This is a blog about fun, interesting, intelligent things happening in art and popular culture.
ARTE: mostly emerging all of the time! And also ARTE:ZINE tumblr, different content/same contemporary view
Emerging London artist Lakwena Maciver has been making a name for herself with her bold, text-based murals. After traveling the globe with her street art, the artist recently touched down in LA for her solo show, “I Remember Paradise,” on view at Papillion Art through March 15.
The large-scale wood relief paintings in the exhibition evoke the vibrance of Maciver’s outdoor works with their contrasting patterns and bright colors. With short messages at the center of each piece, her catchy, design-heavy paintings call to mind contemporary advertising. While appropriating this aesthetic, the artist liberates her slogans from any corporate affiliation and uses them to promote positive thinking.
A sound installation Maciver created in collaboration with musician Abimaro accompanies the paintings in the exhibition. The interactive work explores the harmonious relationship between the first and fifth note on a scale, adding another dimension of experience to the positive vibes of “I Remember Paradise.”
written by: Nastia Voynovskaya
The Los Angeles Times review of Lakwena Maciever's I REMEMBER PARADISE solo exhibition.
The sense of adventure in Lakwena Maciver's universe
by Christopher Knight
Seven recent paintings by London-based artist Lakwena Maciver, who often goes by just her first name, fairly shout. They’re homemade street signs, a deft cross between commercial logos and personal emblems.
Lakwena paints in flat colors on wood panels. The hues are as bright as a Technicolor rainbow.
They’re applied as stripes, checkerboards, targets, giraffe-like squiggles, lightning bolts and zigzags. One painting -- the largest, 16 feet wide and composed from six panels that happily overwhelm the small room -- is adorned with big, dangling sequins. Their shimmer and shine are animated by a pair of electric fans that create an artificial breeze.
Each painting carries a text in raised letters. What links them is their future orientation.
“Imagine eternity.” “Build to last.” “The best is yet to come.” “Faded glory.” “Wake me up.” “I repeat.” In Lakwena’s visually excited paintings, the present urges looking toward tomorrow.
“Just passing through,” blares the big sequined painting in trumpeted lettering. Indeed, we are -- both at the gallery and in life.
These big, jaunty paintings couldn’t be happier or more enthusiastic about the prospect. At a time when so much else seems fraught and troubled, Lakwena’s welcome art advocates for an insistent sense of open-eyed adventure.
Lakwena Maciver will open her solo exhibition next month, January 17th. Get to know the artist a little more in this interview done by Design Indaba.
London-based artist Lakwena Maciver’s huge outdoor murals may be influenced by the exuberant scale of neon signs in Las Vegas but her most recent work, commissioned for the Africa Calling exhibition at London’s Southbank, drew on her African heritage.
Maciver visited family’s home in Uganda for the first time as an adult and her installation for the exhibition is bred out of this experience. During her trip she snapped photos of patterned minibus taxis and the intricate grille work on building facades.
For Africa Calling – curated by Kathy Shenoy of ethical online store Shake the Dust and Liezel Strauss of Subject Matter Art and the My Japan photographic project – she presented three small wooden-panel paintings. Emblazoned with the words “karibu” (“welcome” in Swahili) and “paco” (“home” in the Ugandan dialect of Acoli), they are rendered in striking colours and graphic patterns.
“These pieces are a way of processing what I experienced there and the idea of ‘home’. They’re about understanding who I am and where I come from.”
Her body of work centres on signage, language and social phrases. “Language is really important in what I do,” she told Design Indaba in this interview in London. “Words, typography and language – the meaning and the actual visual look of words.”
She creates work in multiple media that lives inside galleries, on the street and sometimes on apparel and products for brands such as Adidas, Converse, Diesel, Palladium Boots, Red Bull and Toms.
Maciver’s street murals are titanic and painted in brilliant colours reminiscent of early Technicolor films. The first one she ever painted, saying “I Remember Paradise” on a wall in Miami, has lettering that is taller than her.
The London-based designer grew up predominantly in England but she is preoccupied with things that reference her African roots.
Her aesthetic is made up of bold graphics, geometric fields, text and bright colours: “This is influenced by what I saw growing up and what appealed to me – which were the things that referenced my African heritage.”
You can see a drawing installation art work by Kenturah Davis at The Mine Factory now until December 21st in Pittsburgh, PA. She is included in the I JUST WANT THE PAPER group exhibition.
Terence Nance new short film #BlackoutBlackFriday
Blackout for Human Rights (Blackout) is a network of concerned artists, activists, and citizens who committed their energy and resources to immediately address the staggering level of human rights violations against fellow Americans throughout the United States. We have witnessed enough. An affront to any citizen’s human rights threatens the liberty of all. So, we participate in one of the most time honored American traditions: dissent. We demand an immediate end to the brutal treatment and inhumane killings of our loved ones; the lives of our friends, our parents and our children have value and should be treated with respect. Our right to life is secured not only by our humanity, but is protected by law both federally and internationally by the Constitution of the United States of America and the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Watch another film by Nance and other filmmakers in this #BlackoutBlackFriday playlist
The Los Angeles Times gave Samuel Levi Jones a favorable review!
By Leah Ollman for the Los Angeles Times - Art section
Riveting new work by Samuel Levi Jones, at Papillion, is hot and cool at once, the result of aggressive action as well as a deliberate, formal intelligence. This isn't the only polarity at play. Jones generates several different varieties of friction, all of them fueling the work's quietly rumbling charge.
Based in the Bay Area, Jones practices a kind of muscular abstraction bolstered by conceptual heft. He tears the covers off encyclopedias and reference books and stitches the surfaces (face-in) together in grids, which he then mounts on canvas. The skins of the books are scarred by the violation: Shreds of the cardboard used in binding cling to the fabric, and edges run raw. Many of the works resemble the unfinished backs of quilts, all exposed seams and loosely hanging marginal material.
"Hematoma" (71 by 59 inches) is divided vertically, the left half an amalgam of black book covers and the right side slate blue. The grid structure emanates an air of order and regularity, while each individual component, each damaged relic, testifies to a dynamic act of force and disruption. Every cover is its own distinct landscape of ruin, scabbed and scraped. The titles of the books are barely visible: "The Annals of America" and "World Book." In rending and flaying these particular volumes, Jones symbolically dismantles their ostensible authority.
His protest is a general one against, it seems, such totalizing histories, with their partial perspectives and gross exclusions. By not taking more specific aim, Jones lets formal qualities -- visceral immediacy, textural complexity and damage-driven process -- carry the bulk of the work's metaphorical weight.
One stunning monochrome piece, a neat grid of Encyclopedia Britannica covers, all dilute rust, brings to mind the post-minimal, sallow resin grids of Eva Hesse, as well as the evacuated library conjured in Rachel Whiteread's Holocaust Memorial in Vienna.
These pieces also tap into a history of scrap-built textiles, and notably, the tradition of found-object assemblage. Such sculptural repurposing has an affecting temporal dimension, a vague aroma of the past inflecting the sensory mix.
Jones received this year's Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, a major recognition from the Studio Museum in Harlem, where he will have a solo show in 2015.
His work has integrity, not just in the sense of authenticity but also internal consistency. The physical gestures of its making, the notion of empowerment at its core, and its tremendous tactile vigor are all mutually reinforcing. Evocations of the body, too, are manifold: bodies of knowledge, bodily injury, disembodied skins. Jones harnesses the twin forces of destruction and creation to generate these works of defiant beauty.
Samuel Levi Jones recieved the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist prize from the Studio Museum in Harlem a few weeks ago. This is a big deal, as the award has never been given to an emerging artist before. Congratualations to Sam!
Lakwena did a mural in Las Vegas last month during the Life is Beautiful festival. The "EVER AFTER" mural is a continuation of her "I REMEMBER PARADISE" series we will be debuting in January 2015!
Kenturah has an installation in the Yokohama Trienniale in Tokyo, Japan.
"This piece is on view at Midtokyo Gallery's Draft Punk show, in the Yokohama Triennale in Japan. The theme for this year's exhibition is Fahrenheit 451, referencing Bradbury's 1953 novel centered around book burning. I have been thinking about memory and the idea transferring knowledge from one form to another. I found a way to respond to the theme of the show through the meaning behind my name......
"Kenturah" is derived from a Hebrew word for incense, which is a metaphor for prayer. The idea is that converting an aromatic material into smoke allows it to dissipate and enter another dimension where God resides: "So is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." This scripture makes a lyrical assertion about language and represents the greatest potential of our use of words. It is also the text I used for this first drawing in the “Namesake” series. It is a self-portrait made by writing this text on shavings of palo santo (“holy wood”), a type of tree bark from South America that is traditionally used as ritual incense. I burned them, converting the inscribed wood into plumes of smoke. A residue of soot was left behind, to which I added liquid, turning it into black ink. I applied the ink to rice paper using rubber stamp letters. In essence, this drawing is a byproduct of burned, dissipated, text. It represents the idea that our current state of being is a result of words that have been released into the atmosphere. Of note, the drawing is derived from a photo that I distorted and was drawn on thin rice paper to create an ethereal quality to the piece."
Kenturah is on episode 3 of Ovation TV Touching the Art series. They get into some good topics on this ep, one of which is about racism in the art world. Watch it to see what Kenturah has to say.
Also on the topic of race; I was interviewed last week by Diversity Executive and gave my honest, optimistic and diplomatic answers to the question about racism and sexism in the art world. You can read it HERE
An interview with Diversity Executive about the art world and our unique place in it. Full interview HERE.