JULY 13 – AUGUST 6, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION SATURDAY, JULY 16, 7-10 PM
Campfire Gallery is pleased to present ANIMAL MAGNETISM, a group show featuring work by Jennifer Belair, Eli Casiano, Anson Cyr, Amy Haney, Javier Martinez, Riley Richard, Laura Spencer and Cahill Wessel. The exhibition aims to bring together work by an eclectic mix of local and national artists that draw on a connection to animals for inspiration and are expressed in a variety of mediums including painting, mix-media sculpture and printmaking.
My artwork revolves around stream of conscious cathartic thinking exploring relationships and memory. The term relationships describes connections with the self as well as the self with others. The catalyst behind my practice are profound memories from day to day life. The memories and the recollection of these memories vary in their merit—some are real and others imagined. My aim is to create a personal visual language that reveals the interior spaces of the mind. I create my work in an intuitive manner using a variety of materials and techniques including collage, printmaking, painting and drawing. Humor has often been a device that I use to create immediate conversations with the viewer. Natural and animal based imagery have become a stronger component of my visual vocabulary especially since returning from the great American West-I can’t stop thinking about it—the bison, the bears, the mountains and the romance. Often such imagery acts as stand ins for complex human emotions or as coding to geographical places I have been or want to go. I enjoy playing between the lines of serious existential deep thinking and learning to laugh at oneself and relishing in the joie de vivre.
In my current work I use animals and monsters to represent my take on humanism. The birds and animals serve to show a more overcome man, one who is ruled by the laws and objects that constrain us from being the free beings we really wish to be. I juxtapose these animals with “Modern Technology.” Doing so I try to force the viewers to consider these objects as something essentially human. A slave with no master but with an engineered job and purpose. With the monsters I seek to embody the raw self-centered man. One who is only worried with self perseverance and gorging. Other visual imagery I use often in my vernacular is animals being bound together or trapped in twine, yarn skulls, etc. This is a comment on the fact that we have others that we are attached to and the things we do always have consequences. I use hearts and homes often as well. This serves to exemplify that there is almost always a point of reference that we act from realized or not. I do not look to condemn or condone these things only bring a sense of humor and lightness to them.
My work examines the fallout attendant to the disintegration of my Latino heritage. I investigate my experiences as a third generation Mexican-American and question my unconscious attempts to displace my ethnic ancestry for an idealized imitation of whiteness. I explore loose memories from my childhood, along with gaudy textile patterns, allegorical animals, and cowboy-western aesthetics to create ambiguous, over-saturated narratives. These dissonant narratives confront family relationships, social status, and dominant perceptions of racial difference. By generating cultural symbols recalling the mass produced, unlicensed merchandise sold in border towns and flea markets, I am recognizing my unconscious attempts to destroy my ethnic identity. My work represents an attempt at cultural self-restoration by reconstructing American pop iconography with a pronounced Tejano influence.
I enjoy technical processes, complicated planning and meditative repetitiveness found in printmaking. My subject matter is based on observing and studying aspects of nature. Through the use of print I construct content based on contrast and color. Birds have been rendered for centuries through mythology, religion and examination. I admire their resilience and strength and understand they also are delicate. I use printmaking to develop texture and patterns to portray their energy and actions. I illustrate their personalities show through color and gesture. I find it stimulating to understand their feathers and forms and then interpret them through woodcuts and intaglios.
Amy Haney was born 1974 in Omaha, Nebraska. Trained specifically in printmaking, Amy has received studio art degrees from the Ringling College of Art and Design and the San Francisco Art Institute. She has received an Art History degree from Prescott College. She has taught printmaking at the Kent Bellows Studio, Metropolitan Community College, University of Nebraska at Omaha and Hot Shops Art Center. Printmaking for Amy is about strategizing, problem solving and the thrill of revealing an image when pulling a print.
Through a practice of collecting, altering and sculpting mixed media artworks I integrate a variety of techniques including automotive pin-striping, finish carpentry and fabrication. Each sculpture requires several months to complete. A labor-intensive process, which I enjoys and views as a personal meditative ritual. Form, spirit and culture are examined as the works combine my relationship with desert fauna and lowrider culture. My sculptures integrate objects that are altered or detached from their intended function, referencing symbols of my personal history and cultural background. The sculptures are a hybrid of appropriated lowrider elements with creatures from my native desert environment, sometimes referencing farming and shamanism, which are a part of my family heritage.
Javier Arturo Martinez is a visual artist who was born in Los Angeles and is now living and working in San Francisco. He creates artworks primarily in mixed media sculpture and painting. Growing up between urban Los Angeles and rural Aguascalientes, Mexico gave him exposure to contrasting environments and cultures. This duality was pivotal in shaping his cultural identity and is at the root of what informs his artwork. He graduated with a BFA in Fine Art from California Institute of the Arts in 2000.
This body of work explores queerness in a natural environment and goes right along with the title of the show, Animal Magnetism. I am completely drawn to the behavior, beauty, and grace of whales. I find a queerness in their blowholes and tender songs of the males in their mating patterns. As a visual artist and woodworker I have an appreciation for the combination of mediums. The cedar selected for this show includes wave patterns in their grain, adding to the natural watery theme. Reclaimed wood holds a story, age and character, as does each whale. These powerful and majestic watery mammals painted on reclaimed wood create a platform for seeing whales in both old and new lights.
Riley Richard is a multi-media queer artist, painter, woodworker, and filmmaker in Portland, OR. She has shown her super 8 films at Artist Television Access, Outfest LA, as well as the filmwork for Hair Trigger Heart, a multimedia play by Ida Acton. Riley has also had several solo art shows including 100 Recycled Thoughts, at the Lexington, Wings & Spouts at Seventh Heart and Aquatic Aviation at Remedy. Riley moved to Portland to pursue her love of woodworking at Oregon College of Art and Craft, she has continued to produce, show, and sell her art and craft in a variety of galleries and stores in the Portland area. You will find Riley at her happiest tinkering around in her shop, drawing in her studio or hiking around in nature which shows through in all art mediums.
This body of work focuses mainly on the emotional range, projected and perhaps misunderstood, through animal bodies. The range of expression and emotion of many animals is so often dismissed or considered lesser to our own, that many animals suffer at the hands of humans. This body of work serves as a personification of the depth of intelligence and compassion in many animals, household pets, or otherwise.
Laura Spencer is a ceramic artist from Venice, California. She studied sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute, and spends her time between Northern and Southern California working on her animal based ceramic sculptures.
As an artist, my goal is to create surreal drawings that explore a middle ground between elegance and kitsch. I merge playful, often low bro, imagery with symbols of power, beauty, and sophistication in order to investigate accepted notions of high art. Inspired by the flawless work of Renaissance painters, I utilize an idealized realism that elevates seemingly meaningless objects into captivating subject matter. I am drawn to lush, tropical color schemes, and this motivates me to create scenes that blend a bright, saturated palette with rich patterns, calculated compositions, and lively content to create work that is fun and up lifting.
Much of my work is deeply rooted in popular culture. I am very interested in society’s interaction with and perception of fashion, food, celebrity, sport, and entertainment. I strive to shed new light on our daily lives by removing easily recognizable objects, items, people, and symbols from their normal environment and placing them in fantastical, strange circumstances. By using such common iconography, I intend to create a piece of art that resonates with a wide variety of viewers. Above all, I want to create work that is timelessly beautiful, thoughtful, well composed, fun, and inspiring.