OCTOBER 2017 – Paris, France
13 Art Fair – Urban Contemporary
featuring AJ Fosik, Ben Venom, Stephanie Buer, Curiot, Tengaone and Shohei Otomo
AJ Fosik – United States
AJ Fosik is an American artist who creates intricate, vividly colored three-dimensional pieces that reference folk art, taxidermy, and cultural rituals. Using hundreds of pieces of wood and found materials, he creates figurative and intricately designed three-dimensional works. His animal subjects and creatures are built using a complex assemblage of hand cut and varnished wood, painted in bright hues and layered into lattice patterns to create furry or feathered texture. Sharp teeth, claws and eyes emerge when the creatures are complete – some are constructed as freestanding sculptures while others are wall-mounted to a frame, referencing taxidermy practices.
Ideas of empathy and synthesis are a common duality in the work, whereby the anthropomorphized figures communicate the basic human condition. Totems and fetishes, as well as the “random, chaotic and arbitrary nature of existence,” fascinate Fosik; though less overt, the animals he creates represent a plethora of icons from various theologies, giving them the subversiveness of a cast of fictional, anti-religious gods. The artist delights in the endless interpretations the works have inspired in his viewers.
A graduate of Parsons School of Design, AJ Fosik has exhibited his works in numerous galleries throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia. His work has been featured in Graffiti Art magazine, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, VNA and many others. Aj’s work is also featured on the cover of “The Hunter” album from the band Mastodon,
Ben Venom – United States
These are not your grandmother’s quilts. Influenced by quilts from the remote black community of Gees Bend in Alabama, Ben took to his closet with a pair of scissors to make his own quilts. His work is a collision of fine art, craft and the fringes of society. These fringes include heavy metal, motorcycle clubs, punk rock, mysticism, the occult, folklore and paganism. Utilizing rock n roll t-shirts and recycled fabrics, these quilts take a nod from the past but break away into a completely new art form. This is Ben’s first time exhibiting in France.
Ben Venom graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2007 with a Master of Fine Arts degree. His work has been shown both nationally and internationally including the Levi Strauss Museum (Germany), the National Folk Museum of Korea, HPGRP Gallery (Tokyo), Jonathan LeVine Gallery (New York), Charlotte Fogh Gallery (Denmark), Wolverhampton Gallery (England), and the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. He has been interviewed by NPR: All Things Considered, Playboy, Juxtapoz Magazine, KQED, Maxim, and CBS Sunday Morning. Venom has lectured at the California College of Arts, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Southern Graphics Council, Humboldt State University, and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Recently, he was the artist in residence at MASS MoCA and the de Young Museum. Ben Venom is currently Visiting Faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Stephanie Buer – United States
Stephanie Buer, now based in Portland, had spent over a decade observing the urban landscapes in Detroit, MI. She has an intimate appreciation of urban desolation and a love for the once prosperous buildings that have been abandoned to time and the elements. Her works in both oil and charcoal capture with photo-like detail the layers of gritty history that accumulate as these places succumb to the manipulation of vandals, artists, and the steady persistence of nature. In the juxtaposition between decay and growth, Stephanie finds a place that echoes the peace she finds in nature, with its endless cycles of change. Part of the power in Stephanie’s work comes from the absence of human figures in a place clearly marked by them. Rather than allowing distant observation as narrative, she draws viewers in to witness the space that people have left behind, compelling them to personally experience these modern relics that have been condemned by society. The simultaneously idyllic, yet derelict scenes challenge viewers to question their notions of beauty, while the detailed texture and depth that is characteristic of her work invites them to explore these places personally, as she does while taking the photographs from which she works.
A graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit Michigan, Stephanie has exhibited works throughout the United States as well as at the Fort Wayne Mueseum of Art in Indiana. This is her first time exhibiting in France.
Curiot – Mexico
The origin of Curiot’s work comes from the spirit world. Each piece steeped in mythology and his native Mexican culture. Returning to Mexico after years away, Curiot embraced the vibrant colors, folklore and craft of his homeland. His recent works depict a glowing fluorescent yet soft alternate universe where ritualistic scenes bathed in color draw the viewer to the other side. The viewer will discover ancient native Aztec design elements among the inhabitants of the ever changing universe in his art. There is no date stamp on Curiot’s work. His paintings hover somewhere between the future and past with one foot in reality and one foot in fantasy.
A Graduate of the University Michoacana of San Nicolás in Hidalgo, Mexico, Curiot’s work has been exhibited around the world and featured in Beautiful Decay, Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz magazines. This is his first time exhibiting in France.
Tengaone – Japan
TENGAone is one of Tokyo’s representative graffiti writers. Focusing on the inner aspects of human thought and behavior in modern society, while quietly angered by the contradictions they evoke, focusing as well on society’s possible terminus, he depicts people as strange and comical creatures. He thinks that one of the essences of graffiti is “to guide the eyes of people on the street.” Considering the graffiti’s location, and the viewer’s standpoint, as well as how a viewpoint changes, his challenge is how to draw the attention of the viewer to the story made by his characters. His art work reminds us of social concerns, current events, or a scene from a movie, while, at the same time, they are living portraits that convey the madness, conflict, weakness, and sweetness that go hand in hand with life in the city.
Tenga has shown his work in the United States and Japan including an exhibition at the Seibu department store. This is first time exhibiting in France.
Shohei Otomo – Japan
Shohei’s work is influence by Japanese traditional art, manga and film noir. Growing up as the son of Katsuhiro Otomo, creator and director of the manga and film “Akira”, Shohei was most likely destined for the world of art. His ballpoint pen drawings never include more than what is needed. They usually feature a singular complete narrative that is told through a single character. The scenes feature a darker version of Japanese pop culture and rub the underbelly of hidden and forbidden culture.
Shohei has had exhibitions in Japan, United States, Australia, Mexico, France and Italy.
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