These four artists capture a range of distinctive painterly styles that explore abstraction, identity, and the authentic self. The artworks on display in this exhibition are a visual confection that eschews convention in favor of uncompromising vulnerability. With cultural signifiers as disparate as Nike dunks to NASA satellite imagery, mysticism to muscle cars, this body of works is a bold reimagining of the outdated concepts of masculinity and modernity.
Erick Antonio Benitez is a first generation Salvadorian-American artist. Spanning multi-sensory new media installation, performance, video, sound, and painting, his multidisciplinary work examines the relationship between the human condition, mysticism, and the natural world. His paintings incorporate stylized illustrated characters, ritualistic symbols, and ethereal compositions. Warm hues and vivid linework bring his paintings a richness that is reminiscent of the American Southwest.
Liam Cotti (a.k.a “Crispy Tostones”), creates paintings that explore Latin/American pop-culture, art-historical appropriation, and urban bootleg culture. His interest in “readymades” and appropriation stems from his early introduction to bootlegging, working as a studio assistant for an infamous Botero Counterfeit artist in Colombia at the start of his art career. His artwork combines gestural brush-strokes, spray paint, and graffiti-esque mark-making to create a raw, energetic visual vocabulary. Cotti draws inspiration from sources as eclectic as hip-hop, sports, celebrity icons, streetwear fashion, and pop culture. Crafting compelling paintings that play with societal fixations on fame, fortune, and opulence.
Darian Longmire complicates the notion of a universal experience of what it means to be black, by going beyond his personal identity and experiences to focus on something that is truly universal, the Universe itself. Remixing NASA satellite imagery of outer space into abstract paintings, Longmire is intrigued by the linguistic usage of “blackness” as a common lexicon for cosmic bodies within the field of astrophysics. Specifically, Longmire strives to articulate “the dichotomy of blackness through invisible matter, black holes, and time warps.” Longmire amplifies his cultural explorations of time and space by incorporating elements of digital printing, science fiction, and techno culture.
Edward Salas is a Colombian-American artist exploring the complexities of American identity
through painting, ceramics and other media. Salas’ new paintings and sculptures challenge archetypes of ‘manhood’, by portraying a fractal multiplication of male figures in repetition of absurdist actions. These transmuted depictions of bodily mitosis are metaphors for generational trauma in relation to the concept of the American dream. In the paintings, there is a focus on cars and motorcycles as American symbols of freedom as well as an underlying aura of darkness as a vehicle for self destruction.