Archives: 2011 August

Point of Vision review by Hungry Hyaena

San Francisco based writer, Christopher Reiger, of Hungry Hyaena, recently reviewed Point of Vision by Gregory Ito. Beautifully written and insightful, Reiger provides a unique insight into the exhibition.

“How refreshing, then, to find Gregory Ito‘s healthy twist on the artist statement in his terrific “Point of Vision” exhibition at Gallery Hijinks. While the artist and gallery provide a press release (usually an artist statement reworked and edited by the gallery staff), Ito also includes “Sources,” a tidy stack of books on the floor, spines out so that the titles are easily read. Is “Sources” intended as a found object sculpture? Kinda sorta (after all, it’s titled, is situated among Ito’s other work, and is included on the exhibition price list, albeit “NFS”), but its principal valuable is as an alternative to the formal statement. It provides viewers with context without bullying them into a particular conclusion.”

Read the entire article here.

ALL THIS HAPPENED, MORE OR LESS opens tonight!

Check out this sweet sneak peek preview of the “ALL THIS HAPPENED, MORE OR LESS” opening tonight, August, 26th, from 6-10pm at The Popular Workshop! Artists include Chris Baird, Taha Belal, David Benzler, Nate Boyce, Jason Kalogiros, Eric Larson, Claire Nereim, Mariah Robertson, Randy Lee Sutherland and curated by Jonathan Runcio. “The exhibit evolved out of an interest in certain modes of production that stem from an initial break down or fragmentation. Through a variety of media, the artists collapse disparate sources and processes and embrace a makeshift scatter in order to introduce a renewed legibility.” Sounds good to me.

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Interview with Gregory Ito on Point of Vision, part two

How does the relationship between object and image play into this body of work?

The relationship between image and object is one that I have been battling for a long time now.  Having my background in painting I have always looked at art through the aesthetics of a painter.  Form, color, composition, and most importantly gesture.  These words were the building blocks to my artistic experience.  Functionality became a recurring discussion in my work.  I wanted my images to operate in a way that would project the relationships between the Sun, Moon, and Earth and their connection to our ideas of day, night, and twilight.  But traditionally an image can only operate on a wall, confronting the viewer into a specific way of experiencing an artist’s creation and the ideas that support the work.  This seemed so stale and confining that I started to experiment with creating objects. These objects project the same ideas as my paintings, but contain an unseen ability to be looked at in a new light.  Objects can be embraced, contain a heavier sense of gravity, and can hold additional functions.  This was when I started to create objects, and portraits of the objects.  Installations became object collage and, my images expanded from painting into photography.  I owe my practice to the duality between object and image.  The struggle I have between the two will probably never end, but the presence of this struggle is one that I treasure and revere.

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You have created a extremely cohesive body of work yet achieved this by working in more mediums then ever before. How did the additional use of photography and sculpture effect your process?

Through the years of enveloping my life in art I have found the segregation of mediums to become more and more troublesome.  The way artists are categorized into separate mediums and how this is a major factor to the programming of many galleries and museums.  I started to work with sculptures a few years ago while I was living in Oakland.  It was recently after I graduated SFAI and instead of going on a trip to Europe I blew my saving on a painting studio, and numerous tools for my wood shop garage.  I went crazy and never left my house, making hundreds of panels all different sizes and shapes, and objects that I though looked interesting and referenced different diagrams and charts I saw in science books.  It was at this point I began to make sculpture.  In “Point of Vision” there are a couple of minimalist sculptures titled “Time Diagram” (A and B) which are accompanied by portraits of the objects.  An image and an object who share the same function of expressing the continuous looping of day, night, sunrise, and sunset.  Photography is a more recent endeavor.  I have always carried around a point and shoot 35mm camera that I shoot throughout my adventures.  A lot of the concepts engrained in my work stem from the photos I take, and many of them I look at every day in my house.  I wanted to show people these images that fuel my practice and relationship with the outside world.  This is seen most clearly in the installation “Self Portrait” in the front window of Gallery Hijinks that contains a long list of items such as Hawaian print folding chair, various textiles, knit bag, three Negro Modelo bottles, candle, numerous sketchbooks, sunglasses, sandals,  cloud print tatami mat, Los Angeles ashtray, Camel Light cigarette, Moroccan match box, and 28 6”x4” color photos on wood display.  If you haven’t seen the show I recommend you see it in person.  Experiencing art live is much better then through the computer screen.

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Your work has always touched on very universal concepts and as a result creates a message that anyone in the world can relate to and appreciate. What specifically would you like viewers to take away from this exhibition?

My only hope for this show is for people to walk away with a new understanding of the time that we use during our existence.  To see beyond the day by day and internalize the larger spectrum of life, exposing our true individual reasons to live.  I also want people to see what I’ve been making recently during the expansion of my artistic practice and enjoy the collaboration of different mediums in the work.

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As a co-owner of Ever Gold Gallery and co-founder/editor of the San Francisco Arts Quarterly (SFAQ), you have had the luxury of working with some very progressive artists, curators and galleries. Who has influenced and inspired you in this last year?

Through these two endeavors I have been able to work closely with some of the most inspiring people I have ever met.  I have been able to speak to some of the most influential people in my artist career.  To be honest, every person I have worked with and still work with inspire me to continue what I’m doing.  To see the motivation and drive that others have in their artistic endeavors keep me working forward in the realms of art.  Many of the artists at Ever Gold are close friends who I used to share studio space with and have classes with.  Owen Takabayashi, Erik Wilson, Evan Nesbit and Chris Ritson (SFAI graduates) are a few artists I really enjoy speaking with about art.  Another good friend who showed at the Ever Gold is Korakrit Arunanondochai who is currently attending Columbia for his MFA.  He a good friend and artist I have an ongoing dialogue with that has helped steer my practice in the direction I am currently taking.  He is a very talented artist himself and I know he will be doing great things in the future.  SFAQ has connected me with inspirational people like Jamie Alexander and Derek Song from Park Life who’s input I value very much.  Our conversations about art are always very interesting and connect most closely to the kind of work I am creating now.  And lastly Andrew McClintock, by business partner is one individual I spend most of my days with working on SFAQ and Ever Gold.  We work hard, play hard, and handle business.  I value the working relationship we have, and everyday in the gallery and office is one step forward to accomplishing our goals.

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Interview with Gregory Ito on Point of Vision, part one

“I’ve always been a believer in the idea that if you can’t explain something in simple terms then it is likely that you don’t fully understand it. After viewing the exhibition Point of Vision at Gallery Hijinks, it is clear as day that Gregory Ito has a deep understanding of the concepts driving his newest body of work. The exhibition is a culmination of a big idea with modest expectations, executed simply, interestingly and beautifully. The depth and range of Gregory Ito’s work reaches past the breakers, well beyond the horizon and into the twilight.”- L. Lanzisero

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Gallery Hijinks: What has motivated you to devote your life to art?

Gregory Ito: My innate love and participation in “art” stems from where I grew up, Venice, Los Angeles, a very vibrant and energetic beach community in southern California.  Its a funky, strange place to be raised where the boardwalk lifestyle is one that will never end.  The boardwalk is over flowing with street performers of all kinds, weed toking hippies, skaters, surfers, gangsters, junkies, and of course millions of tourists.  Venice is known for its artist community.  Many great artists have worked in studios in Venice like Chris Burden, Jean Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha, and Robert Irwin.  This was very exciting for me to know that the area that I grew up in is an inspirational and productive place for artists that I enjoy and admire.  Many of the common themes in my work is rooted in the ephemeral moments of twilight and it’s intimate connection to both night and day.  Spending my days watching the sun set over the oceanic horizon line is an anchor to my drifting artistic practice.  It is quite amazing to see the Sun that spends most of its day high in sky, fall gracefully and merge with the world we are all a part of.  There was one summer I spent every day at the beach and would see the sunset and be enveloped in time’s constant progression forward into the future.  This could only be done by living so close to the beach.  It was the majority of my life in Venice that conditioned my longing to create, present, and support all forms of art.

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robert-irwin photo-credit-philipp-scholz-rittermannRobert Irwin, photo credit Philipp Scholz Rittermann

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GH: Your art has a very visually meditative quality to it. In your artist statement you speak about “sacred spaces” does religion or divinity play a role in the concepts you are developing?

GI: I have never thought of myself as a religious person.  My closest moments in my life to religion were the very infrequent times I went to my local Buddhist temple, not to pray, but to participate with my Japanese American community in West Los Angeles.  I was pretty young, like in elementary school.  I would sit there looking at the shrine’s symmetrical orientation, the ornate decorations and flower arrangements, and the strong smell of incense that was burned every single day of the temple’s existence.  It was during these early years in my life where I saw and internalized the importance of the “sacred” in everyones life.  It didn’t matter what religion you are, but knowing that everyone is somehow trying to connect with the unknown qualities that are very present in life.  We are all on a quest for understanding and happiness, and it is this quest that we are all pursuing but using different methods and tempo.  For me, my path to understanding and happiness is driven by my obsession to make work that important to me and allows to me grow and expand the horizon of my human consciousness.  The concepts that have developed through the years of my artistic practice are rooted in the human spiritual connection that every individual has with our surrounding.  It is a sacred and human ability that we all have to connect with our world on new levels.  We must all cherish this gift.

Gregory Ito Installation

GH: What role does material play in your work?

GI: During the majority of my artistic career, I have been pushing paint on wood surfaces.  Originally trained as a painter I was very comfortable with this idea.  I didn’t really look beyond the edges of my panels.  But soon I felt trapped by the boundaries that became more apparent in my practice.  Most of the work I enjoyed looking at weren’t even paintings. They all involved a large amount of laborious installation.  Soon I began to create architectural spaces that housed the monumental ideas I engrain into my paintings.  Installation became my new haven.  The paintings I made were shown in shrine like constructions, enriching the collection of work with the heavy presence of the “sacred”. Very soon after that I branched out and merged various mediums and materials to my practice bringing sculpture, photography, painting, installation, and video all under one umbrella of my studio practice.  Every component to an installation has an intention and operation that can be expressed best through determined materials and methods of art making.  There are just too many materials in the world to neglect the infinite possibilities that are available to artists.  Opening my practice to various materials and forms of making has given me a life changing sense of creative freedom.  I am an artist and I mold my outside world through a life without boundaries.

Collection by Gregory ItoCollection by Gregory Ito

A-Gesture-of-the-Moon's-Boundless-PresenceDetail shot of A Gesture of the Moon’s Boundless Presence by Gregory Ito

GH: In what ways do you think our current technology has changed or altered our perception of time?

GI: The age of technology is one that is very progressive in one way yet very degressive in another.  Technology is progressive because it has developed new ways of sharing information and human experience.  A universal way to exchange information has evolved from sending a physical letter or package to a digitized email or condensed file that can contain an infinite amount of information.  We can share our lives with others and our personal identity is transferred onto a social networking platform that is weightless and invisible beyond the computer screen.  The internet is now the collective consciousness of human kind, and the memory bank for all of history and thoughts for the future. But life cannot truly be experienced through the internet.  The age of technology is degressive because we share information that has become broken down into pixels and a units of digital memory.  It is a recreation of the real.  We relive moments through images that are are very distant from the actual experience. We become more dissonant from the true human connections with the world around us, by spending our time in front of a computer or television screen.  Time is spent in a new light, one that warps our relationship with the eternal sequences seen in time.  We are no longer guided by our surroundings, we are guided by the development of new technologies to suite all of our needs to survive as a species.  Nobody looks to the skies to understand the time we spend on this planet anymore.  We all look at our calendar grids, fill them with things to do, and don’t venture outside the box very often.  Our time is now spent plugged in, online, and with the ticking clock in the top corners of our desktops that we all abide to.

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Gallery will be closed this week

Hey ya’ll the gallery will be closed this week due to a video shoot. If you’d like to schedule a viewing of the Point of Vision exhibition please email us at info@galleryhijinks.com.

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SF Weekly write-up on Beau Stanton

SF Weekly did a blog post today on some of the pieces in Beau Stanton‘s upcoming exhibition, Sanguine Machine. Here’s a little quote from the article, you can read the entire post on the SF Weekly website here.

When it comes to surrealism, we can’t help but moon over artists who produce such detailed and complex pieces that we think to ourselves “Holy guacamole, what am I even looking at?” It’s astounding what the human mind is capable of transferring onto a canvas, just take Beau Stanton’s 19th century letterpress-inspired paintings.

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The Atomic Artists

How one group of artists is challenging Japan’s unusually strong faith in nuclear power, read more here.

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

Artist Interview: Beau Stanton

In a recent interview with New York based artist Beau Stanton, we sat down to ask him a few questions about his upcoming solo exhibition  titled Sanguine Machine, opening this September at Gallery Hijinks. As apprentice to the father of Popaganda, this artist classifies his own art as Neo-Ornamentalist-Subjective-Realism. What does that mean? Keep reading…

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Photo credit: Ron English

Gallery Hijinks: “One of the most prolific and recognizable artists alive today, Ron English has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images, on the street, in museums, in movies, books and television. English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history.”-popaganda.com How has your mentorship with Ron English helped shape your artistic style, process and focus?

Beau Stanton: I gained a better understanding of what it takes to create a compelling image. Working with Ron also woke me up to the reality of how much one actually has to work to be successful as a painter. Sadly, he put to rest the romantic idea of the sleeping-in drinking all day “artist’s lifestyle.”

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GH: Please describe the process of making one of your paintings?

BS: I begin with a drawing that establishes the overall composition. Next, I lay out the design elements in collage or photoshop or a combination of both. The drawing and designs are then combined into a single silk screen that is used to transfer the entire under drawing. After a simple underpainting I go on to render everything in oil paint.

beau stanton in the studioPhoto credit: Bold Hype

GH: What is the inspiration for “Sanguine Machine: Antediluvian Artifacts from Futures Past” and how does it play out in the work for the show?

BS: Any kind of pre-modern architecture, ornamentation, letterpress printing, or decayed infrastructure serves as an inspiration. Lately I’ve been exploring abandoned 19th century sites around the NYC area to collect photo reference and artifacts for my paintings. You can see a few of these adventures on my blog here.

Exploring Glenwood Power Station

GH: We can’t help but appreciate the contrasts between your use of destructive or violent imagery (such as guns or mushroom clouds) and their ornate and romantic environments. Are there any concepts behind this?

BS: A main idea at work in this show has to do with the end of a cycle and how beauty can be found in the degradation. I like to think of it as an optimist’s approach to the apocalypse.

Reason Sleeps by Beau StantonReason Sleeps

GH: If you lived in the victorian era what would you like your job to be (besides a painter)?

BS: Letterpress printer, a Baron, or both.

GH: If two unfamiliar viewers were to spark up a conversation about your work, what do you think they would talk about? What would you want them to take away from the collection?

BS: I like it when two people have completely different interpretations of a painting. If I’m able to raise interesting questions without over stating the concepts behind the work I’ve done my job well.

Mushroom Cloud by Beau Stanton

GH: How do you use symbolism in your work? Are there any lessons for the viewer?

BS: One of the main themes of this body of work is how visual symbols can be iconic and accessible, yet esoteric in meaning. I like to provide visual touchstones for the viewer with the iconic while also allowing room for complex concepts to be interpreted.

GH: Can you explain the aesthetic choices you make in your pieces? For example, why choose to place a fanned pattern in the corner versus in the center of the composition. Are these choices planned or impulsive?

BS: These decisions can be impulsive or planned. Overall layout is mostly an intuitive process but there are also situations where I aim to create tension or a point of focus which requires more strategic design.

Contrived View by Beau StantonContrived View

GH: How long have you been painting? Please talk about your creative history.

BS: I was born to creative and visually inclined parents who encouraged the art thing. I’ve been paintings since I was 10 and been drawing since I can remember. Later I moved on to work in a variety of media including darkroom photography, sculpture, and every kind of paint imaginable. During and after school I worked as a freelance illustrator. I relocated to New York after college and started curating pop-up exhibitions while working for Ron English.

GH: How has your artistic path shaped the person you are today?

BS: It’s forced me to look for the lowest interest rates on credit cards.

Sanguine Machine new works by Beau Stanton

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On Exhibit: September 3rd– September 24th, 2011

Opening Reception: September 3rd, 2011 from 6-11pm

Gallery Hijinks is proud to present Sanguine Machine: Antediluvian Artifacts from Futures Past, a solo exhibition by Beau Stanton. This collection of paintings is heavily influenced by the relationship between destruction and creation, the end of a cycle, and the beauty that can be found in its degradation. Please join us for the opening reception on September 3rd, 2011 from 6-10pm.

In Sanguine Machine Beau Stanton takes an optimist’s approach to the apocalypse.  He explores the dynamic between graphic iconography and classicism, juxtaposing destructive imagery with the aesthetic excess of Victorianism. The collection provides visual touchstones for the viewer through iconic symbols that hold esoteric meaning revealing a complex narrative.

The work combines classical oil painting with intricate silkscreen patterns inspired by pre-modern architecture, ornamentation, letterpress printing designs, and decayed infrastructure. In search for historical reference, Stanton begins his artistic process by exploring abandoned 19th century sites around the greater New York City area. He collects photos and artifacts from these places to create a foundation for a compelling image. The initial drawing and designs are combined into single silk screens that are used to formulate the composition.  After the ornate environments are completed, he then goes on to render the entire piece in oil paint. Combining letterpress designs with masterful oil painting techniques, Stanton manipulates focus, light and perspective.

A member of the third generation of Pop Surrealism, Stanton hails from California and is influenced heavily by Realist painters Andrew Wyeth and Alphonse Mucha as well as the Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th Century. He relocated to New York after graduation in 2008, and has since been mentored by New York Pop Surrealist Ron English. He has also curated pop-up exhibitions in both New York and Los Angeles and has shown work with Ad Hoc Art, Opera New York, and Last Rites Galleries.

Sanguine Machine: Antediluvian Artifacts from Futures Past opens September 3rd and runs through September 24th, 2011 and is open to the public. For more information on the exhibition or Beau Stanton please visit galleryhijinks.com or email us at info@galleryhijinks.com

Point Of Vision: Opening Reception Photos

Thanks to all of you who made it out to the Point of Vision opening reception! We had a blast and hope you did as well. Congratulations to Gregory Ito, his work looks amazing in our space. Check it out!

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Gallery Hijinks · 2309 Bryant Street · San Francisco, CA 94110-2810
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