The Season in Review summarizes recent exhibitions with works by the following artists: Tiong Ang, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, Carlo Ferraris, Greg Kwiatek, and Walter Robinson.
Tiong Ang, an Indonesian-Dutch artist who lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, deals with different elements about the nature of identity, cultural meaning and social absorption in his work. Using media specific to his topics - whether painting, video, photography, installation or social projects - Ang portrays people’s negotiations within an ethically hybridized environment. In both complex, research based projects and simple, singular works he combines a mixture of documentary observations and found situations with manipulated, edited imagery to evoke an alternative state of mind. The viewer seems to be disoriented, cut off from society, yet fluid, dynamic and accelerating into new zones of knowledge and being. He aims at an enriched state of dislocation that allows the individual member of the audience to recognize his or her own state of belonging and alienation within the global sphere. Ang has had exposure to the Asia Pacific market through his inclusion in two editions of the Shanghai Biennale (2004 and 2008) and various projects and residencies across China and Indonesia.
Recently commissioned to do three book covers for Banana Yoshimoto’s novels, the Argentinian-born, Carolina Raquel Antich, based in Venice, Italy, utilizes a range of artistic strategies from painting to contemporary video and animation, with their performative aspects, in order to address a host of socio-political issues. Her works are often an ironic and amusing commentary on memory, more specifically, the transformation from childhood to adulthood. They are poignant statements about life and art. Figures of children openly enact the eternal quest for identity, which begins at birth and continues to drive adults, even as society insists that they conform. Stylistically, Antich has explained her manner of drawing as child-like. Her approach is a to re-create a child’s notion of space, the resolution of three dimensionality on a two-dimensional plane, that remains rather restricted and ultimately surreal.
Born in Brescia in 1914, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, or GAC (1914-1990), an Italian art collector and historically important artist, gave context to the Italian Experimentation period and was the first artist to bridge postwar-Italian art with American Pop art. He invented the term autostoricizzazione or ‘self-historicization.’ The actions, works and publications inspired by ego-centrism and self-aggrandizement, as well as the adaptation of art and cultural history to Cavellini, proved to be so successful that by the late 1970s he had become one of the leading figures of international correspondence art and mail art through his ability to circumvent ‘official art.’ His international travels led him to meet Japanese Gutai artist, Shozo Shimamoto, whom upon the occasion of Cavellini’s visit to Tokyo for a festival in his honor, shaved his head so that Cavellini could write on it. Through performances and artworks, Cavellini quite spontaneously eradicated art and life boundaries. He recycled imagery from past works, appropriated and reused other artists’ works, generated exhibition possibilities, staged live events, utilized advertising strategies, inserted fictions into real events, devised publicity stunts and celebrated silliness. Cavellini was the first artist on the LYNCH THAM roster as the gallery was partly conceived around the idea of reintroducing his work and mounting his centennial exhibition, which will be held this year from 5 November to 21 December 2014.
A recent addition to the gallery’s roster, with a scheduled exhibition for the 2014-2015 season, Italian-born, New York-based artist, Carlo Ferraris has a history of using subjects from our daily reality and removing them from it to a certain degree. While many of his photographs, sculptures and videos can be interpreted as a critique on social and cultural history, his works are always conceptual in their intent and reject any clear narrative platform of establishing meaning. The disjunction and opposition add a strange depth to the unfolding occurrences. He affects our senses and understanding in new and unexpected ways, his narrative content loaded with ambiguous irony. Ferraris’s work has found an audience in Asia Pacific through his participation in the CP Biennial in Jakarta, Indonesia, a project at the Toyota Corporation Headquarters, Melbourne, and collaboration with the Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, Australia.
Greg Kwiatek is not directly concerned with representation, although he closely approaches it. Whether painting the sun, the moon, the sky, or the seasons, his works are telling of the atmospheric and emotional qualities of his encounters with nature. They are not immediate. The delicacy of Kwiatek’s brushwork and shifts between colors allow for the surface to subtly, yet continuously, unveil. As one peers into the landscape, seascape, or sky the forms constantly change, pulling you deeper into the painted space. This movement begins to resemble the rustling trees, rolling waves, and gliding clouds.
Whether looking at his earlier images of desire, stemming from steamy 1950s illustrated covers of pulp paperbacks, his paintings of food, medicine, liquor and beer bottles, or now at his promotional fashion images, New York artist and critic Walter Robinson captures clothing, packaging and advertising styles, which give us a pop culture image bank that expands through many eras. The reference to pop art creates a mirroring effect and causes the viewer to evaluate this influence on his or her own lifestyle. His newest series of advertisements from Bergdorf Goodman, Lands’ End, Macy’s, Target and JC Penney, segment and define their audience with markers of gender, social role, season, age and youth. Robinson alerts us to the dynamic of advertisements not selling things, but selling concepts. His style, brushwork, immediacy, and post-modernist intentions are recognizable constants in his work as he uses the material world to remind us that art is culture, always with a bit of humor.