I've had the great fortune of meeting and talking to two other really talented artists this week as well. On Tuesday, a recent MFA graduate from the University of Oregon, Robert Dewitt Adams, was gracious enough to invite me to his studio here in downtown Eugene. A few weeks back, I had become instantly enamored with his portfolio of large scale graphic-design inspired acrylic canvases. Rob's work includes found objects, and interesting elements like sand and pebbles. Rob focuses on powerful symbols, like signs, letters, numbers and corporate logos. My first gut instinct was to lump this work in with Pop art. I suppose "lump" sounds perjorative, I really do appreciate pop art, I just find that its a hard style to reinvent in a truly fresh, unique way. Luckily I was able to see the originals, and talk to Rob about his process, thus being able to really broaden my understanding of what Rob is trying to achieve with his bold, thoughtful works. Though much of Rob's art focuses on images borrowed from popular culture his work doesn't seek to glorify consumer products or mass produced images. Instead, he seems to be taking a closer look at how these processes affect our interactions, our attention spans, and how these artificially created, digestible chunks of metal real estate get bought and sold. And he does all this with a great sense of humor and a keen aesthetic eye. I think he work is exceptional, and I hope to be able to get him a show soon.
I was also lucky enough to get a visit from the very lovely Yellena James, whose work I first fell in love with while cruising the Nucleus Gallery's La Femme exhibit catalogue. I was very happy to discover that she lives here in my native Oregon, and she was kind enough to pay the gallery a visit on her way down to San Francisco for a show she's having at Giant Robot. I was so floored by the originals that she showed me. Her small scale drawing and painting have such character! I had seen her prints on her site, and on her Etsy portfolio and had been really curious as to her technique. They are even more impressive close up! Every tiny line and shape has its own presence and voice. They are the ultimate visual eye candy. Luckily for me she liked the space, and we're trying to plan a show as soon as possible.
Yellena James, Allusion, pen and ink on paper, 8x10