BRAND new masterpieces by lovely and wild Jimmy Trotter.
When looking at James Trotter‘s drawings it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that his artistic pursuits began as a child drawing Star Wars characters and writing graffiti while visiting his grandmother in Brooklyn. His interest in popular culture—music, comics, toys, garage sales, flea markets, and e-bay—find their way into his burgeoning toy collection and prolific drawing practice; he has made more than 500 drawings so far this year.
Originally from Miami, Trotter briefly attended KCAI and has stayed in Kansas City, making a career as DJ Superwolf, playing 1960s and 70s soul and funk records and dealing rare 45s overseas in the U.K. and Japan. Trotter maintains a three-pronged engagement to popular culture through drawings, toy installations, and music. His drawings range from quick line sketches to more elaborate constellations of cartoon characters in the vein of R. Crumb, along with food, corporate logos, body parts and records overlapping and interacting and fighting to make sense. Trotter is peculiarly un-precious about his work, which is strewn all over his studio and pinned to the wall. Trotter’s insistence that there are no “corrections” in his drawings demonstrates the conviction of his mark-making using only ink or gouache. He does not use pencil or erasers, although he has developed a recent fondness for white-out as an additional layer to the work. Concerns of conviction and correctness translate into the subject of Trotter’s work as well. He frequently voices his frustration with the United States, not in terms of politics, but more social frustration with political correctness and being afraid to say what one really thinks. While his views may seem brusque, he appears to be trying to get at the daily struggles that beset everyone as part of the human condition. Perhaps this angst is what turns him to music and toys, the safe-havens of childhood fantasy and escape. He collects vintage toys and records from the 1970s and 1980s: seeking out specific toys he couldn’t afford as a child, while others recall the abundance of free candy and toys symbolized by Halloween and Christmas. A tree-house overflowing with his toys, lights and a miniature train embodies the notion of a child’s (and perhaps adult’s) utopia of innocence. At first, I thought Trotter’s work must be a critique of consumption, but it is not. It is about value and resuscitating value into objects, ideas, and memories that are so quickly discarded. -- Julie Rodrigues Widholm (2007) Associate Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
at ADA GALLERY, 228 W. BROAD STREET, RICHMOND, VA. 23220
ADA Gallery is pleased to present "Paintings/Props/Intermediaries," an exhibition of new works by artist Bruce Wilhelm presented as a wall of sixty equally-sized paintings laid out in a symmetrical grid.
This new installation of works is a continuation of Wilhelm's interest in presenting groupings of his paintings as compendiums of visual puns rife with double meanings and re-purposed contexts searching for the accidental rhyme, the lost thread, or the forgotten punch-line. All the works can stand alone as independent works but viewed together they work with and against one another to produce new intersecting lines of thought and visual challenges for the viewer to assemble in the mind. This set of works addresses the eye's processes of scansion as one reads the wall as if perusing an anthropological collection, an appendix, or almanac of scrambled samplings of American life and mass media, mixing the hand-rendered with intimations of the world of mass reproduced images. His varied stratagems on display are a collage of thought processes that include foam pasted graphics torn from reference, incidental snapshots without context, faux science textbook detail images, absurdist takes on figuration, and vague graphic design concepts gone astray.
These paintings can be seen here as 'props'-- objects that serve as propositions or proposals for concepts and a multiplicity of personas or artistic identities. They serve as intermediaries of a kind between the artist and his desire for role-play-- the task of the painter he seems to suggest here is to engage oneself in a constantly shape-shifting survey of identities, formal strategies, art historical perspectives, personas, and invented personal histories that question the orthodoxies of the 'presentation' of artistic identity as a coherent, easily readable subjectivity.
Bruce Wilhelm earned his BFA in Painting and Printmaking at the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2004 and his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. He has appeared in New American Paintings Magazine and He has twice won the Virginia Museum Fellowship grant. As an undergrad, He received the Theresa Pollack Scholarship award in 2003 . He has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions including at Nudashank, Baltimore; Projekt 722 in Brooklyn and solo shows at ADA's former sister gallery Mulherin+ Pollard in New York City as well as numerous shows at ADA Gallery in Richmond, VA. Bruce is represented by ADA gallery and has been featured with the gallery at international art fairs in Dallas, London, Basel, Switzerland and New York City since 2006.
He currently lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.
and read the ART FORUM's CRITIC PICK regarding Alex' work at our former sister space in NYC , Mulherin + Pollard. Most of the same work, and some newer work are on view at ADA gallery in Richmond right now.
Novatny's oil paintings and drawings explore the tempestuous storm-tossed seas of historical tumult, elemental battle, war and disaster. Both private and public in manner, they simultaneously reflect the full sweep and powerful grandeur of their subject matter as well as reveal the intricate rendered gradations of his stark palette, mostly comprised of rich tonal fluctuations of black, white, and quieted grays, with muted earth tones.
With an anachronistic sense of the calm before and after the storm, his figures are fragments of the past and present struggling to remain whole against the psychophysical onslaught of devouring waves in a foreboding atmospheres–all of which is surrounded by the uncertainty of the blank white void. They constantly verge on being consumed and obliterated by this environment, but we know not were they end up. His solemn portraits of human fragility at times recall the spectral disquiet and mystery of 19th century photography.Their remnant scars and malformations heighten this fragility and are evidence of the sea's paroxysms. These pictures depict a floating, gravitation-less fictive space where his subjects exist as lost, dislocated figures caught in forgotten human dramas at once distant yet universal and hauntingly familiar. They inhabit a place where fervent echoes and shadows of time resound over the immensity and vast stretches of a dark and mute sea.
Novatny was born in Wadsworth, OH in 1964. He earned his BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH in 1987 and his MFA at the Yale University School of Art in New Haven, CT in 1990. His work has appeared widely in solo and group shows in galleries and museums from New York, New Orleans Atlanta, and Los Angeles to Berlin and Beijing. His work is in numerous museum collections including the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Knoxville Museum of Arts, and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He recently completed his first outdoor mural commissioned at a friend's establishment in Brooklyn. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.