The title of this exhibition suggests a loose play on the French term Avant-Garde, which dominated Europe and the Americas during the early 20th century. With the art world shifting away from Europe in the mid 20th century the term faded away, or rather died, for various reasons. Following Abstract Expressionism and later Pop Art, the notion of the Avant-Garde and its desire to shock and invent seemed by then irrelevant, if not dated. Who needs radical when you can have irony? When used today the term has merit for the sheer connotation it holds; often still used casually to describe artists whose work is forward thinking or who break new ground. For better or worse, the term has remained part of our lexicon. With this in mind, the works in Avant-Grave revisit the ideas behind the term.
It is through this lens that these four artists, each of whom are not beholden to any specific genre, continually explore the periphery of modern art in their work while challenging themselves through the use of quotidian art making materials. By means of a rigorous studio process and a considered outcome each artist repurposes, reconsiders, and stretches the current definition of painting and sculpture.
Though the title includes the term ‘grave’, the exhibition does not embrace mortality or death. Instead it concerns itself with rebirth and renewal. Through focusing on materials and imagery that is less ironic and narrative driven and by mapping out uncharted territory through constant exploration, these four artists allow for constant renewal and reinvention in their work.