Heidi Cody has investigated American consumerism in her work for 14 years. It has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; in the Moscow Biennial; Roebling Hall Gallery, New York City; Agnew’s Gallery, London; and Savage Gallery, Portland, Oregon. The work has been featured in Adbusters, Advertising Age, Art in America, The New York Times, Flash Art, the Chicago Tribune, WIRED, Playboy, Salon.com, on ABC’s 20/20, and in textbooks ranging from Introduction to Psychology, to Designing Brand Identities to Preble’s Artforms. She has lived in Paris, France; Portland, Oregon; Connecticut; Los Angeles, California; and Chicago, Illinois. She lived for 10 years in Brooklyn, N.Y. before moving to Savannah, Georgia, in 2008. She will have a solo show in Munich at the Galerie der Moderne in 2011-12.
Operating undercover, my artwork gets viewers to consciously acknowledge how consumer culture seduces us. I research American brand icons and incorporate my findings into sculptures, drawings, prints and paintings. I needle the flash and glass of corporate marketing using slick lit signs and high gloss plastics. I put abstraction, word games, parody and absurdity all to use in various tongue-in-cheek efforts to poke our ubiquitous consumer culture in the eye.
The constant bombardment of ads, logos and billboards around us is so normal that we do not notice it anymore. The best shock therapy for this consumer coma is cognitive dissonance, which I create in my artwork by editing logos and trademarks. My spare images range from the unmistakable, to creepily familiar yet unplaceable. Punchy and abstract, these works draw viewers into the obsessive game of guessing each piece, the hilarity of adults turning into children outguessing each other, and the vertiginous realization that we all recognize more than we want to admit.
Julio Garcia was born in Cuba. He earned a B.F.A. in painting and a minor in printmaking from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1999. Following graduation, he worked under master printmaker Mitchell Bryant. Garcia has received contributions from Nazdar International for his exploration of the company’s screen printing chemicals. In 2000 he was awarded a printmaking residency to the Vermont Studio Center. The YUPO Corporation awarded him a grant in 2002 that gave him access to the company’s immense selection of synthetic papers. Garcia has been published in New American Paintings as well as numerous other national publications. His work was added to the permanent collection of Savannah’s Telfair Museum of Art in 2006. In addition, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta featured his work in the exhibition “Within State Lines.” In 2007, they selected him as one of the Young Movers and Shakers of the Georgia Art Scene. In April 2007, Garcia was honored to participate in the Visiting Artist program at the University of Florida where students had the unique opportunity to collaborate with Garcia on a series of his prints that were then published through the Alagarto Press. Garcia currently lives and works in Savannah, Georgia.
Although my work mindfully examines a variety of themes, both environmental and social, it is, at its core, a response to my surroundings––observations made of our modern-day context. Landscape is a reoccurring focus in my work. I explore the relationship between the natural and man-made environments and how developed areas––sprawl and highways––have altered the face of modern landscapes. My work is characterized by a sense of permanence. My methods, by the very nature of their technique, are permanent, even unforgiving. You can physically see how the work was created. The blemishes, a smudge of ink, a line carved past its mark, all serve to tell their piece of the story. As a result, my work embodies openness.
For the most part, I consider all of my work to be a study. Because of this, there is a compelling, on-going movement about my work, as my series tend to overlap.
Richard Gere is an artist, printmaker and sculptor who grew up in western Massachusetts. After studying music and art at the University of Massachusetts he attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to concentrate in printmaking. He has taken part in more than 120 group exhibitions and 20 solo shows exhibiting work throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Gere has taught art history and studio arts at Walters State Community College and Tusculum College in Tennessee along with Virginia Intermont College. He is the founder of the printmaking B.F.A. and M.F.A. programs at SCAD Atlanta where he chaired the department. He has been teaching at SCAD for 10 years and currently lives and maintains an active studio practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
With my last several bodies of work, I’ve conducted a fascinating exploration of order and chaos. I addressed nature’s decay and rebirth, the guiding hand of the spirit, the uncertainty of life, and the constant human urge to build, organize and control—all in a poetic and thoughtful visual voice.
Jimmy O'Neal was born in 1967 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was classically trained in painting at an early age, with interests in physics, science and biology. He was offered a scholarship to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated with a B.F.A. in illustration in 1992. In his second year at SCAD, he started showing work professionally in major galleries. He was offered numerous gallery and museum shows, international commissions, travel to Holland, Zurich and France, 3-D video work and recording contracts.
O’Neal then attended graduate school at SCAD where he began working on larger projects such as painting the world’s largest painting for the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995. After experiencing the immersive qualities of an 80,000-square-foot painting, he started working on interactive realities, conceptual time machine installations, and developed his own mirrored paint to immerse the viewer within a single brush stroke. With his interest in immersive work and the sociological systems they create, he was commissioned by Andreas Bechtler to produce an installation piece on a three hundred acre peninsula in 1999. This project, titled "OV Project," serves as a hikeable experience on a spiritual and esoteric level based in the sacred geometry of nature.
He lectures nationally and internationally to diverse groups such as museums, universities and galleries. His interest in sparking the creative mind has led him down many paths exploring diverse media while maintaining strength in classical forms. This has also led him to develop such technological artworks as “brain machine,” a device that paints from EEG connections to the artist. This work placed him in the public eye via television interviews, and he was chosen for a large-scale exhibition titled Painting 4, that included himself and three revolutionary painters from around the globe (Ingrid Calame, Katharina Grosse and Michael Lin) for the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, in 2003. With this came more museum shows as well as corporate commissions.
A recent large-scale mirrored work, "The Nine Muses," was installed at the new Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia in 2007, as well as a recent museum acquisition of the interactive "REVOL ANGELS." O’Neal is currently working on an solar electric hybrid car for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE with the emphasis on an affordable car design as a work of interpersonal, conceptual fine art.
He lives and works in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and three children. Artist statement
The piece "Sympathetic Magic" came from realizing a painting for the human reflection based on a conversation/demonstration with my son. We had been discussing the holographic nature of human perception due to our involuntary search for symmetry. Through the creation of the piece, we got into discussions concerning the condition and speed of our lenses and tools that are faster than our current reaction time as humans. My son came up with the thought and image of society being like a sloth with maracas. Nothing else said. We followed this image to produce "Sympathetic Magic" as an effigy projection of imitative energy toward a societal slowing to enjoy our very fast desires. —Jimmy O’Neal
Southern artist Jimmy O’Neal invigorates archetypal icons of myth and legend with new and immediate meaning through his use of scientifically augmented traditional materials, such as his own unique colorless paint that brilliantly reflects light as a mirror.
“The opulent showmanship of Jimmy O’Neal pushes the envelope of pictorial expectation to a point requiring modification of our descriptive vocabulary. His is a vision that embraces the breadth and depth of our collective cultural mythologies, independent of traditional time and space parameters. O’Neal seeks to document an individuated experience of the constant flow of consciousness,” said Bill Lowe. “O’Neal’s seductive painting reawakens within us a profound memory of mankind’s highest aspirations.”
Artist statement courtesy of the Bill Lowe Gallery
Rocio Rodriguez was born in Caibarién, Las Villas, Cuba in 1952. She attended the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, where she earned a B.F.A. in 1976 and an M.F.A. in 1979. Rodriguez has had recent solo and two-person exhibitions at Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, 2008; Zolla Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 2009-10; Pinnacle Gallery, SCAD, Savannah, Georgia, 2010, with SCAD professor Martha Whittington; and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta, 2010. Her work is included in the traveling group exhibition, "The Painter's Reel: Contemporary Painting in Georgia," which has exhibited in Georgia at the Museum of Art and Sciences, Macon, Georgia, 2009; the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, 2010; and the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia, currently on view through Sept. 26, 2010. Rodriguez’s work is included in public collections such as the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hyatt Hotel International, Paris, France; and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta. She lives and works in Atlanta.
My paintings have always addressed a binary position or a dialectic, which includes a world view that embraces differences, oppositions and contradictions—always seeking the essence of the subject by presenting it pictorially and conceptually in various ways. The subjects that I have used in my work have, at various times, acted as surrogates to address larger philosophical and conceptual concerns.
The present subject of my work is the world––and my relation to it within my personal and global sphere. The world is a highly complex structure politically, environmentally, culturally and philosophically. A barrage of information that is available to us within seconds inundates our lives. We live in what I call a global reality where we can witness multiple events occurring simultaneously, accessing innumerable amounts of information. All this data is received and processed, and a new fractured, splintered reality emerges. In my paintings, several realities co-exist; from a disintegrating cosmos, to foreign wars, to the silence of a private garden—parallel worlds existing side by side. They present differing dichotomies: the global and the personal, the natural and the mechanical, the concrete, the abstract, the ambiguous and the suggestive. Our lives are a confluence of chaotic and ordered experiences that we perceive on various planes. For me, painting parallels the complexity of this dynamic.
Martha Whittington was born in Gainesville, Florida. She earned a B.F.A. in sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, and an M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Recent solo exhibitions have been held for her work at Eyedrum, Atlanta, Georgia, 2006; Emory University Gallery, Atlanta; the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida, 2007; and Studioplex Gallery, Atlanta, 2010. Whittington has participated in several group exhibitions with the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Atlanta, 2007; Swan Coach House Art Gallery, Atlanta, 2009; and Pinnacle Gallery, SCAD, Savannah, Georgia, 2010. Whittington is the recipient of the 2010 Fulton County Arts Council Scholarship, Atlanta. 2010. She lives and works in Atlanta.
The installations employ mechanical mark-makers to constantly erase and carve a landscape for the viewer. They reference modern society’s removal from actual life experience in favor of artificial experience through machines and digital representations. Two ideas evolved during the process of constructing the machines.
My sculpture addresses the human experience, whether life and labor, or disease and death. I use site- specific installations to construct an environment or atmosphere for the viewer to observe and experience physically and emotionally. I create quiet, reserved environments that are devoid of the distractions of the outside world, but that speak of the outside world—of loss, of action, of turmoil transformed into order and of our own transitory nature. The composition arrives, is seen and passes away, as impermanent and ephemeral as a clear thought in the midst of chaos. It is much like our fleeting society: we move into a space, we start to make our mark, and we move on.
I employ light, shadow and reflection as object to create a perceptual shift from direct conscious viewing to subtle, unconscious experience. Neutral shades of black, white and gray reference the Renaissance technique of chiaroscuro and strengthen this perceptual shift. The environment created appears monastic: simple and sometimes fragile. The installations I create have a brief existence and are rarely ever reproduced after their showing. A still image, a memory or a recalled emotion is all that remains.
My underlying issues are sometimes environmental, sometimes acts of doing or movement and sometimes about randomness engaged with contemplation. Often I intend to create a reminder of things that have been forgotten but that should not be lost. Often I am trying to make sense of chaos.
Each installation involves the translation of singular materials into specific arrangements. The materials are industrial, simple and sometimes fragile. Similarly, the work is pared down to the essentials: shape, texture, light and shadow. The viewer is invited to become a part of the atmosphere of the space, to experience a moment of peace, or of remembrance, but certainly as a moment away from the clutter and chaos of the outside world.
Wendy White was born in Deep River, Connecticut. She earned a B.F.A. degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1993 and a M.F.A. degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Jersey, in 2003. White’s recent solo exhibitions include "Feel Rabid or Not," Galeria Moriarty, Madrid, Spain; "Borderland Abstraction," Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; "Maximal Minimal," Primopiano, Lugano, Switzerland; "Quick While Still," Heist Gallery, New York City and Motus Fort Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. Upcoming exhibitions include "Platinum Metre," Aschenbach & Hofland, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. A solo exhibition is scheduled for September at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, Illinois. She has participated in group exhibitions at such prestigious venues as Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis, Indiana; the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha; Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia; as well as galleries in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and internationally in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. Her work has been reviewed in the Huffington Post, Art in America, ArtForum, Time Out New York, New York magazine and The New York Sun. Her work is included in the private collections of Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City; the UBS Art Collection, Zurich, Switzerland; and ARCO Foundation Collection, Madrid, Spain. She currently lives and works in New York.
In this recent series, which was shown in April 2010 at Leo Koenig Gallery, New York City, I incorporate many familiar techniques of my work, such as multiple canvases configured to read as a whole, aggressive line work, acrid colors, and a generous helping of black paint. Added to the mix are outlines of letters and sculptural attachments that mimic written language.
My offhanded comment on the title of the work (“The phrase ‘Up w/Briquette’ champions the unaesthetic… a charcoal briquette is a dirty, sooty object with a paradoxically dainty French name…. and it’s an ordinary part of backyard American lexicon. The original pronunciation endures every barbecue”) belies the sheer visual impact and complexity of my large scale, vibrant canvases.
Language and communication figure prominently in my work. Billboards, street signage, and graffiti all express a kind of communication that I subvert and strip of its manipulative associations, forcing a querying rather than consumed response. If language contains within it the essence of a culture, then my canvases can be seen as approaching the fragmented, cursory modes of interaction that take place in our daily lives. Territories suggest text, but there are lines missing, messages truncated, and forms reversed. By using component canvases, I form a commentary on all sorts of concepts from modernism to urban planning and the contemporary obsession with compartmentalization of space.
A native of Perry, Georgia, Whitney Wood earned an M.F.A. in painting from SCAD Atlanta, where she was awarded the Artistic Honors Fellowship for graduate study. She earned a B.F.A. in painting in 2008 from Auburn University and studied at the University of Georgia’s study abroad program at the Lamar Dodd School of Art in Cortona, Italy. After graduation, she studied with the Rhode Island School of Design at the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art in France. Upon returning to the United States, Wood moved to New York City to intern with the Paul Kasmin Gallery and study under painter Larry Poons. Her international art collaborations include working in Shanghai, China, with a collective of New York and local Chinese artists, and an internship with international artist Patricia Esquivias in Spain, Germany and England. A change of environment has always been an important inspiration for her work. A recent nominee for the Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award for 2010, she now lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. Wood’s work was featured on the cover of Carnegie Hall’s Playbill magazine for November 2008.
“We need to know the textures, the rhythms and tastes of the bodily world, and to distinguish readily between those tastes and those of our invention.” —David Abrams
My work provides a field for contemplating an intersection of faith and reason with intuition and logic. It is driven by questions of a metaphysical nature such as how design and orchestration within nature affect our consciousness and how the extraordinary geometries within nature’s design demand the consideration of intelligent design as well as our notions of spirituality. It is important to me, as an artist, to develop a visual vocabulary that will encourage the viewer to examine these types of enigmas. Using both organic and highly controlled painting techniques, the resulting composition is a compromise between excess and restraint, impulse and logic.
I am interested in the augmentation of naturally occurring systems through the application of manmade structures. Within my work, I combine forms that are organic in creation with carefully placed and predetermined mark making. The linear hatch marks in the work represent a form of structure, a repetitive and ritualistic system that has been applied to the naturally occurring elements within this painting process. The combination of the two suggests the idea of a crossroads between faith, reason, instinct and intellect, which drives this work. This has been expressed through mark making on natural surfaces throughout history, specifically in ancient cave painting.
The idea of human intellect intermingling with the forces of nature fascinates me. I see this as a way to understand and even control self-regulating natural phenomena. It is this pattern seeking nature that allows us to perceive and form epistemological solutions regarding the symbiotic relationship between instinct and intellect. It seems to be a desire that is grafted to the root of humanity. This duality suggests an innate human interest in understanding the nature of the universe. For me, this distills down to a universal human longing for the eternal, for God.