Tag Archives: art

“Elevate” Exhibition by Louis De Guzman

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RSVP Gallery alumnus and Chicago native Louis De Guzman just finished a monster run through 2018, and he isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

 

De Guzman’s geometrically abstract art style has garnered global recognition as he applies his aesthetic to prominent pop culture iconography. De Guzman’s sculpture “Elevate” debuted this year at ComplexCon. The black fixture, measuring over four feet tall, features De Guzman’s imagining of Bart Simpson performing a trick on his signature skateboard. Alongside the unveiling, De Guzman and his team released 8.5” retail variations of the work. These pieces sold out in less than a day.

 

For those who missed out at the ComplexCon release, De Guzman offered another chance to procure a figure, with an online release and exclusive event at RSVP Gallery. Online stocks ran dry within five minutes and in-store quantities quickly vanished.

 

After the event, we caught up with De Guzman. Check out the interview below:

 

Q: How did you first get into art?
A: I first got into art at a very young age. My mother would take me to craft shows with her that she would attend to and showcase some of her own decorative/personal work that she would develop in particularly during the Holiday seasons; Which is my earliest and fondest memory of gaining that spark in the creative and expressive field.

 

Q: What is your background and is your work tied to your culture?
A: I am a proud second-generation Filipino American. And I would say that my culture is definitely tied to my work.

 

Q: What does your work say to the audience?
It says that you should always follow your heart into doing what you love the most on the daily and in life. That anything and everything is possible.

 

Q: What is your personal favorite piece that you have created?
A: That’s always a hard one since as artists, I feel that we constantly learn and evolve into our next form every day. Fine tuning and perfecting our craft which leads to more developed and more new bodies of work that may not look like something we created five, ten and maybe even fifteen years before. So, I would say everything I’ve created in my life/career thus far has been my favorite, because each piece has been a part of the timeline and journey in continuing to live out these dreams I’ve had since I was a child attending those craft shows with my mother.

 

Q: What has been the most challenging obstacle to overcome and why?
A: I would say it’s the obstacle that any and if not most artists face from the start. And that’s being comfortable and confident enough in sharing something so personal on a public level. Putting our emotions and feelings out on mediums for complete strangers to take in and hopefully move with / relate to.

 

Q: Who are your biggest influences and why?
A: I would say my family would have to be my biggest of influences. Specifically, my mom and dad. They immigrated to the US from the Philippines in the mid-’80s in search of a better life. Not knowing nor having any promises for what they would come to live and experience in such a desired culture and country to be in, especially back then. Because of their journey and sacrifice, I was extremely lucky to have been born and raised here in the suburbs of Chicago. That alone is my influence and motivation to keep on chasing the dream so that I can be assured to take care of the both of them and the rest of my family now + beyond.

 

Q: What inspires you the most to create your work?
A: What inspires me most to create my work is the idea and fact that I never gave up on my passion and my purpose. Knowing that my work resonates with others in the most positive way to help people view and change their perspectives on certain things in the best way possible. Knowing that the work inspires the youth and future creatives and greats to go after their dreams would have to be the second most influential thing for me to wake up every day and create.

 

Q: Who has helped you the most to get to where you are?
A: GOD, my family, my friends and everyone that I’ve been extremely lucky to have met along the way, including the RSVP Family.

 

Q: Where do you think you would be if it weren’t for art, is there a different path you had in mind?
A: I honestly wouldn’t or couldn’t see myself going down a different path. But if I had to choose, it would probably be something along the lines of social impact through some form of teaching.

 

Q: What can your fans expect from you in the future?
A: To even say that I have fans is an extremely humbling word and idea to connect with my work. Always will and forever be grateful for them! They can expect some rad collaborations and projects that the team (Austin Neely, Bradley Butchko and myself) have been cooking up and building up towards for 2019 + beyond. Solo shows internationally and wherever the journey takes us! Super hyped and forever grateful for these moments and see where it’s all falling into place. They can expect my third solo show on Saturday, December 15th here in Chicago. All new original works and concepts that I cannot wait to share with our city!

 

Check out all of the photos from the event and stay up to date on all of his upcoming sculptures and events by following him on Instagram (@LouisDeGuzman).

WHERE THE END STARTS: Kaws Exhibit

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Kaws just unveiled a new exhibit, titled WHERE THE END STARTS, at the Modern Art Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas. His name is synonymous with art in almost every form; from his early works in graffiti to his newest projects featuring massive sculptures, he has carved his lane that many have tried to mimic throughout his career. He’s created a line of characters that appear throughout his works – Chum, Accomplice, and Companion, which he reimagines in toys, paintings, and sculptures of various sizes. Kaws’ enormous ‘Companion’ sculptures have garnered ample attention over the past few years, as they have appeared in galleries, parks, and major cities, like New York.

 

Further, Kaws’ has gained recognition for his appropriation of popular cartoons like Spongebob, The Simpsons, and The Smurfs. These works are some of his most sought after, utilizing his distinct style, with signature “X’s” in the eyes and vibrant colors. He explores many human emotions across his vast catalog, from sad, overwhelmed, pathetic, and weary, to shy. Kaws’ juxtaposition of cartoon characters and these emotions allow us to empathize and view the works in an unprecedented scope.

 

The exhibit opens today, October 20, 2016, and runs until January 22, 2017, when it will move to a new space in China. It features a retrospective view of Kaws’ work over the past 20 years across approximately 100 works. Included in the exhibit are paintings, drawings, large-scale sculptures, graffiti, toys, and other various mediums from his formal, conceptual, and collaborative catalog. Check out the gallery above for a look at the new exhibit, and be sure to check back for more Kaws news and releases at RSVP Gallery.

A Day at the Gallery: “Andy Warhol: ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ and Other Works,1953-1967″

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Our latest day at the gallery was spent at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for “Andy Warhol: ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ and Other Works, 1953-1967.”

The space welcomes attendees to Warhol’s work dating back to 1953, nearly a decade before his soup cans series. Freshly relocated from Pittsburgh, Warhol spent these years working as a commercial illustrator in New York. The relatively obscure shoe illustrations were used as advertisements for shoe manufacturer I.Miller and show the development of Warhol’s blotting line technique.

Guests are then guided to the centerpiece of the exhibit, thirty-two nearly identical canvases that make up Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans. The MoMA intentionally echoes the 1962 debut of the collection, presented at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, by displaying the canvases side by side as opposed to its typical grid layout. This series of work marked the beginning of Warhol’s transition into repetition style and uniform aesthetic of screen-printing. With Warhol working 9 to 5 as an illustrator, the uniformity offers a witty commentary on the mass produced commodity culture of America.

The final portion of the exhibition showcases Warhol’s pop years from 1962-1967. The works showcased offer the same commentary as the soup cans, except now the subjects are derived from media images, evidently seen on the famed Marilyn Paintings.

“Andy Warhol: ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ and Other Works, 1953-1967″ runs through October 18, 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan.

Words and photography by Joe Ro

A Day at the Gallery: the Frieze Art Fair ’15

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Art aficionados ferried their way across the East River in New York this weekend for the biggest and (by popular opinion)best contemporary art fair. Now in its fourth year, the Frieze Art Fair held in Randall’s Island Park serves as an opportunity for New Yorkers to get a glimpse at what over 190 galleries from across the globe have to offer. We navigated our way through the eccentric maze to catch all of our favorite artists, from George Condo at the international Sprüth Magers to Kaws at the Galerie Perrotin. Call us biased, but it was at the Galerie Perrotin that we saw our most memorable piece from the art-filled weekend: Daniel Arsham’s “Rose Quartz Eroded Chicago Bulls Jacket.” Explore the iconic pulverized crystal 1993 Chicago Bulls starter jacket in our gallery above and all the other Frieze Art Fair 2015 pieces that caught our eye.

Words by Adriana Gaspar

Photography by Joe Ro

A Day at the Gallery for “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks”

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  • The Unknown Notebooks of Jean-Michel Basquiat

“Ladies and gentleman this is your announcer inviting you to another episode of ‘celebrity heroin addict!’ The show that says ‘Oh, no! Not him! I had no idea!’” This somber note, scribbled on a notebook page gives exhibition-goers a unique and never before seen look at the legendary, late Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks features a rare look at a collection of his personal notebooks, related pieces on paper, and large scale paintings.

The New York artist is known for his graffiti origins that he carried over into the art world during the 1970’s and 80’s.  His career ended tragically at age 27 by a heroin overdose in 1988, immortalizing him in the infamous “27 Club.”

You can check out Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks at the Brooklyn Museum, which is running through the summer until August 23, 2015.

Words and photography by Joe Ro

 

 

At the Gallery with Keith Lemley for “Arboreal”

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Kieth Lemley’s first New York City solo exhibit “Arboreal” unites material, light, and architecture to create a scene contrasting natural and synthetic. One inspiration Lemley often seeks is the fundamental geometry that makes up the universe we live in. With his large angular neon installations, Lemley achieves the unity of space through light and line. According to Lemley, six years ago a large Chestnut Oak tree fell near his studio in Appalachia. He began to carve the wood uncovering close to two centuries of history; from there he shaped sculptures that come from the knots and imperfections of the tree. To compliment this natural beauty, neon extends from the shape of the carved wood to become an exaggerated narrative of the trees growth had it not fallen. The sturdy wood and the delicate neon play off each other incredibly to produce a captivating gallery experience.

We sat down with Lemley and he gave some insight on “Arboreal” and his love for neon:

Q: What is the inspiration behind your exhibit?

A number of years ago a large old oak tree fell on a ridge at my studio and since then I’ve been thinking of how to use it as raw material in my work. I’ve also been thinking about discovery and recent theories that may connect disparate notions of how the universe works through an underlying problem of geometry. With that in the back of my mind, I spent time really getting to know the particular architecture of Mixed Greens [Gallery] and everything began to come together in my mind for a light based installation.

Q: How does geometry play a role in your work?

I am interested in curiosity and discovery, and how the architecture of our minds and bodily systems connects to the architecture of the universe and the vast amount of information that is beyond our perception. Really, the systems or structures that are in place where there seemingly are none, and the paradox of discovery – that the more we know, the more we know we don’t know. I use geometry in a way that connects viewers, my work, and the site, in a fleeting momentary experience.

Q: Why neon?

All neon is made by hand, and I found it fascinating that I could form a glass vessel, and then process it into a working light source. Making neon is like drawing in space. Nearly anything that can be drawn as a continuous line can be made in neon. Inside the glass tube is a nearly a perfect vacuum with only a very small amount of rare gas. When electrified the gas becomes plasma, and if you look closely it appears as a fuzzy illuminated stream. With a few torches and some lab equipment, I can make glass microenvironments that emulate the plasma in a star.

Q: What makes neon an important medium for your work?

Light is both something and nothing. The neon tube becomes a sort of frozen moment; it gives a physical, tangible existence to something as intangible as light. Then, it emits that light into a space, expanding to fill whatever volume surrounds it.

Q: What does neon mean to you?

Neon allows me to manipulate light itself and create a phenomenological experience in a given space.

Keith Lemley’s “Arboreal” is on display from February 19, 2015 to March 21, 2015 at Mixed Greens Gallery in Manhattan, New York.

Writing and photography by JoeRo