Bigfoot is a California based nature loving artist, and has been an influence in the skateboard industry for more than 2 decades. Originally from New Jersey, Bigfoot fled to San Francisco to be closer to big trees and the Grateful Dead. In 1994 he began writing "Bigfoot" in the streets of San Francisco with relentless fury. Bigfoot has done everything from designing skateboard graphics, vinyl figures, and footwear, to collaborations with The North Face, and showing in galleries in the United States and Japan. His work depicts the conflict between the respect for nature by the cast of Bigfoot's characters and the destructive agenda of mankind.
When Hilma af Klint began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, and untethered from any recognizable references to the physical world. It was years before Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and others would take similar strides to rid their own artwork of representational content. Yet while many of her better-known contemporaries published manifestos and exhibited widely, af Klint kept her groundbreaking paintings largely private. She rarely exhibited them and, convinced the world was not yet ready to understand her work, stipulated that it not be shown for twenty years following her death. Ultimately, her work was all but unseen until 1986, and only over the subsequent three decades have her paintings and works on paper begun to receive serious attention.
As the title suggests, Full Circle, provides Schoultz the opportunity to re-examine his diverse visual lexicon, including motifs and symbols that originate from his earliest artistic endeavors, some reaching as far back as childhood. These personal emblems take on new roles in the context of Schoultz’s fine art practice. Symbols such as castles, all-seeing eyes, and serpents, together explore cyclical patterns and power structures in history. Recalling themes of war, natural disasters and globalization, the works combine his icons with his visual style characterized by densely layered compositions and expressive line work. As is the case with the majority of Schoultz’s oeuvre, the works here evoke narrative and inspire conversation. The artist points to his themes, though allows the viewer to reach his or her own conclusions.
For this current body of work, Schoultz redirects his focus to explore formal elements of painting such as composition, depth, and color. One of the most evident aspects we see here is the artist’s intense use of gradient color in circular compositions. Each band of color, emanating from a shared point, appears to extend infinitely beyond the canvas, recalling radio waves. Schoultz modernizes the familiar 1928 RKO Radio Pictures icon, which shows a radio tower at the top of the world with clear, circular bands of broadcast waves. Applying this iconic image to the present, Schoultz replaces the tower with an eye, as these new bands take on a different role in our world that is saturated with digital information and surveillance. Schoultz creates a sense of depth by applying a coat of resin between layers of paint, juxtaposing the expressive hand-painted concentric circles with the sleek surface of the resin. The artist’s application of color here, is both symbolic and formal, as the gradients change from dark to light, while expanding the artist’s palette. Breaking away from his own traditions, the artist here has given himself the freedom to experiment with bright neons and striking color combinations, exploring new directions and possibilities for his practice.
Reading the real book in the age of technology and internet may look rare and a kind of old fashioned, but not for me.
The story of my passion about books started many years ago. My father had a big collection of books: fiction, illustrated encyclopedias, art books. I`d lose myself for days in our library when i was a child. Now after many years i collect books as well. I collect rare antique art books from all over the world.
This mural “Spirit of antique book“ i dedicated to all book lovers. It represents the wonderful way to escape from ordinary life to extraordinary worlds, and depicts that magic moment when you read the book, and lose yourself between the pages.
Qualia - The internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena. What it is like to taste a specific apple, this particular apple now.
This showcase of artwork features original paintings, drawings, and limited edition screen prints. Justin Lovato will create an immersive installation in the gallery inviting observers to feel absorbed into his radiant and detailed works. His art is inspired by natural landscapes that filter through his unique lens, producing psychedelic scenes where alternate dimensions are revealed in familiar places. His most recent body of work embodies the energy of the natural world through one’s subjective perceptions, attempting to capture the momentary connectivity found within the boundless limits of experiential perception.
Each artist takes the viewer on a transcendent journey, exploring and utilizing elements of the natural world as points of departure. Moses’s symphonic interplay of line and color react to the geological world, sometimes bringing to mind other-worldly landscapes, magmatic pooling or primal seas. Stark’s works often resemble fantastical organic and geologic structures and are suffused with charged, undulating layers and patterns that often mirror the unexpected, implausible designs found in nature. Brookes combines his knowledge of biochemistry and cognitive science to create bright, intricately expansive paintings that draw inspiration from the shapes of drug compounds, molecular structures and the sense of hallucinogenic states that they can induce to heighten the viewer’s sensory perceptions. Words and images via William Turner Gallery.
Well known for his work in drawing and collage using found images from earlier eras, Craven argues for a flattening of imagery and sources, while paradoxically causing astute viewers to pause and wonder at each specific reference. Consistently working with printed materials – encyclopedias, textbooks, and movie posters from the 1950s through the 1970s – his works share a unified physicality: all matte images with a certain color cast, on the verso of equally yellowed posters. In turn, the artist chooses a strict color scheme for each new body of work, and in “EMPIRE(s)” the palette is composed of warm reds, forest greens, royal blues, and golden browns, stemming from antiquity and traditional textiles. Organic and biomorphic patterns and shapes are inspired by Bulgarian weavings, an evolution from the artist’s tighter more geometric work.
Craven’s imagery has evolved to embrace the handmade aesthetic of weaving, embroidery, jewelry, and textiles into his already bursting lexicon of monumental antiquity. This is also reflected in the use of pattern, which successfully integrates motifs from sources as diverse as ancient Greek vases, the yin yang, Native American textiles, or antique mosaics. As Leslie Jones explains in her essay in the artist’s first monograph, PRIMER, “Craven often repeats images within his compositions, which, while alluding to the reproductive quality of his source material, also evoke a sort of linguistic system or code. This reference to language is particularly interesting, since that is exactly what Craven leaves on the cutting room floor, so to speak. What he removes is the text or, in his words, the ‘Western dictation of history.’ Craven’s pictorial revision of global art history is based largely on formal similarities across time, space, and cultures (not to mention the availability of materials and his own unique aesthetic sensibility)—what he describes simply as “things made by man.” While a critique of Western imperialism is implied in his process, the work also summons universal notions of humankind’s shared impulse to create.”
In “ostentatious”, Craven references crowns, and pieces with titles like “sovereign”, “authority”, “expansion”, and “opulence” are a timely exploration of darker aspects of the seemingly universal occurrence of strongmen and their insatiable requirements for visual adulation. In “wisdom”, “authority”, and “ornate”, Craven uses a singular head, suggestive of a king or deity, with an imposing stare and air of supremacy that demands deference from the rest of the artwork, and by extension, our gaze. We are meant to be in awe, and yet, by realigning the cultural context of each leader, and extracting it from its spatial necessity to impose, whether in a textbook or in situ, Craven disengages the image’s power, while still participating in its aesthetic allure. Words and images via Asya Geisberg Gallery.
Reminiscent of luminary painters like Agnes Pelton, Georgia O’Keeffe and Judy Chicago as well as Light and Space artists such as Robert Irwin and James Turrell, Hollowell’s geometric ephemeral and meditative new works expand on previous depictions of sexual acts. For the first time, the pieces presented in Dominant / Recessive deal with thoughts surrounding conception.
“This new body of work considers the act of trying to conceive as well as conception itself. By layering the concerns of painting on top of hand sculpted bodily surfaces, these shapely forms exist in a space between the illusoriness of painting and dimensionality of sculpture. The more time I spend with these paintings, the more I realise how real, physical and complex this liminal space can become. To put the thoughts I have, about trying to conceive and becoming pregnant into my painting / sculpting language is an invitation to embrace the physicality and otherworldliness of that primal sexual act.” - Loie Hollowell, 2018.
Originating in subjective experiences, Hollowell’s vibrant works abstract the most intimate and sexually explicit elements of the human anatomy into shapes that reappear frequently throughout art history. For example, Hollowell uses the almond-shaped mandorla, found in medieval religious painting, as an abstract representation of the vagina. She also uses the lingam, a symbol of divine generative energy worshiped as a symbol of Shiva, as an abstracted representation of the penis.
Before embarking on each of her paintings, Hollowell carefully works with soft pastel on paper to test out various combinations of colour, shading, and forms. She builds upon flat linen-covered panels by applying shapes carved from high-density foam that are then sealed with a mixture of sawdust and acrylic medium. Once these sculpted linen panels have reached a perfectly smooth, undulating surface, Hollowell begins to apply oil paint. Through her experimentation with colour and chiaroscuro, Hollowell creates images that play with ideas of foreground and background, figure and ground, instilling poetry and an ethereal sense of light and volume.
Words and images via Pace Gallery
Drawing great attention to the unremarkable calls into question what can be considered precious and worthy of investigation. Taking the form of drawings, sculptures, and installations, my work is rooted in observation- an homage to the delicate structures that are so woven into our everyday experience they are often rendered invisible. Materials, separated from their original function, are used to reveal unexpected connections and often drive the concept behind a given work. By dissecting, duplicating and mimicking the objects, underlying patterns and organizing systems that make up the backdrop of our lives, I seek to expose a universal fabric that binds us all. (Words and images via Visions West Contemporary)
Recognized for his refined pastel color palette that often depicts serene California landscapes, Maxwell’s work engages viewers through hypnotic subtle imagery. In his surreal landscapes, the artist often employs the image of a tall skinny palm tree, an iconic symbol of California romanticism. Other paintings see the occasional appearance of planes, people or tranquil puffy clouds resembling silhouettes of recognizable figures. With all of his work, Maxwell finds a composed compositional balance, a skill he has an instinctive knack for and is a defining characteristic of his practice. For Down to Earth at Public Land, the artist will be showing all new works along with a site-specific installation. Maxwell graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and has had solo exhibitions at Gallery Nucleus in Portland, OR and at The Standard Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA. He has been included in a long list of group exhibitions and has painted several public murals, one outdoor large-scale project most recently commissioned by Dropbox.
Words and images via Public Land
The term Mother Lode can refer to a both a principal vein of ore, and a rich source, both of which conjure something valuable. Furr’s work references the feminine archetype, which she seeks to restore by working against the current phallocentric age and issuing in a new yonic era. If a phallic signifier points to action, explosion, and fortitude, a yonic signifier points to the subconscious, the sublime, and the cosmic void. A phallus points outward, a yonis inward. If the phallic is physical, the yonic is celestial. It is a portal into the dark unknown.
The paintings are small but impactful. Oil paint is slathered on with thick maneuvers, yet is controlled and detailed in its execution. Compositions are tight with objects bouncing off the edges as a way to create object to space tension. The small size of the work asks the viewer to move closer to create an intimate experience.
Furr grew up on the Midwestern prairie and that landscape influences her choices in painting. The daytime colors of gold, cerulean, yellow and white oppose the nighttime colors of emerald, indigo and black. The enormous starry skies offered her a glimpse into the vastness of the universe.Through the small window of her paintings, Furr disassembles symbols from patriarchal systems to show the female aspect breaking through. (Words and images via Sargent's Daughters Gallery)
The geometric patterns of Santa Fe converge with beautiful landscapes in Matthew Mullins' oil paintings. Mullins is deeply influenced by the interconnection of human consciousness and the natural world. By placing these weaving and geometric patterns over landscapes, Mullins wills us to think not only about the natural world but also the web or path we follow within it. For this reason, he will often incorporate natural materials, like Mica, into his paintings. (Words and images via Vision West Contemporary)
The title of the exhibition, The unspeakable openness of things, is a phrase that philosopher Timothy Morton uses when describing art and it resonates strongly with the artist. Eliasson describes how “Art exists both in and beyond the realm of language. Before the form of an artwork emerges, there’s a not-quite-graspable feeling that flows into the artistic process – and that remains in the finished work as something that cannot be fully expressed. At the same time, the artwork is fundamentally open to visitors. It is ready to listen to them, and able to host their questions and experiences.”
As Yan Shijie observes, “Like the leader of a think-tank, Eliasson uses art to protect, vocalize, and inspire consensus and action from the perspective of climate and civilization. He navigates the depth of time, changing light and shadow, advocates dialogue between man and nature, and practices the philosophy of harmony between heaven and humanity. Every piece of work by Eliasson is carefully presented in this exhibition to reveal new tension and dimensions to the artist’s oeuvre. He may have one hundred ideas for a piece of work, and then delete them one by one. In the end, there may be only one pure essence left. We tried to perfectly combine the spaces of the Red Brick Art Museum with the energy released from the works of Eliasson; to display an art scene with a profound dialogue between the work and the space. When the viewers enter the exhibition and immerse themselves in the experience of science and technology, the works provide them with heightened sensations and awareness.” (Words and Images via Red Brick Art Museum).
Fragments of urban life and daydreams unite the works of Rachelle Bussières and Courtney Sennish in Concrete Utopia on view at Johansson Projects. The works lure you in through their use of color and material; comparing the softness of a sky palette to the texture of concrete. Both artists, sculpting their mediums, record different processes of perceiving, experiencing and relating to the physical world.
For Bussières, the lumen print process allows her to layer colored light exposures of cut shapes to build a glowing geometric presence. She considers the light of specific geographical locations when creating. In the darkroom, in the studio and outside, her shapes are manipulated, overlapped or aligned, to create records of sculpted moments. The dusty pinks and lavenders regress next to glowing yellow shapes, akin to lunar moments viewed through architecture. The photograms radiate next to Sennish’s concrete sculptures which stand as silent urban monuments. Her sculptures are made of familiar textures and materials that become symbols of our constructed landscape. She stacks, puzzles and combines moments recorded during her city walks. In her work, our relationship to nature within the built environment is recorded as a single tree shadow. (Words and images via Johansson Projects)
"My practice focuses on our experience with light and how it interacts with the world. I am interested in the way it impacts modern human consciousness and defines our existence. Using the formal properties of photography, light, paper and chemistry, I create photograms by using the lumen print process through layers of artificial and natural light from a specific location. The different colors and hues are the result of the combinations of these lights while also embodying the time and location where and when the printing process took place. Thus, each piece is about the variations of the elements of the specific space and time." - Rachelle Bussieres
"My artwork examines the urban landscape through isolating specific moments and features found through my pilgrimage. I grant a spatial story to these accumulations through research into the history of the landscape’s geography as well as intuitive experiential qualities. These works collage the flat and vast worlds that exist simultaneously within and before us. The diverse mediums represent different processes of perceiving, experiencing and relating to the world around us." - Courtney Sennish
Taurus and the Awakener takes its title from the astrological lexicon, and makes reference to the recent ingress of the planet Uranus into the zodiacal sign of Taurus. In his 1995 book Prometheus the Awakener, cultural historian Richard Tarnas describes how astrologers have come to associate Uranus with “change, rebellion, freedom, liberation, reform, revolution, and the unexpected breakup of structures; with excitement, sudden surprises, lightning-like flashes of insight, revelations and awakenings.” Suggesting that the planet was misnamed, he instead connects its archetypal terrain to the myth of Prometheus, who disobediently stole fire from the gods in an egalitarian act of technology-sharing.
Uranus entered Taurus in May 2018, and will remain there, save for a brief return to Aries later this year and early next, until July 2025. Taurus, as a sign whose symbolism is related to the sensual, the earthy, the grounded, and the fecund, would seem to counteract the excitability and ruthless penchant for innovation that define the Uranian archetype. But combining their themes conjures visions of radical natural structures and an eclectic, searching femininity that inspires a distinctly embodied form of sense perception.
It is this spirit that Taurus and the Awakener seeks to channel by juxtaposing sculptures whose intellectual rigor and experimental ethos are inextricable from their physical expression. Materials used to make the works on view include glazed clay, tires, cigarette packs, incense, dyed velvet, bronze, and broken mirror. They are alternately imposing, ephemeral, dimensional, and provocatively flat; some explode with–or explode as–psychedelic bursts of color, while others rely upon subtle and brooding variations of hue to bring out the intensity of their textures. Rich in concepts articulated via non-linguistic modes, the exhibition teems with intricate patterns and esoteric geometries.
These broader formal considerations are rooted in conversations that emerge between individual works. For example, the intense, monumental presence of Chakaia Booker’s sculptures built from sliced tires, which function as wide-ranging metaphors for a host of social and environmental conditions–labor, race, class, urban development–enter into idiosyncratic dialogue with the assemblage constructions of Paul Pascal Thériault, in which constellations of cigarette packs and other found materials are perched on shelves or pedestals. Both artists bring new life to discarded objects by subjecting them to an abstract sense of order.
Polly Apfelbaum reformulates the category of the monumental altogether in a sprawling floor-bound work composed from quantities of dyed fabric pieces. Essentially a horizontal painting, it nonetheless has a distinct materiality that allows it to keep some of its many feet in the realm of sculpture. Such dismantling of genre divisions is a recurring theme. In an example from Betty Woodman’s Aztec Vase and Carpet series, a large-winged ceramic vessel rests on a piece of canvas layered with flat ceramic fragments; all elements have been glazed or painted with bright colors and patterns so that they unify in a Cubist-inspired tour de force of spatial illusion and visual rhythm. Ruby Neri, whose contributions to the show also come in the form of ceramic vessels, produces boldly Venusian images of the female body, glazing the undulating sides of large pots with relief paintings of women in Dionysian revelry.
The human–or humanoid–form plays an equally important role for Huma Bhabha. Her hybridized figures take many shapes, with some immediately recognizable as people or creatures, and others built from rough-hewn, harder-edged, modular components; what unites them is their mysterious emotional availability. Mindy Shapero’s totemic sculptures, with their psychedelic vortices of rainbow color, retain human warmth even when they depart completely from figuration. In one new work, two sizable interlocking circles, covered with swirls of puffy paint and reflective shards, are like the rings of planets, or rings of smoke blown by a fanciful deity.
The galleries will in fact be filled with the smoke wafting from Evan Holloway’s incense holders, whose cylindrical forms–made from steel, plaster, clay, and other materials–also bear melancholic and slightly sinister stains left behind by the spent batteries used to create the characteristic circular openings in their surfaces. Holloway pits an avuncular, even hopeful otherworldliness against the unromantic facts of life on Earth in an era profoundly marked by the effects of industrial processes. The relationship between nature and artifice comes to the fore in works by Arlene Shechet, especially one in which a painted wood base supports ceramic forms that themselves appear to have been crafted by natural forces.
Throughout much of this exhibition, art follows the way of nature, guided by its innate compositional drives and responding to its sense of proportion. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s sculptures, made from ribbon-like lengths of bronze and silk cords, are poetic exercises in polarity. They combine extremes of hardness and softness, rigidity and flexibility, and structure and ornament, and not only suggest that the most powerful innovation might in fact be a radical act of synthesis, but remind us that the physical world in which we live is constantly inventing ways to unify and balance itself. Given that an instinct toward violent ideological polarity has become a defining feature of our species, perhaps Uranus’s transit through Taurus over the next seven years symbolizes the paradoxical shock that will accompany true harmony, if and when it comes. (Words and images via David Kordansky Gallery.)
Known for integrating words with line drawings, Russell continues his exploration on themes of hope and human connection using play and poetry to communicate his message. Ten large paintings on panel, in addition to a suite of over 50 of the artist’s “fake fliers” mounted to panel, as well as an installation featuring smaller wooden sculptures, are all elements to be on view during the exhibition. In offering a selection of work in different sizes and prices, Russell underscores his passion for cultivating community through art.
Often using humor as an entry point, Russell provokes viewers to consider their place in the universe. His clever words and bold graphics illuminate sad truths of contemporary culture, as well as empowering values. These themes of hope, reflection and transcendence take on a particular significance against a contemporary backdrop of cultural disconnection and distraction. The artist expands on this sentiment in a new series of paintings that exude the same harmony without the use of text, rather through expressive forms. This collection of large-scale paintings on panel—featuring naturalistic forms, cut and rejoined much like a jigsaw puzzle—are suggestive of objects coming together through abstract compositions and formations. Large color blocks and lines sweeping off the frame elude to a raised hand, or a simple symmetrical shape topped with a white sphere implies a dandelion, are examples of this body of work.
Nathaniel Russell explains, "I want to create work that is sincere, hopeful and optimistic. I hope that when someone walks away, that they have learned something about another person—therefore about themselves."
Additionally, the artist presents an installation featuring his fake books series, smaller woodcut sculptures, as well as a 38-foot wall with over 50 fake fliers mounted to panel. While his intent is for the viewer to find meaning in community and the interconnectedness of all beings, the artist engages us in lightness with sculptures of books never published, flyers for events that don’t exist, and a few pieces that are small enough to fit in your hand. Peace Jazz is the culmination of the diverse modes of communication in Russell’s practice, each piece a tangible representation of the artist’s ethos. (Words and images via Gallery 16)
Alignments, the inaugural exhibition co-curated by Santiago R. Guggenheim and Claudia Paetzold featuring works by Tatiana Trouvé, Artur Lescher and Margo Trushina explores the human journey through both physical and metaphysical realms. Redefining the spatial and conceptual parameters of the art experience, the organic shapes and meandering expanses of IK LAB’s unique exhibition spaces immerse the visitor in a meditative state, serving as a gateway to discovery and connectedness.
Artur Lescher reveals an invisible spatial structure through the verticality of his suspended sculptures. In this redesigned space the visitor’s perception of matter is questioned by seemingly fluid floor based marble and basalt pieces unveiling infinity.
The relativity of perception is revealed in Margo Trushina’s works. The apparent solidity of rocks is transcended by undulating polished metal shapes projecting matter into movement, while the flickering neon dissolves the illusion of permanence of the bright white human outline.
A 12 meter high adjacent dome built according to ancient principles of sacred geometry is reached through a passageway across a natural water flow. It houses Tatiana Trouve’s 250 Points Toward Infinity, 250 pendulums descending from the heights of the dome in diagonal lines pointing towards an intricate constellation on the ground as if directed by invisible hands.
While dialoguing with the uneven floor and meanders of the first space the artworks operate as poetic gestures orchestrating an explorative journey, the installation in the dome becomes an invitation to meditate in the presence of a metaphoric union of heaven and earth. (Words and images via IK LAB)
A Forgiving Sunset exhibits Albrecht’s most recent body of work offering an evolved approach to his unique graphic languages. Largely rooted in typography, his work reconsiders the relationship of message and viewer. With each work being made up of dozens, sometimes several hundreds of individual pieces that are cut, sanded, painted and re-assembled, often at varied depths, the works shift the conversation to a more visual language of relationships starting with form and color.
The narratives of Scott’s work often pull from or reference his own experiences and distill them into a more universal interpretation to allow the viewer to relate their own experiences, and in turn showing how we are more connected by these shared events. Recalling the works in the exhibition he says: “The work for this show pulls from a range of experiences and inspirations over the last two years. A recurring point of reference in the work was the social climate and the growing gaps I was seeing among relationships — both on a cultural level as well as a personal level — and my own desire to return to something more connected. When I began this collection I developed a somewhat daily habit of listening to the poem, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. Although it was originally written in 1927, it is, among many things, a fairly timeless call for empathy, compassion and understanding, which seems just as relevant and needed today as I’m sure it did when it was written.”
Among the works this influence plays out in various ways whether it’s showing the commonalities of our shared differences (e.g. “From You” light & dark), or referencing our own personal histories that inform our paths (e.g. “A Series of Moments”) these works are a call to moving forward in today's tumultuous times. The title of the exhibition, A Forgiving Sunset, serves as a metaphor for healing and starting anew. These references of intimate moments and larger societal events are built upon a common history, and these works are the artifacts of his individual experience that he is now sharing with the public. By personally reflecting on these larger themes, and distilling them into the work, he reveals one avenue of this interconnectedness.
It is impossible to speak of the equation known as The RAMM:ELL:ZEE without acknowledging the cypher that he was; an arsenal of contradictions conveyed through an unremitting verbal and creative flow. At once manic genius, prolific polymath, irascible overlord, charming hustler, quantum hobbyist, and incoherent madman; at the core, Rammellzee was a supreme myth-maker, one who makes sense of the senseless.
As a young graffiti writer and MC growing up in the urban miasma that was New York City in the 1970s, Rammellzee existed from the start as an outlier. Born of mixed African-American and Italian heritage, and raised in the projects of Far Rockaway, aka Rocky Far-Away—the isolated seaside community stationed at the southern end of the A train—he bore his singular street identity as a mantle of the alien and otherworldly.
The official mythos begins with legal decree in 1979, abandoning his given name, and adopting the militaristic equation The RAMM:ELL:ZEE as his lawful moniker. It was also this year that Rammellzee penned the first of a series of complex, discursive, visionary manifestos detailing his ever-developing cosmology of Gothic Futurism and the concept of Ikonoklast Panzerism. Rammellzee perceived language as a structurally-flawed agent of an antagonistic societal operating system. He formulated an evolution of wildstyle lettering that would liberate, weaponize, and deploy the letter like an immune system response, circulating an attack on what he called contemporary “diseased culture” and the institutions of control.
Steadfast in his mission, Rammellzee advanced his mythos of Gothic Futurism through various arenas of power. After having earned a reputation as a seminal graffiti writer and MC by the early 1980s, he caught the attention of the contemporary art world, where he quickly ascended the ranks finding further opportunity and bedrock for the development of his ideologies. Where kinetic subway cars provided the viral methodology needed to distribute his burgeoning theories, the artworld of the 1980s—influential, wealthy, and eager to harness the vitality of authentic, New York graffiti writers—proved to be the vessel best suited to propel the war machine.
Over the next decade, he would produce, with unassailable acumen, a diverse and materially-rich body of work, much of which was quickly acquired and tucked away in collections throughout Europe. As the decade came to a close, the frequency of exhibitions and museum shows thinned. Conveniently, the mythos, poised for the next phase, had already begun work on what would become his magnum opus and the final leg of his corporeal mission.
By the early 1990s, the increasing density and complexity of Rammellzee’s epistemology necessitated a materialization of ideas and proliferation of personalities, made real through elaborate epoxy-driven assemblages and costumes. His Tribeca loft, a sprawling, uncontainable construction known as the Battlestation, became the hangar for his fleet of Letter Racers, Monster Models, and Garbage Gods, all forged from the detritus of the local consuming class. In a schizophrenic gesture, Rammellzee himself fragmented into oppositional battalions of alien bookies and demi-god gangsters, tricked out with ornate robes, masks, and weaponry exquisitely crafted and engineered from garbage. Performing as these various identities, Rammellzee presented in its most complex and fully realized form the binary battle of opposition that pervaded his mythology.
RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder presents, for the first time, a diverse selection of artworks, music, writings, rare archival documentation, and ephemera, gathered from disparate sources around the world, to outline a chronology of this remarkably complicated artist. Told by the people closest to him, the collection of oral histories, recorded on site and presented throughout the exhibition, act as a shared history, framing Rammellzee’s influence and memorializing the man who inspired, compelled, and galvanized nearly every person he encountered. While enigmatic and esoteric, Rammellzee’s work is also premonitory, warning that language has been co-opted as a tool of social and political manipulation. It is safe to say that we are far closer to the beginning, than the end of measuring the full impact left by The RAMM:ELL:ZEE.
Playful and ambiguous, his luminous and ostensibly radioactive worlds suggest a metaphysical interest in the possibility of alternate realities: the endlessly shapeshifting and protean nature of fantasy at the intersection of the imagined and "real." Wallace's paintings combine realistic rendering with elements of the surreal, and near-magical references that include eerily cast light sources bordering on the supernatural. Playful and macabre, his works combine intense thematic contrasts between light and dark to achieve suspense and evasion.
Children are a recurring theme in his compositions, representing a kind of primordial link to something invisible and beyond comprehension, exempt from the rationalizations of the adult. Often using his own children as models, Wallace's narratives are open-ended, filled with suggestion and partial disclosures rather than forceful assertions or posited certainties. The themes of connection and communication resonate throughout Wallace's imagery, as the works' protagonists seem ever in search of fugitive contact. The skeleton is a recurring figure throughout Wallace's imagery as well, appearing at times as a sinister harbinger of some kind and at others as Halloween costume level kitsch.
Wallace's pieces convey a kind of sci-fi nostalgia harkening back to a Spielberg-era of extraterrestrial-themed filmmaking. At times their implied innocence and naiveté give way to darker and more dystopian readings, surfacing amidst the neon-hued glow.