It is a great pleasure to present Brush Strokes - an exhibition by Todd James (US) and Lydia Fong (US) aka Barry McGee. Their seminal exhibition Street Market - with Stephen Powers that premiered at Deitch Projects in NYC and travelled on as part of the American contribution to the 2001 Venice Biennale - changed the American art map permanently.
A new group of American artists entered the arena with a novel approach to contemporary art and an innovative visual language. A group rooted in skateboarding, graffiti, surfing and underground music. Many critics and writers have tried to bracket and label this group of artists as Beautiful Losers, Lowbrow or the Mission School; none of these labels seem quite adequate. We like to refer to them simply as artists.
Todd James is from the east coast. His works on paper and canvas reflect on contemporary issues, such as the dilemmas of consumer culture, should we buy Chanel or Gucci, should we invade Iraq or Iran, should we do it for democracy or treasure. Old power hungry men with crude skulls, busty ladies smoking cigarettes, aircraft carriers, fountains of blood and buckets of gold round dance together in a bright palette. His poetic, dynamic and distinctly humorous style engages the mundane and the extraordinary at eye level, creating room for instinctive reflection. Todd James is a New Yorker to the bone and his works carry a dry NYC wit.
Lydia Fong is from San Francisco on the west coast. He works in a wide variety of media, paintings on wood, drawing, photography and sculpture. Barry McGee’s unmistakable artistic style is a mix of delicate drawings, strict geometrical systems, bold statements and photos documenting him self and his friends or fellow artists working in the streets. His work is influenced by, and reflects upon contemporary society, especially those that tend to be left behind by it, or choose not to play by its rules. In his work destruction and chaos go hand in hand with beauty and tenderness, just like in the real world beyond the gallery walls.
The title of the exhibition “Brush Strokes” is elegantly lifted from the notorious renegade art TV-show that aired on Manhattan public access TV, which in a humorous way interacted with the New York art scene. Brush Strokes is still available on You Tube. Todd James and Lydia Fong have exhibited widely throughout the world, from galleries and museums to public walls in cities of all sizes.
This will be the first collaboration between Todd James and Lydia Fong since they worked together on the travelling museum exhibition Beautiful Losers, curated by Aaron Rose, now also available as a book and a documentary film of the same name. We are excited and honored to present Brush Strokes and look forward to celebrating the opening with you and the artists.