Wanted to write a bit about Aaron Curry and Ivin Ballen, a couple of artists recently featured on the KCLOG whose work shows a strong commitment to process, materials and craftsmanship. Their work has a specific West/East Coast feel to them, but what makes it unique is their ability to balance creating art out of seemingly throw away objects/imagery with a carefully considered and executed approach.
Aaron Curry’s recent show of new sculpture and works on paper at Michael Werner Gallery uptown continues to work in the easy, loose style that the LA-based artist has developed a reputation for. Curry's materials consisted of wood and cardboard earlier in his career, but the recent works are mostly fabricated in steel. Despite the heaviness of the material the works have an unusual light-hearted cackle to them because of the artist’s willingness to allow the shapes to exist in a primitive, naturally absurd way.
In addition to presenting these contrasts in structure, his color choices also demand attention; yet feel sophisticated at the same time. Using fluorescent purples, bright oranges or the sparkling sheen of a California Lowrider…Curry is clearly influenced by his West-Coast surroundings.
For his works on paper, he gathers source material from pictures in books, comics, magazines, advertisements and treats them with a real cut-and-paste collage feel. As in his sculpture, he uses open negative space to develop his loose, seemingly haphazard compositions. But upon closer inspection…the works appear to be well thought out before being silk screened on the paper, leaving himself carved out white space to scatter loose brushwork with meticulously painted water droplets.
Had the opportunity to check out recent some sculpture/paintings from Ivin Ballen at Pulse during Armory week. Ed Winkleman, his gallerist and writer of the excellent edwardwinkleman.blogspot.com was very gracious and insightful in discussing his work.
Ballen takes the temporary nature of found objects, casts them in resin and gives them their own identity by altering the surface with familiar and unexpected color applications. He keeps a pretty good running blog of his studio practice and offers some insight into his process for a finished piece.
Working with a mash-up of found objects of packing supplies of tape and cardboard, he dresses up the structures with surfaces reminiscent of soft pillows or garbage bags inflated with air. This interplay of familiar and re-imagined objects is what allows the viewer to question if the illusion of the found materials actually becomes more desirable than the ready-made originals.
Looking at his most recent work it appears that he’s blurring the lines even more by offering variations of complex works, as well as paintings developed with simple, modern shapes and creating a homage to objects such as stop signs and a large, pink tongue.
All Ballen images via www.ivinballen.com