New Works by Randy Colosky opens in Gallery Hijinks this April 2012. In addition to Colosky’s solo exhibtion, the backroom of the gallery will feature Colosky’s own selection of other artists’ works. His solo exhibition features a continuation in his exploration in his “Nondeterministic Algorithm” series of seven featured ink drawings on paper. These drawings are made by drawing ellipses and rectangles repeatedly to create a free-formed vortex of architectural design, texture, and space. The opening reception will take place on April 7th, 2012 from 6pm-10pm.
In Randy Colosky’s practice he often takes an object or materials that would typically have a utilitarian purpose and alters its function to generate a new aesthetic language or optical information. For New Works, Colosky’s pen and ink drawings are made with pattern templates that are modeled after architectural templates used in drafting. The template sets up a set of rules in the drawing, however he chooses the specific direction of each iteration of the template. This allows him to actively participate in the drawing process yet he never fully comprehend what the drawing will ultimately look like. These drawings are a symbolic of Colosky’s manner of meditation in that the more he trains his mind to become aware of each moment he experiences and the changes between them, the more he finds that he is able to realize an existence that is more present in the moment and simpler to navigate.
Although trained in traditional ceramics and building construction, Colosky’s interest in process, function, and subtle wit are what drives the scope of his mediums to vary from drawing, sculpture, design, collage, and installation. For New Works his exploration in traditional means of pen and ink work is a unique direction in connection to his past works of atypical material. Yet, his process of altering the conventional usage of architectural templates allow this work to remain in the same vein of his past work and interest in challenging established visual language.
Previously based in San Francisco, Colosky now lives and works in Oakland. He received his BFA in ceramics from Kansas City Art Institute and has recently exhibited in the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. In the last few years he’s exhibited at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Incline Gallery, Adobe Books Back Room, ATA Left Window Gallery, Gallery Extrana, Ampersand International Arts, Southern Exposure, The Lab, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Hallway Bathroom Gallery, Low Gallery, Hosfelt Gallery, Savage Art Resources, White Box Gallery, and Alston Skirt Gallery, and previous publications in The Universe, the SF Chronicle, No New Enemies, and My Love For You.
New Works by Randy Colosky is on exhibit April 7th through April 28th, 2012 at Gallery Hijinks located at 2309 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94110. For more information on Randy Colosky please contact visit our media kit or email us at email@example.com.
GH: You mentioned in an interview that your current body of work is still new to you and you don’t know where it’s exactly going. Do you have a better understanding of what your work is and where it’s going than when you showed at Nudashank (November 2011)?
MC: Yes for sure. It that point I was just sourcing new imagery. The imagery has lead me to created a whole new series of collages and ink drawing I will be showing at Hijinks in Feb. Like most artist you start with a feeling, and as the work progress you have time to really think and observe your own work. I am thrilled at the direction of the new work, and feel like it is finally exposing the concepts and narrative my work only hinted at in the past.
GH: What initially drew you to collaging/mixed media?
MC: I was in grad school, and trying to redefine my work. I had given up on painting at that point and wanted another outlet. I have always loved working on paper much more than canvas. When sourcing imagery and materials for my collages, books seemed a much more interesting way to find paper than a art supply store can ever offer. It also allows me to incorporate this hunt for materials into my practice that bring me out of my studio and into the “real” world.
fragments, 2012, mixed media on found book pages, 9 x 12 inches
GH: Has using the Native American/Settlers created problems for you in any capacity?
MC: I use loaded imagery, I am well aware of it. Sometime people get hung up on singular imagery and cultural ownership of such things. I feel like its primarily based out of their fear of the unknown. This country gets extremely uncomfortable with any race/ religion/culture other than their own. I’m trying to point out where we ALL come from, and the history of mankind is singular. The goal is to form connections between modern life and the lives of the people who came before us.
Matthew Craven, speak, 2012, mixed media on found book pages, 9 x 12 inches.
GH: Is there a specific quality that you look for in your mixed media surfaces?
MC: I spend hours/ days searching for images and materials. It has become vital to my work in recent years. I am always looking for images with great aesthetic value. I look for images with vivid textures and surface. I only uses outdated textbooks for source material. these books have many properties that intrigue me. Rough/ dry paper, color deterioration and even the smell. All of my collages are constructed from resourced books. Even the blank sheets i mount my images on are taken from the front and back of old books, which typically have two blank sheets that usually are faded or stained. This gives my collages another level of historical narrative.
Matthew Crave, bust, 2012, mixed media on found book pages, 9 x 12 inches
As I try to wrap my head around the works of Scott Greenwalt I continuously find myself spiraling into a mind trip of gore, patterns and the grotesque beauty of these large scale portraits and lanscapes. In an effort to understand the artist intentions and purpose behind the works, we sat down to interview Scott and pick his brain on inspiration, process, history and the psychology of his new collection of works, Alchemist.
Gallery Hijinks: What inspired and motivated your new body of work?
Scott Greenwalt: The last 37 years of life on planet Earth.
GH: Controlled chaos seems to play a role in your paintings, where compositions flow into strange and unexpected directions. Please explain the artistic process.
SG: For quite some time I have been obsessed with depicting action in new ways. A major component of the germination of my ideas is simply time. I usually spend about six months on any one painting from start to finish. I work on several paintings at a time and spend a lot of time just sitting with them, individually as well as grouped together, looking into them to find what they need next. It’s a slow building of incremental growth and change. If everything is comprised of infinitesimal parts in constant motion, how does everything keep from intermingling? My work concerns an alternate dimension where plants, minerals, animals, electrical charges, ectoplasmic effluvium, atmospheric conditions all come together momentarily and form a new being, then move apart into reformed organisms. This process continues infinitely, without ever stabilizing.
GH: Do you have an initial idea for the piece, do you sketch or does it just flow from you in an organic way?
SG: I usually have a really vague idea at the outset what the overall form and color scheme will be. Once I actually start painting, the various components build off of one another and later weave back through each other. The paintings are generally grounded in traditional formats of landscape and portraiture. That sets up a loose structure to experiment within. Then I just make shit up as I go along.
GH: Please explain the philosophy behind the portraits? What are some of the inspirations and why?
SG: One of the initial inspirations for the large portraits were the large black and white paintings by Chuck Close. I had been fascinated with them since first seeing “Keith” as a kid at the St. Louis Art Museum. One day, about a year ago, I stood before some of his large works from the last several decades, but I could not take my eyes off one particular portrait. What captivated me was the handling of the subject’s chapped and weathered lips. The more I looked, the more broken down and abstract it appeared, comprised of jagged little triangle forms. This was before his spinal artery collapse and resulting change of approach, but there were the same things going on in those lips that manifested on a looser, more abstract level in his later work. Since I don’t work directly from reference material most of the time, I am faced with the challenge of abstracting something that didn’t exist yet. Rather than breaking down an existing image into abstract units, I am trying to herd disparate abstract units into an understandable, yet alien image.
"Keith" by Chuck Close
Francis Bacon’s work has been the richest source of inspiration and frustration. How does one go about deconstructing the nature of the human animal, modern life on earth and the history of painting in the wake of such masterful handling of the subject? This problem can keep me up at night. I also spend countless hours ruminating on the work of Hieronymus Bosch.
"Self Portrait" by Francis Bacon
"Portrait of Michel Leris" by Francis Bacon
Detail of "Christ in Limbo" by Hieronymus Bosch
Then there is my obsession with the work of special make-up effects artists Rick Baker and Rob Bottin. Growing up watching sci-fi and horror films, mostly from the 80s, was a tremendous influence on everything that I have done artistically. Bottin’s work on John Carpenter’s The Thing may have been the single biggest influence on the way I look at the world.
MIB special effects by Rick Baker
GH: How do the paper pieces with wood glue fit into the equation?
SG: I’m interested in what happens to an iconic image after the icon becomes obscured. What happens to the human face when layers build up and obscure the features beyond recognition? If the human head suffers a massive physical trauma, the swelling that results can distort and obscure the signature forms of a once recognizable face. In time, the swelling reduces, the wounds heal and the body returns to it’s normal state. Though a significant transformation has occurred, often scar tissue will be the only visible artifact of this change. With this work, I am concerned with the manufactured transformation that transpires when semi-translucent layers are built up, slowly swallowing up any distinguishing characteristics into an ectoplasmic goo, leaving the remaining robes to swaddle the amorphous slime.
Vaporous Mold Spore with Pearl Earring (after Vermeer)
GH: The dark, rich, color palate (i.e. red drapes, black backgrounds, earth tones) versus the bright, even neon colors both play an equal part in this collection. Please explain your reasons for using these very different hues and how you’ve made them work together?
SG: For the last few years I had started all of my paintings on a black background to eliminate context. They were like organisms floating within a void. Over time, this void became more densely populated and space began to form. In outer space, each chemical gas reflects a distinct color. As these organisms become more complex in ever expanding space, more chemical reactions take place, generating stranger wavelengths of light.
Seventeen Minutes Prior to This Exact Moment by Scott Greenwalt
GH: How is art history incorporated into the body of work?
SG: I think about the history of painting, it’s evolution through the centuries, and it’s contemporary potential as a relevant means of expression on a daily basis. I guess, like any revision of history, my vantage is skewed toward my own idiosyncratic aesthetic preferences. I borrow what is useful or interesting to me and generally ignore the rest.
GH: What are five words that would describe your art?
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…
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gallery Hijinks is a welcoming space for fresh and progressive art to reside. We have ventured out to create a space completely unique and genuine and are excited to introduce our own roster of emerging talent both local and international.
2309 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110