FRANCESCO IGORY DEIANA, TODD JAMES, STEVE POWERS, CONTEMPORARIES
Opening 20 September 2011 h 6 p.m.,
Until 04 November 2011
The Patricia Armocida Gallery opened the group show Contemporaries on Tuesday September 20th, 2011.
The group show, curated by Stephen Powers, presented the works of ten artists from both the U.S.A. East and the West Coast through a dialogue between the historical representatives and the new generations. The exhibited artists were: Todd James, Barry McGee, Steve Powers, Sean Barton, Davin Flynn, Francesco Igory Deiana, Aindriais Dolan, Mike Langley, Alexis Ross and Dan Murphy.
In the opening text, created for the catalogue of the show, Stephen Powers wrote: "In 1988 Barry McGee (b. 1966) gets a bicycle with a basket on the front and fills that basket with paint, He rides and starts writing around his home in San Francisco and in his travels that took him, notably to the best places for flat black signatures in the world; Sao Paulo and Philadelphia, the latter city is where Stephen Powers (b.1968) in 1989 starts publishing On The Go, a graffiti magazine featuring the innovative train paintings of Todd James (b.1969). Sometime in 1994 Todd was working in animation with Devin Flynn (b.1970) a likeminded craftsman of humorous brilliance, when he saw a copy of Stephen's magazine and recognized game. Steve and Todd start a running joke dialogue that continues to date. Todd also clues Steve into the fact that Aindriais Dolan (b. 1969) painted a train on the 2 line that some guy in philly took the credit for, and the exposure of the fraud resulted in the rediscovery of Aindriais and his influence on the next generations of writers, like the 25 year old Milanese Francesco Deiana Arnold (b. 1986). Also writing was Dan Murphy, (b. 1976), a native of Landsdowne PA who crossed paths with Stephen in Philadelphia and would later assist him on sign painting, This lost trade was also being picked up by Gent Of Desire Alexis Ross (b.1972) in Los Angeles , Construction/ Destruction manager Mike Langley (b. 1976) in Boston, and puzzle creator Sean Barton (b, 1978) in Pittsburgh. Sign painting has become a clubhouse for many of us, first literally in the Dreamland Artist Clubhouse in Coney Island (2005-2007) and figuratively in successive projects in Philadelphia (A Love Letter For You), Syracuse (Love Letter to Syracuse) and finally in Los Angeles (Art in The Streets). We are now contemporaries. Contemporaries is a state of grace I have yearned to be in since I was 16 and started venturing into the world beyond my neighbourhood to paint graffiti. I wanted to meet like-minded people and collaborate on art, jokes, and life. Through graffiti you meet all types of strangers, and most of them stay strange, but there are those that become partners and ultimately family. This show is our family. Not the whole family, but many of the immediate creative family I am proud to be a part of. We are contemporaries because we all came from different places, but we have very similar teenage years, and we want the same things as adults. To make good work and have fun doing it". Stephen Powers
Todd James (a.k.a. REAS) is an internationally recognized artist who began his career as a child in the New York City subway system. He is a co-creator of the seminal Street Market exhibition at Deitch Projects in New York, which was selected for the Venice Biennale in 2001. James' work has also been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Tate Museum in Liverpool, the Parco gallery in Tokyo, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Collette in Paris, Lopez galleria in Madrid, Lazarides gallery in London, Todd James is represented by Gering Lopez Gallery in New York City and V1 Gallery in Copenhagen. Todd James lives and works in New York City.
Barry McGee was born in San Francisco, USA, in 1966. He studied painting and printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute, completing a BFA in 1991. Next year Barry McGee’s work will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition at California’s Berkeley Art Museum, USA. Recent solo museum exhibitions include They Don’t Make this Anymore, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2008); Advanced Mature Work, Redcat, Los Angeles, USA (2007); The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2007); John Kaldor Art Projects, Metropolitan Meat Market, Melbourne, Australia (2004); Things Are Really Getting Better, Museum Het Domein, Sittard, Netherlands (2005); Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Boston, USA (2004); Prada Foundation, Milan, Italy (2002): UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2000); and Regards, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA (1998). McGee’s work has been included in museum shows including Art in the Streets, MOCA, Los Angeles, USA, The Anniversary Show, SFMOMA, San Francisco, USA (2009); Berkeley Art Museum, USA (2009); 2009 Lyon Biennale, France (2009); Life on Mars, the 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, USA (2008); Meditations In An Emergency, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, USA (2006); On Line, The Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark (2005); The Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool (2002); Drawing Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2002); The 49th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2001); and Indelible Market, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, USA (2000).
Stephen Powers, born and raised in Philadelphia's Overbook neighbourhood, moved to New York in 1994, where he gained attention as the publisher of On the Go magazine and the author of the graffiti History The Art of Getting Over. In 1997, Powers undertook an ambitious and far-reaching graffiti campaign of his own, using the official-sounding acronym ESPO (Exterior Surface Painting Outreach) to deflect attention from the illegality of his activities. By 1999, he had covered dozens of storefront grates with giant silver block lettering. Powers gave up graffiti that year to concentrate on studio-based projects. Power's work typically fuses word and image in paintings and graphics that evoke the bright look of handmade bodega and fairground signage while reflecting the artist's sense of humour. In 2004, he curated "The Dreamland Artist Club" commissioning artists to repaint signage in Coney Island. As a 2007 Fulbright Scholar, Powers teamed up with local residents to create public works in Dublin and Belfast. More recently he collaborated on "A Love letter for You", in which he had a twenty-artist crew transformed a stretch of West Philadelphia into an open valentine with a series of romantic messages.
Selected solo exhibitions: Days, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen Denmark (2011), Separating Light From Dark, Patricia Armocida Gallery, Milan, Italy (2008), Signarama, Deitch Projects at Art Basel, Miami, FL, USA (2008), SLEEP AND REPEAT, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Demark (2007), ESPO Bakery, Deitch Projects, The Armory Show, New York, NY, USA (2005), My List Of Demands, Deitch Projects, New York, NY, USA (2004) SELECTED GROUP EXHIBTIONS: Art in the Streets, The Geffen Contemporary, MOCA, Los Angeles, US (2011), Lots Of Things Like This, curated by Dave Eggers, Apex Art, New York, NY, USA (2007), Beautiful Losers, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (exhibition travelled to Yerba Buena Art Center, San Francisco, CA; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy; Le Tri Postal, Lille, France) (2004).
Special projects: Love Letter, project by Stephen Powers (2010), Waterboard Thrill Ride, part of Creative Time's Democracy In America Exhibition, Coney Island, NY, USA (2008), Dreamland Artist Club, Creative Time, New York, NY, USA Co-curated and participated in project where over 40 artists painted signs and attractions in New York landmark Coney Island. (2004), Street Market, with Barry McGee and Todd James, Deitch Projects, New York, NY, USA (2000), Indelible Market, with Barry McGee and Todd James, curated by Alex Baker, Institute Of Contemporary Art, University Of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA (2000).
Francesco Igory Deiana: born in Milan, Italy, lives and works in San Francisco. Known for his probing and large and ball point pen drawings on paper, where the flickeness of feelings shines through the gestual expressivity of lines. His pursuit bounds together the connections between man, nature and the social system we're linving in. His masks metaphorically represent the mental and behavioral barriers that civil society imposes to us, causing a condition of stress and frustation that is at odds with the primordial emotions generated by the nature, regulated by spontaneity and pure instinct. In his portraits natural and civilization elements are melted together through geometrical frames, becoming more and more abstract, up to the fading, like the clouds in his latest works: pure sensation.
Some of his past exhibitions: Goganga art space "out click", group show, May 2005, Milan, Italy; Biokip galley "Cool cat" double solo show, June 2006, Milan, Italy ; XPO gallery "In the streets", group show, 2006, Milano, Italy Minna Gallery "Hot Freaks", group show, August 2010, San Francisco, USA ;Garage sale project "Into my Wild", solo show, March 2010, San Francisco; V1 Gallery "Let's go bombing tonight", group show curated by Barry Mcgee and Josh Lazcano, June 2011, Copenhagen, DK.
Aindriais Dolan: making his way to the Bronx, NY by way of Killarney, Ireland, Aindriais Dolan adopted the moniker “PURE” in 1978 when he began painting on the streets. Heavily influenced by local legends, by 1983 PURE had moved on to painting in subways and on trains stored in the local “D Yard” before progressing to painting on jackets and ultimately creating fine artwork on canvas, a pursuit that remains his prime focus – alongside artistic compatriots like Stephen Powers – today.
Alexis Ross is a Los Angeles based artist who works in many mediums including mediocre sign painting, amateur photography, modern dance, homemade tattoos, mild criticism and playin' potsey down on the nickel. He worked on television commercials as Production Designer. He is founder of the social club Gents of Desire with chapters in Los Angeles, New York and London. The Gents of Desire are primarily a group of gentlemen from various backgrounds; who believe in proper grooming and doing everything with a touch of class. All members are required to follow these seven club rules. 1. Always project a fantasy. 2. Suit up and show off. 3. If you get warm take off the hot sweater. 4. Keep off the bandwagon. 5. No half steppin'. 6. Run up or shut up. 7. Never go back.
Mike Langley is based in New York and is an expert craftsman in several trades. He takes the same methodical approach to his work as with everything else, so his skateboarding and his paintings are as sound as his carpentry. He built The Dreamland Artist Clubhouse with Matt Wright and Stephen Powers, and He painted with ICY Signs in Philadelphia and Syracuse. He is currently contributing a good eye and good hands on several signs in New York.
Devin Flynn is an animator by trade. He created his own market by doing animated music videos for friends in bands like Providence’s own Lightning Bolt, which earned him some notoriety and resulted in various opportunities like a regular slot on Wondershowzen, video in the Liverpool Biennial, title sequence for The Aquateen Hunger Force Movie, and an opportunity to curate multimedia shows at Anthology Film Archive and Deitch Projects. All of these experiences contributed to and culminated in a stream of consciousness web series on Adultswim.com called Y’all So Stupid. Flynn is currently focusing his attention on making work primarily for galleries. Aside from drawings, an experimental video project is scheduled to debut in August 2010.
Sean Barton is a traditional sign writer by trade. From the Bay Area of California, he has traveled and made his home in Europe, Canada and in various cities around the United States. He is currently based out of Seattle, Washington where he lives and works. His recent body of work is both two and three-dimensional, encompassing his passion for surface,historical sign painting and our vanishing American urban landscape. Barton has exhibited throughout the United States and most recently in Tokyo, Japan and Portland Oregon.
Solo Exhibition: Ritual of Re-identification, Breeze Block Gallery, Portland, OR, 2011.
Group Exhibitions: Beautiful Losers, Laforet Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan, 2008; Static Free, Future Tenant, Pittsburgh, PA, 2005.