Tag Archives: usartist

Artist Spotlight: Vernon O´Meally


The New York based artist Vernon O’Meally has always tried to express himself through art in an abstract way. At the tender young age of 7, Vernon started trying to represent his universe through the medium of paint, . At first, his works were photorealistic, then abstract. Now, they oscillate between figurative and organic forms. However, his abstract visual representations will not remain his only philosopher’s stone until he crosses the road of rock music. 

Psychedelic art, the turning point for Vernon. 


“I started to get into psychedelic rock-n-roll…, I have been inspired by the journey to that music


Music has a great impact on the development of Vernon’s practice, and is an integral part of his artistic journey. He expresses himself through the combination of music and painting. Since he became interested in psychedelic rock music, his practice has largely been shaped by it. He feels that only music can truly make you feel like you are on a voyage. Vernon is fascinated by psychedelia in general, and in particular the artistic and philosophical ideas that are associated with it. Throughout his psychedelic journey, he has been curating albums of Rock‘n’Roll music of the 60’s and 70’s, which he listens to whilst creating new work.


Working with different representational means throughout his time at PILOTENKUECHE, Vernon has been exploring unlimited possibilities from hallucinatory illusion-making to comic representation in his studio practice. Currently, he primarily layers graphic elements and mixes them with figurative images taken from popular culture. There is a recurrence of rainbows, cartoons, geometric shapes and the metamorphoses of forms. Characteristic for his practice is the constant impulse to experiment and to reinvent.

The impressive torrent of visual effects of Vernon’s studio paintings shows his rich artistic vision.

Impactful, loud colour combinations and bold lines create a feeling of immediate accessibility. They let the audience dive into the artist’s artistic universe, and create a spectrum of sensations that can be felt in the presence of his paintings. Back in New York, Vernon has worked on several commissions: he has been creating designs for cars, walls, buildings and also private spaces. 

Now, Vernon is at a turning point in his career. He is more and more interested in studying cartoon characters. Recently, he integrated the ghost character “Minnie the Moocher” into one of his paintings. Vernon describes his experience here as rewarding and equally profound.

Vernon is a fabulous painter, he constantly creates visual images that invite us to push our thinking beyond our limits. In his studio, he has developed inspiring and pervasive images.

written by Stanley Louis


HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage:
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM

performances:
19.30-20.00
Tom Austin
20.15- 21.45
Adam Tuch
21.00-22.00
LIS 
(Simon Schafer, Lasha White and Izabella Kaldunska)
https://soundcloud.com/lis_leipzig/sets/amok-2019…

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
performances by:
Darien Crossley
Adam Tuch
Tom Austin


open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9


Artist Spotlight: Ariel Taylor

Realistic and magical, the illustration of Ariel tells the stories of modern fairy-tale. As a little girl, she was lured by the landscape and fantasy of Hayao Miyazaki’s animation “Spirited Away.” She has always admired the charming forests and landscape of her hometown Athens, Ohio. With the desire of creating stories to draw people into nature and to remind us that there’s still magic, she set herself on the quest of story-telling as a print-maker.

Unfortunately, Her beloved land Ohio was then destroyed by fracking. The concern for the environment brought her to her first big project which she wrote a fairy-tale of a heroine fighting against the evil force that is wiping out the forest. “I realised through illustrating, I can tell it in a way that is not as confrontational as other forms, like activism. I did protest, but I feel that when you show it less ‘in-your-face,’ people are more willing to accept it.”

Magic and fantasy are in her blood. Last year, she went on a genealogy trip to Scotland – the land of mythical legends and medieval tales, of burning witches and Arthur’s Seat. She found out her family is related to Robert the Bruce, the King of Scotland during early 14th century, who famously fought in the First War of Scottish Independence. This journey of ancestral discovery, with her fondness of the animation “The Secret of Bells” resulted in a series of illustration with Celtic ambient.

Her latest work at the residency was inspired by her recent trip to Southeast Asia, including three paintings and a linocut print and embroidery textile piece. She gradually shifts print-making to painting for its accessibility being on the road. The paintings, titled in “The Discovery,” “The Danger” and “The Explorer,” present a Thai Arch, a tiger and a young lady, respectively. The feature of the young lady was borrowed from the figure of one of the Joan of Arc statues. She explained that Angkor Wat was said to be explored by a French naturalist who stumbled onto the land. However, the story-told is a Christopher Columbus sort which shows the discovery of European invaders rather than the portrayal of what had been happening already long before the intrusion. “I would like the culture which actually made the effort to create this thing to be given credit.”

The discovery comes along with the damage of relics and ecology. She talked of the missing reliefs, such as the head of a Garuda that was chiseled off in order to be sold in the black markets. During her trip, she was not able to visit Maya Bay in Thailand – made famous by 2000 film “The Beach” – as the officials decided to close it until 2021 for ecology recovery from severe environment destruction by tourism. Just like the early fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson and The Grimm Brothers, there are dark elements in her magical stories. In her modern fairy-tales lies the timeless question of all fantasy: What does it cost to get the prince? What do you sacrifice to realize the dream?

Written by Huai-ya Lin



HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
performances by:
Darien Crossley
Adam Tuch
Tom Austin


open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

Artist Spotlight: Darien Crossley

Drawing is like therapy for Darien Crossley. She expresses herself through pen and ink. With her meticulous technique she patiently draws dense lines. She gives shape to outlandish figures with abstract features. They are mainly feminine, and Darien focuses on their distorted features: sometimes they are not fully formed, they lack bodyparts or have too many. Bodyparts separate or unite. Bodies that stretch and expand.

“I focus on the emotions I feel, on the physical presence in my body and I try to express them”.

Drawing is a meditative practice. The viewer can feel this introspective aspect, equally identifying themselves with the illustration and making them their own. Everyone has a dark side, and as Darien says, “I hope the spectators can benefit from my drawings and understand that they are not alone”.

Her drawings have the simplicity and lightness of cartoons, but mysterious at the same time. The darkness appears in her dreams. Sometimes her subconscious is expressed in the most absurd ways, and this is another source of inspiration for her stories. Initially she was keeping an illustrated dream journal. Later she experimented with other media.

After using watercolors she returned to black and white for her latest work called ‘Good Spirits’.Darien is fascinated by the idea of the presence of ancient spirits around us. Good spirits that make our existence on earth magical and more interesting. She is of the opinion that although we do not know how to interact with spirtis, they must be respected.

To find a better understanding of Darien’s work we might need to look at the contemporary Japanese performance Butoh. Darien explains, “Living in Asheville, a little town in North Carolina which is a quite conservative state, I learned that there are very few Butoh instructors in America. And one was teaching in a studio two doors over from were I was working!”

Thanks to the coincidence, Darien’s art work closely connects with the Japanese culture. The restlessness, the strangeness, the focus on the naked bodies can all be found in this mixture of dance, theatre and improvisation. Like Butoh her art work can be defined in many ways: physical, spiritual, cathartic, liberating.

Currently at Pilotenkuche, Darien is working on a sort of personal diary, similar to comics. In one of her drawings deals with the feeling of being outside of a social group and suddently sinking into a thousand layers. There is always the balance between comic and darkness, almost oscillating between the two sides of the being. How will it be interpreted by observers? Which side of theor existence will it emphasise?

It is a continuous investigation of herself and her body. Darien is also a tattoo artist and her figures are engraved on her skin as a clear symbol of identification. But there is another unexpected side to Darien. she also works as a songwriter. She plays different instruments and accompanies them with a delicate voice. Melancholy is likely to be read through the lyrics and the notes of her electronic folk music. She will be performing at the Grateful Park vernissage on 20 September.

written by Silvia Zandomeneghi

https://soundcloud.com/nightmarketofspirits/golden-hammer

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
performances by:
Darien Crossley
Adam Tuch
Tom Austin


open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

Artist Spotlight: Christopher Sperandio

“It’s a comedy that makes you want to cry,” says Christopher Sperandio. The distress and injustice of our world are increasingly so absurd that it almost seems comical. Christopher is an American artist with a great enthusiasm for comic books. He has long been working closely with the medium, including several international collaborations. Capsulizing his own art within one mere word as “pissed-off,” his practice in comic illustration – the fierce palette of the print and the action-lead raw narratives – certainly reflects the frustration and the fury of the artist toward the countless and endless, even repetitive, chaos of the society derived from greed, brutality and racism.

Christopher is no stranger to the power of comics. Beneath the naive frivolous nature of the medium lies an explosive energy, and most of all – a political voice. He points out that the aftermath of comics can be just as violent, with cartoonists and comic artists sent to prisons or even murdered. Take for example, the recent Charlie Hebdo Attack, where twelve employees of the French satirical magazine were killed.

Yet the danger is not limited to the confrontation and controversy from free speech, but also as a political tool for the purpose of propaganda. Interested in the history of comics in different countries, Christopher spent a month in Lisbon last summer. Diving into the archives of Portuguese comics, he devoured the considerable amount of Fascist prints with their governmental indoctrination. They were full of beautifully portrayed images such as kids in uniforms singing patriotic songs.

images by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

At the same time, comics are equally influential for positive uses. He mentioned the critical cartoons during the 1968 protest in Paris in which the dreadfulness of capitalism was conveyed through graphics and narratives. Early last year, Christopher curated the exhibition Between Love & Madness: Mexican Comic Art from the 1970s. The title came from one of his comic book collections of original drawings Entre el Amor y la Locura. “That comic is about gaslighting,” he explains. He references the 1944 mystery-thriller Gaslight where the husband manipulates the wife into questioning her own sanity. “That’s what Trump is doing with the American public. He’s gaslighting the American public – telling lies and making the citizens believe things that aren’t true.” Christopher complimented the utilization of comic book form to discuss the psychological manipulation which is still perfectly relevant to contemporary issues in the modern world.

“Humour can reach across gaps whether it’s class, race or other kind of social boundaries. Humour has a political dimension to it. It can be quite useful in destroying tyrants.” The artist who previously published a copy about Trump, describing him in comical term as “a straight-up villain,” is currently working on his new comic book, tackling on the concern of automation. Seeing the videos of Boston Dynamic robots, he questioned the possibility of the exploitation – robots deployed as a military or police force instead of for health-care purposes. “It sounds a bit like science fiction,” he continued “but it fills me with dread seeing the videos. These things literally feel like zombies, with no pity and no feelings. They are animated but not alive.”

written by Huai-ya Lin

images supplied by artist


See Christopher’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM
open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

Artist Spotlight: Adam Tuch

Adam Tuch likes to play with the invisible. Revolving around the intangible, his multi-faceted practice is concerned with our perception of space and sound, in regards to contemporary society’s increasing coalescence with modern technology and its dependence on it. Adam’s work centers on the communication between man and machine. He focuses on the threshold between intimate interaction and functional utilisation of new digital means. 

The Boston-based artist is interested in the increasingly blurred boundaries between reality and simulation and their constant reciprocation to the point of total indistinguishability between original and fake, of the genuine and the imitation becoming mutually dependent on one another. With his often entirely digital works, Adam is aiming to explore our emotional and corporeal understanding of both physical and virtual spaces. His practice concentrates particularly on the impalpable concept of public space and its ever shifting definition. 

Central to Adam’s work is the intention to create conditions which enable the viewer to actively engage with the technological means employed. The direct interaction with the computer transforms the viewer’s role from passive spectator to active contributor. This forces them to reconceive their function in respect to the machine. Simultaneously, the situation generated allows the audience to have an intuitive, almost mindless interplay with the computer.

On his website hellllllo.info, Adam invites the visitor to correspond with an animated character through an algorithmic online chat. Since the answers are automated, the conversation between the online-character and the visitor turns into an absurd, almost tragic miscommunication, a dead end. This is emphasised by the haphazard sound effects and random screenshots that flare up during the chat. The provoked situation draws on our growing urge to connect with others through digital means, and the inevitable, intricate complications that come with it.

Diverging from his classical music and jazz background, Adam released his entirely electronic album called ‘Screen Shot 2018’ last year. Although occasionally melodic, the twelve tracks, consist of distorted voice snippets, linguistic exercises and shrill gaming sounds, and range somewhere between children’s TV character, rave party and horror soundscape. They have an almost nightmarish infantility to them. He pushed the further with nonsensical titles such as ‘erRorErrOrerroReRorrerROreRRoRErrOr’, ‘I*v’ and ‘%’, With Adammmmmmmmmmmm, his musical persona, Adam explores the idea of artificial realities, his sounds luring the listener into a non-existent cyber space. 


Currently, Adam has started to grow algae in his studio space at Pilotenkueche. “I want to use it as a means to represent environmental space,” he says as he expounds his plan to juxtapose the algae with a digital image of an underwater world shown on a submerged iPhone. He has also recently started researching brand logos, their embeddedness in our consumption-oriented culture and the almost religious reverence they are attributed with in present day society. Adam’s practice is incessantly concerned with the way we identify with the products we buy and concurrently let these things define us. It is hyperaware of the fact that everything we surround ourselves with plays a pivotal role in the way we perceive, evaluate and determine objects and spaces. 

Fast-moving technological advancements allows us to regenerate the idea of material reality and bodily presence as we are no longer confined to locating ourselves in a single space. Instead we are now able to exist in multiple spaces at the same time. The attempt to capture the essence of this idea, of us being able to simultaneously experience different forms of reality, lies in the heart of Adam’s complex work. 

written by Fiona Irene Graf


See Adam’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM
open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

Artist Spotlight: Anabel Nájera-López


“I struggle to communicate properly with words. I keep to myself many thoughts and feelings. By creating sculptures, I am able to open a dialogue and be aware of my own subconscious. When the sculpture is finished or sometimes during the process, I feel the release of thoughts and feelings and find parts of me that I did not know before. I am not aware of my actions the whole time during the time of creating, but that is something even more exciting, to reach that point where I stop and everything makes sense for a few moments, and then the questions and curiosity emerge again.”

Mexican-American born artist Anabel Nájera-López was academically trained in painting and ceramics at the University of Texas, El Paso. Working predominantly with sculpture and in a figurative format, Anabel frequently uses materials traditional conflated with the traditional art of craft-making, notably clay. Her often fragmented portrayals of the human body undercut reality, without completely taking it away. Materials morph into flesh, the familiar regresses into the unknown. Through a continued exploration of material properties and modes of production, her work articulates a running commentary of the universal human condition, which conveys an on-going fascination with form and expression.

Her choice of ceramics; a medium historically confined to its utilitarian function, has long sparked debates regarding the status of craft in the world of contemporary art. Her work conveys temporality and duration implicit to the technical precision of making. She says “I like to show the process… marks, texture, fingerprints, brush strokes.” The finished product is inextricably bound with the process of fabrication and materials of production, often leaving tangible traces of its own evolution…

Always pushing the boundaries of her chosen medium, Anabel became fascinated by processes of construction and deconstruction. She describes her approach to ceramics as subtractive, starting with a block of clay and chiselling away in order to achieve her desired result. This led her to begin experimenting with deliberate kiln explosions, before piecing the fragments together again like a puzzle. 

photos by PILOTENKUECHE or courtesy of artist

Fiberglass proved much more difficult to control. She said that she was initially drawn to the material because of its aesthetic similarities with the pigments and texture of skin. She would use darker pinks to create shadows and stitch into the fabric in order to recall lumps and muscles; exploiting the visual properties of the medium in order to map out a fleshy, visceral materiality. 

Sculpture is inextricably tied to matter; through its physical production, its tactile nature and its historical conflations with figural representation. The very act of making in itself is a bodily process. Despite arming herself with protecting clothing, exposure to fiberglass can be incredibly toxic. The silvers would cut into her skin leaving her covered in splinters. The sculpture took over  one year to create. She tells me what is most interesting about the material is that it’s conventionally used to protect buildings in construction. Anabel uses this as a metaphor for the protection of the body; an intrinsic paradox given its harmful nature. 

Violence towards the body also becomes implicit in her treatment of the material, intending to represent unpleasant events that have transpired in her life. Fragmented body parts hang limply by a string, pieces put together again to make an artistic whole. Underlying psychoanalytic impulses in her practice become evident through processes of disfigurement and reconfiguration, beautifully symbolising subliminal trauma and psychological repair. 

Lastly, Anabel invites the viewer to reflect upon their own conceptions of the body, and draws light on the crises in pictorial representation. Aristotle viewed form and matter in gendered terms. While form was considered feminine, matter – on the other hand, was characteristically feminine.  Anabel’s sculptures are non-binary and work to transgress gendered hierarchies. When asked whether or not the ‘grotesque’ is a figure she endeavours to invoke in her work, she simply replies,

“I don’t think they are grotesque at all. I see them as normal bodies.”

What next? While in other countries people take their old clothes to Oxfam, in Leipzig people’s second hand goods can be found in abundance on the street. Anabel wants to work with found material and is currently sourcing unwanted fabrics to create her next sculpture. In doing so, she hopes to create something which is site-specific, while continuing in her on-going exploration of material forms.

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See Anabel’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced