At Market Art + Design Hamptons Art Fair 2021, Burgess Modern + Contemporary presents a curatorial presentation titled: Language & interpretation, which includes artwork by Andy Warhol, Jedd Novatt, Damien Hirst, Tom Wesselmann, Eric Fischl, Retna, and Gabriel Delgado.
In Language & interpretation, Burgess Modern + Contemporary academically establishes a cumulative selection with artists who conceptually explore academic discourse of dimensional truths, human portrayal, icons, and social events.
From linguistical explorations through the PEMDAS Mathematical Order of Operations to Graffiti Codices, and from Iconic Symbolism to Pop Art propaganda, Language & interpretation instills a sense of elevated scholarly aptitude toward contemporary art discussions. This curated assortment confirms that universal language is understood through a complex analysis of environmental awareness - Posture vs. Perception, Recognition, Decoding, Understanding, Appreciating, and Accepting. Each artist in the selection brings a unique style to this silent volubleness.
Eric Fischl’s sublimations on mylar with pins and digital pigment prints on paper give an artistic approach to the thesis of human portrayals. Fischl explores the psyche of interpretation- of how we see ourselves versus the image we portray to those around us. He emphasizes this in the stacked translucent layers of images. The artworks are interpreted narratives that focus on the characters in the story.
Ever-present is Fischl’s disconnection of the characters in a society that does not support the collective. There is a selfless pose that is contradicted by an external posture. Body language reads louder than the internal dialogue of the mind’s constant chatter of self. In the artwork, how we perceive our own actions might not adequately reflect the reality of a dominant disposition seen by others.
In Men in Water, Fischl’s almost-nude subjects' bare large amounts of skin, leaving them vulnerable and unclothed with nothing to hide, frolicking in confidence, showing their core’s truth - an exposure deemed defenseless. In Man Woman and Boy, the ocean breeze flutters the blouse of the woman, while the boy off to the left of the composition is enjoying the innocence of a day at the beach. Their relations are unknown, and this duly creates plots and tales foretold only by the viewing audience, making elaborate connections when none might not exist. The audiences’ role connects the subjects in a visual approach while the artist’s physical layers of transparent mylar build physical levels to the storyline. We earnestly strive to connect and find relations with those around us, and Fischl gives us that ability.
Andy Warhol’s dichotomy of authority and leadership is most evident in his subject matter, the opposites, Democracy vs. Dictator. By displaying these two together, New River Fine Art reinforces the recognizable pop iconology we have all come to know as Andy Warhol. While we can read into the contexts of each character, the step away from politics is evident through the de-arming of these portraits through the mechanical means of production.
Andy Warhol’ Mao is based on the official portrait of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong (1893-1976), that was illustrated on the cover of the widely circulated 1966 publication Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, also known as the Little Red Book. Party members were strongly encouraged to carry a copy with them as it contained the foundations of Maoist ideology.
Uncle Sam can best be summed up by Andy Warhol himself with a famous quote, “Everybody has their own America, and then they have pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there, but they can’t see,” he says. “You live in your dream America that you’ve custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your real one.”
The two of ten silkscreens, in Warhol’s Myths collection showcase a variety of fictional characters, from Uncle Sam to Santa Claus and Superman, that Warhol viewed as essential components of American culture.
Rigidly structured formalist notions of minimalism, non-representational art, and geometric identities sit quietly nestled in the negative / positive spaces within Jedd Novatt’s sculptures, monumental public art installations, as well as the Kármán Line monotype print series. Novatt is an artist often examined through constraining connotations of chaos theories, equilibriums, discernments of balance, and negative space.
However, there is much more to explore throughout his signatory linear aesthetic.
Within the seemingly infinite perceptional tower of upward expansion, spatial relations, and limitless boundaries — lies a metaphorically erected inner voice and self-reliant artistic vocabulary that has cemented a very substantial foundation developed and inspired by varied conceptual elements; ranging from seemingly Geodesic dome theories of stability and structure, Cycladic Art, Johann Sebastian Bach, and ephemeral transcendence through materiality, to theoretical and academic familiarities with a plethora of scholarly and studious focusses; art or otherwise.
Novatt is hyperaware of the dynamic of “spatial vibrations” that his artwork disseminates into the cosmic heavens but pulls back with methodical force to constrain the materiality, and pontificates on “space as form” with a clear discernment for perceived as well as physical balance.
Kármán Line monotypes solidify integral conjectures of atmospheric and altitudinal dimensions manoeuvring beyond the ocular to a more astomatous reality.
In the verisimilitude of our everyday, the real definition of the demarcated Kármán Line does not unexpectedly conclude at any given elevation within Earth’s atmosphere, but the air does become progressively thinner within a definitive environmental apex, making it an arbitrary definition in man’s rudimentary scientific exploration.
Novatt sees the towering physical presence of his installations, and monotypes as exploring various concepts of scale. This scale, undefined integrity that resonates absolutes, reaches toward the infinite through systematic arrangements of artistic drawings, heavily weighted by steel or conceptual in their existence of the undefined metaphysical.
Heart and Butterfly spin paintings by Damien Hirst are visual excerpts from a public participation venture that Hirst contributed to for the opening of Requiem, which was a major retrospective of over 100 works, by the artist, dating from 1990 to 2008. Requiem opened on April 25, 2009, at PinkchukArtCentre, Ukraine. During the public opening ceremonies, the artist hosted a spin art workshop, allowing museumgoers to participate in the artmaking process on various shaped paper. Two universally understood symbols, the heart and butterfly, bring a playful sense to his sometimes-offensive visual vocabulary. Stylistically painted in the home-craft, spin art technique, Hirst brings this aesthetic to the blue-chip, museum-quality art world.
Known as the “bad boy’ of the artwork, Hirst’s business sense has enabled him to manoeuvre into investment opportunities that involved his own art, as well as launch financing prospects to the public; most notable in his 10,000 N.F.T. drops of July 2021.
Heart and Butterfly both bear the “Hirst” stamped signature, and the accompanying inscription that reads: “This painting was made to celebrate the opening of Damien Hirst, Requiem, at the PinchukArtCentre.”
In Tom Wesselmann’s Still Life with Lilies and Mixed Fruit, and Still Life with Matisse and Johns he effortlessly showcases his determination to reject all notions of Abstract Expressionism. Known more for his nude series, these shaped swatches of bold and bright colors provide minimalist environments for everyday objects. Bowls of fruit, flowers, and framed portraits are simplistically rendered voiding any notion of emotion. Flat with defined contours, images exist in the plainest ways possible, yet striking in their banality. In Still Life with Matisse and Johns he gives accolades to contemporary and modern art masters - Henri Matisse and Jasper Johns. The visual shout-out is more veiled than obvious. The title directs the viewer to decipher the image clues and make the connect to the aspects of Art History. These two artworks are sizable screen-prints on paper that explode with vibrancy.
RETNA is an American street artist known for his unique typography and letterforms where each block of text is a sophisticated system of script, culled from hieroglyphs, calligraphy and illuminated lettering. With influences ranging from Arabic, Egyptian, Hebrew, Old English, and Native American mythologies, RETNA's unique vocabulary communicates a particular narrative. In his cryptic words, letters, and messages, he reflects aspects of a harsh reality of urban life. Yet he is in tuned to a sophisticated and metaphysical connectedness that draws inspiration from poignant relevance of historical cannons. RETNA employs ancient totemic symbologies as a baseline, overlaid with rhythms he perceives as compartmentalized sequences of letters to hypothetically vocalize significances deemed important enough to manifest into being. RETNA was born in Los Angeles, from El Salvadorian, Cherokee, Spaniard and African American bloodlines.
Kiss 88, a 72 x 72-inch oil and mixed media on canvas painting not only exhibits elements of Retna’s coded alphabet but introduces new contemporary materials and techniques. Colored tape weaved within, above, and under the mark-making adds a raised element to the surface while adding notes of audacious decisions.
Gabriel Delgado creates themed artwork that explores aspects of contemporary social and political events, ranging from Police Brutality, Animal Rights, Environmental Rights, Science, Economy, Immigration, Social Reform, and other relevant topics. His PEMDAS driven, and conceptually solvable Order of Operations mathematical equations bring to light the elegance of numerical and text-driven logic via an expressive scientific chalkboard aesthetic.
In X-Press Pearl, a minimalistic conceptual drawing by Delgado describes in detail the demise of the Singapore-registered container ship. He describes through his own language of solvable mathematics, the fateful day of May 20, 2021, when the X-Press Pearl caught fire and eventually sank off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The numerical equation walks the viewer through the spilling of the ship’s 378 tons of oil, 25 tons of nitric acid, and 171,000 pounds of low-density plastic pellets. Defined, bold and black numbers in the drawing illustrate the disastrous reality of the ongoing environmental catastrophe- 176 turtles, 20 dolphins, 4 whales, and thousands of fish dead. The incident as described by the media, government sources, as well as Delgado deemed this event the worst marine ecological disaster in Sri Lankan history.
“Beyonce Knowles Whitewashing”, introduces an element of pop culture into an otherwise political landscape. Delgado goes into detail the controversial narrative of L’Oreal, and Elle Australia Magazine being accused of whitewashing’ Beyonce Knowles’s skin by digitally lightening her flesh tone for the cover, editorial content, and ads within the publication. The arithmetical calculation details how the editor was forced by the publisher to photoshop and lighten the model’s skin. It is stated in the media as well as the drawing, that the magazine’s cover does not feature Asians, plus-sized models, pregnant people, models with freckles, red heads, and dark-skinned minorities. Delgado takes a stance by vocalizing that this type of institutional whitewashing not only reveals the racist and negative reinforcements of societal norms, but it is perceived by many as a betrayal of trust against all black women who see Beyonce as a positive role model for the African American population.
Burgess Modern + Contemporary’s Language & interpretation presents an exhibition that requires the full attention of the viewer, while creating opportunity to facilitate discussions on a multitude of subjects from academia to politics, and the cosmos to humankind.