Ciou Brings Her "Cute and Scary" To Cotton Candy Machine

Cotton Candy Machine's gallery was packed last Saturday with folks eager to see the new exhibition featuring artists Ciou, Malojo, and Dima Drjuchin. Ciou made the journey all the way from her home in Toulouse for the event.

It's difficult to put into words the intricate beauty and detail that fill Ciou's mixed media works. You first may notice the doe-eyed girls accompanied by curious creatures - some with one eye, some with two eyes, while others have three.

 

Look a little longer and you'll start to make out the mesmerizing tattoo-like designs that adorn the girls' bodies along with the lively, colorful patterns that take the place of animal fur and scaly skin. These inhabitants of Ciou's "cute and scary" worlds are set against a backdrop of vintage texts that she has carefully selected.

Ciou was very excited at the opening and Cotton Candy Machine for a number of reasons. While she has exhibited at Cotton Candy Machine before, this marked her first time actually visiting New York City, and she was looking forward to hitting the museums, meeting other artists, and going to Coney Island.

The exhibition is rounded out with works by Malojo and Dima Drjuchin. Originally from Bayonne, Malojo made the journey with Ciou from Toulouse. Composed of varying shades of white, blue, and red on grayish paper, his captivating drawings look like reliefs that have been carved from stone. His influences range from comics and Walt Disney to Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch. Dima Drjuchin is a Brooklyn based painter and musician. His paintings appropriate familiar imagery such as the pyramid, heart, and wings to create "the new Incarnated Symbols of the Multiverse."

The exhibition is on view through May 4th. Be sure to stop by if you are in the NYC area.

JR Has An "Eye" On the New York City Ballet

Street art and the ballet might seem an unlikely pair. But if you think about it, the ballet has a history of collaborating with the most cutting-edge artists of the time. Picasso, Dali, Warhol, and Haring were the visionaries behind set design and costume in their day. Today, street art is widely considered one of contemporary art's most vital and innovative movements. Picking up on this, The New York City Ballet recruited "photograffeur" JR for the 2nd annual Art Series. Last year, the NYCB collaborated with street art duo FAILE to great success.

Before starting the project, JR had never been to the ballet. To prepare, he learned more about the world of ballet dancer. He was very intrigued by the dancers' dedication and how they devote their entire lives to perfecting the art form.

As he looked deeper into the world of ballet, JR came up with the idea of a eye. His installation maps out a photograph of giant eye on the lobby floor of Lincoln Center. 

Blog_1a.jpg

Measuring an astounding 6,500 sq. feet, the piece spreads 80 dancers in various expressive poses across its surface. Because the installation is made of vinyl, ballet goers can walk around and absorb the image at close range. 

Blog_3a.jpg

A completely new perspective is offered when viewing the installation from a few floors above.  Looking down, we take in the work as a whole, sensing all the detail and energy supporting its colossal being.

Jesse Hazelip at Jonathan Levine Gallery

Jonathan Levine Gallery has organized two very provocative exhibitions to kick off 2014. In his solo show, "Love Lock: Cycle of Violence," artist Jess Hazelip sets out to reveal injustices in our legal system with a focus on the prison system. The artist's symbolic use of animals is solid and effective.  For example, he uses the vulture, which preys on the weak and disadvantaged, to represent the prison system as a whole. This is an issue Hazelip takes very seriously - he had a mock prison cell built in the gallery where he will reside for 3 "visitation" times when visitors can meet and talk with him. Taking the performance element of the project to an even higher level, Hazelip shaved his head and eyebrows for 3 new tattoos. A snake eating it's own tail on the back of his head alludes to the cycle of violence in the prison system. The words "Love" and "Lock" on his eyebrows were motivated by a prison of the same name in Nevada.

The group show "Based on Actual Events" features artists Alyssa Monks, Diego Koi, Eloy Morales, and Joel Rea. The works on view were brought together because each uniquely explores contemporary realism. Bringing to mind the portraits of Chuck Close, Eloy Morales hyperrealist portraits are staggeringly lifelike. One may understand them to be photographs rather than paintings created by an artist's hands.  Alyssa Monks paints so close to reality that we sense the heat, steam, and moisture engulfing her showering subjects.  Joel Rea merges hyperrealism with surrealism to make dreamscapes, which are crystal clear in detail, but ambiguous in meaning.

Crash and Remi Rough Join Forces in "Flow" at Dorian Grey Gallery

The exhibition "Flow" at Dorian Grey Gallery unveiled first-time collaborations between NYC graffiti legend John "Crash" Matos and leading UK street artist Remi Rough. The opening reception last Thursday attracted a lively crowd eager to see the new work and toast the featured artists. Guests included How & Nosm, Lady Aiko, DAZE, and others from the graffiti and street art scene. One didn't have to be in the gallery long to sense this is an eclectic community of creative individuals who look forward to catching up and showing their support.

The presentation consists of a large handful of collaborations along with a few of the artists' individual pieces. The varies styles of each artist comes together seamlessly - there is a steady balance between Crash's smooth, classic style, and Remi's tight, geometric and linear forms.  Any tension or discord is quickly absolved, making "Flow" a very apt title for the show.  Geography made the collaborative process for this project particularly unique.  Crash painted first.  Then the canvases were shipped from NYC to the UK where Remi made his contributions. Finally, the finished works were sent back to NYC for the exhibition.

"Flow" is on view at Dorian Grey Gallery through February 23, 2014.

AFA: A Lesson in the History of Pop Culture Art

AFA (Animazing Fine Art) in Soho is a much welcomed exhibition space amidst New York City's sea of cold, white cube galleries.  We stopped in this past weekend to check out artist Bill Carmen's new show "Foibled," which presents a collection of smallish-scale paintings on wood and copper.  The images are rich with detail, fantastical and dark, and often present humans and imaginative creatures stuck in sticky situations.  Favorites included Narbombs and Beeprepared.

The gallery is very big and "Foibled" is being presented in conjunction with a second  show titled "2013 Collector's Group Exhibition."  You don't have to look very far to realize that something very special is happening on the rest of the walls at AFA.  Big names of the new contemporary art movement such as Joe Sorren, Travis Louie, Nicolette Ceccoli, Kathy Olivia, and Kukula are paired with masters of illustration Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, Charles M. Shulz, and Bill Watterson.  

We are presented with a delightful history lesson on Pop Culture Art as told by the movement's most original and entertaining voices.  Original drawings from "Peanuts," "Calvin and Hobbs," "Where the Wild Things Are," and "Green Eggs and Ham" evoke nostalgic memories from childhood when we would lose ourselves in these short stories filled with unforgettable characters and lessons learned.

It is most interesting to see how the dialogue between popular culture and art has shaped and shifted between generations.  The linear, simply colored, and often humorous earlier works on paper give way to dark, surrealistic paintings rich in detail and color.  A constant remains, however, between past and present.  All of these artists have created art that speaks to the everyday lives, interests, and concerns of their audience at the time of production.

AFA is located at 54 Greene Street (at Broome) in the Soho neighborhood of New York City.

A Bright Initiative

A big driver for maintaining Morphik's status as an independent company was to align its mission with social awareness. "Ever since Morphik was a seed of an idea, I knew I wanted it to be more than just an art-fashion company.  Doing social good was always at the back of my mind," said Christopher O'byrne, Morphik's Founder.  

Morphik launched A Bright Initiative, a donation program, in order to recognize organizations and charities doing inspiring work to benefit lives and make the world a better place.  Under A Bright Initiative, Morphik is giving 40% of all online sales to its partner organizations focused on various important causes.  "We as consumers have so much power. Right now, I think people are really into the idea of buying goods that appeal to their personal style and aesthetic tastes, and at the same time, are ethically solid. I love the idea of involving our customers in the program on such a level.  At the end of the day, it is their decisions that are bringing about real change," says Christopher.

At present, Morphik is working with groups based mostly in Los Angeles and New York City with a few peppered around the US.  "A Bright Initiative is still in its nascent stages. I am based in NYC and Christopher is out in LA.  We decided to start with our immediate networks, but hope to see the program expand." said Kate Murphy, Morphik's Art Director. "I've been here for about 7 years and have had great experiences with the local non-profit arts community.  There are some amazing organizations providing city residents with invaluable resources and services in areas such as arts and youth education," she continues.  The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) was one of the first to come on board. "I've had type 1 diabetes since I was a teenager so this one means a lot to me.  I'm extremely grateful that the JDRF is there to help others whose lives are challenged everyday by the disease." said Christopher.

Along with the JDRF, Morphik's partner organizations are Free Arts NYCArt Start, B.E.A.T. NYC, Art Studio World, The Retreat, and Color Me Empowered. To learn more, please visit: A Bright Initiative