January 23 to January 30, 2011 at Studio Orange
8526 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Reception: Saturday, January 29, 6-9pm
Gallery Hours: by appointment only
Annie Seaton p: 310.621.5847 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brendan Lott, I Just Want To See, 2009, oil on canvas, 27” x 36”
Artists Ray Beldner, Brendan Lott, Sonja Schenk, and Annie Seaton are pleased to announce their upcoming exhibition, Misappropriation. The pop-up show, which takes place during the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair, includes paintings, mixed media, digital prints, and small-scale installation all using and misusing found photo-based imagery. The exhibition will be on display at Studio Orange in Culver City, California from January 23-30, 2011.
Since the early collages of Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp’s use of found object for his series of “ready-mades,” artists have felt free to use, reproduce, appropriate and incorporate materials found within popular culture and society. These raw materials reflect and embrace the world around us: snippets of newspapers and magazines, film and TV excerpts, snapshots, advertisements, news headlines, bits of text, characters, fragments of song, and so on. Artists used this source material just as artists have used raw material for thousands of years.
Sonja Schenk, Your Face Here, 2010, oil on canvas, 24” x 24”
Now with the ubiquity of computers, digital cameras and the Internet, artists have access to the world’s greatest libraries, image databases, and interactive tools at their fingertips. As a result, traditional artistic practice is changing once again as artists explore the potential of these new technologies and incorporate them into their working methodologies. For each of these artists, the Internet and digital technology play a vital role in their creative processes.
Appropriation as an artistic practice and visual strategy is not new to contemporary artists, but the case that this exhibition makes is that the Internet enables a new kind of appropriation or borrowing, a “mis-appropriation” which is the intentional—sometimes humorous, sometimes dark—misuse of someone else's material. In this case, their images or their likenesses.
Each artist in the show collages images they have taken or found on the Internet or elsewhere, and they re-purpose and re-contextualize them in a way that reflects on their origins. They are in a sense “meta-images” misappropriated for the purpose, in part, to reflect on the picture’s original purpose and meaning.
Ray Beldner, Benedict 04.28.10, 2010, archival pigment print on paper,
mounted on aluminum 48" x 48" unique work, one A/P
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Ray Beldner makes art from the stuff of everyday life: clothing, cash, stolen items, porn. He also uses the fickle and random nature of Google searches to generate images in a type of visual “Flarfing” which parallels the way some writers use Google to create poetry. In his series, Portraits: 101, Beldner creates layered images of celebrities, artists, sports figures, politicians, and spiritual leaders by collecting the first one hundred and one images he finds while performing Google images search of a particular subject's name on a specific day. The result, while somewhat abstract, reinforces the collective idea or the essence of the publicly held image of that person. The portraits are time-specific since each Google search, performed on a certain day, yields a unique result. Beldner has written, “I use the number 101 because of its association with celebrity, and also because it is often used in academia for a compendium course, i.e. Art History 101—an overview of art history, in other words the meta-history.”
Brendan Lott revels in the fact that he has abandoned his studio practice in favor of a different type of working methodology. Lott scours the Internet for candid digital snapshots found in peer-to-peer file sharing networks. His only artistic action is to “select” the images he wants and then either print them out for use in larger collages or “outsource” the images to painters in China to have them rendered as fine art oil paintings. As Lott has stated, “By participating in the global economy in this manner, I feel that I am making art in a way that is in alignment with my time and place. I become a part of something much larger than myself. This process also removes me from the burden of craft, as the craft of the painters is consistently and reliably excellent.”
Sonja Schenk makes paintings that are conceptual but also painterly. Similar to Lott, she uses photos of anonymous people found on the Internet, but then she herself translates them into paintings. In the series "Defaced Portraits" she’s become fascinated with the phenomena of people who photograph, then black out the faces of their subject, sometimes adding a message. Schenk finds these disfigured pictures shocking, even disturbing since the literal “de-face-ment” is often done by the photographer to his/her own image. This mutilation brings up many questions about the function of the photographs and it problematizes the relationship between the subject, the photographer, and the viewer. As Schenk writes, “I seek to explore the uncomfortable relationship between the subjects and the person looking at them, myself included. Pleasure and pain, intimacy and voyeurism, fear and beauty: caught in the tug of war of oppositional forces, I believe the most interesting place is the space in between. Because that is where the experience of humanity is found.”
Annie Seaton is a painter whose images are derived from her own life’s experiences: her children, memories of growing up in Toronto, and her fascination with Southern California surf culture. Unlike plein air painters of the past, Annie uses her camera to capture fleeting moments for later use in the studio. Her practice is to enlarge the images onto photo paper which she then uses portions as elements in her mixed media works. The resulting paintings look realistic, even traditional, yet they are as mediated by technology, appropriation, and collage as the other three artist’s works. Seaton says of her process, “The prints are cropped to reveal only my experience, which is enhanced with paint to offer a new, hazier reality. The digital c-prints are then transformed into a ghost like image of its former self. Were the figures actually there or did I put them there?”