suicide – 25 February 1970.

Being one of my favourite artists, I decided I would share a fragment of one of the paper’s I wrote about Rothko and Abstract Expressionism:

The new creative approaches of the Abstract Expressionists in the 1940s and 1950s (up until around the 1960s) were groundbreaking to the visual world. “Abstract expressionism is defined as a twentieth-century painting style in which artists applied paint freely to their MASSIVE canvases in an effort to show feelings and emotions” declares Robert Smith in his article entitled “Abstract Expressionism and the Imaginative Curriculum.” Most “abstract” art, as in the case of Abstract Expressionism, was developed as a response to the whole range of human experiences (remember these works evolved right after WWII). Jonathan Harris, in his article entitled: “Mark Rothko and the Development of American Modernism 1938-1948 claims:

“Represented as the ‘universal Free Style of the West’, the large agitated canvasses of Jackson Pollock or Rothko’s floating fields of colour become emblems of freedom of liberal American society: beacons of individualism, unfettered activity and creative risk, proposed as possible only in a true democracy (43).”

Rothko took advantage of these liberties, and became the a leader of Abstract Expressionism.

This new field is divided into two categories: Action Painting and Color Field painting. Generally, works of this period were painted on a GRAND scale. While these branches appear physically different in terms of style, they both are a combination of spontaneity, ingenuity, and the investigation of the unconscious disregarding pictorial imagery. Line and color are the basic components underlying the work of the Abstract Expressionists, created through rhythm and movement. Rothko was the leader of the Color Field movement.

The notion that a painting is supposed to inform the viewer dominates. However, unlike art of past generations, the Abstract Expressionists did so in an untraditional manner. Paintings of this modern period were more than a history or religion crash-course. They were on a search for “something” more. This “something” was not “nothing.” In the case of Mark Rothko, the “nothing,” was not only a search from within the artist, but also a search within oneself. “I am interested only in expressing basic human emotions-tragedy, ecstasy, doom,” Mark Rothko.

Let us remember this great artist, and hold him close to our he(ART).

XX, DP

p.s. If you are in London visit his Seagram Murals at the Tate or if you are in Houston, Texas visit the Rothko Chapel.