Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present FOLKLORE, an exhibition of handcrafted works that celebrate the simple and direct experience of visual enjoyment. Curated by gallery artist Evan Hecox and featuring artists from the United States, England, and France, FOLKLORE offers a view of contemporary practice that synthesizes art, design, and photography into a new vernacular. Created across a range of media, these works are catchy and infectious like a summer pop song, while drawing viewers into underlying ideas about modern life.
FOLKLORE brings together a confluence of multidisciplinary talent, including artists Andrew Paynter, Andy Jenkins, Andy Mueller, Benjamin Deberdt, Cody Hudson, Ed Templeton, Evan Hecox, Geoff McFetridge, Jay Nelson, Nathaniel Russell, Nigel Peake, Peter Sutherland, Serena Mitnik-Miller, Stephen Powers, Stevie Gee, and Thomas Campbell. Many of the artists will be present at the opening reception on July 11.
Among them, the Colorado-based artist, designer, and exhibition curator Evan Hecox exemplifies the “contemporary folk” idiom. His work layers architectural imagery derived from photographs with high-contrast colors, vintage typography, and found material like old newspaper print. Culling through the detritus of modern life and culture, Hecox precisely combines, edits, and emphasizes, using strong colors, lines, and design concepts to assert a dynamic new vision synthesized from the past.
In his role as FOLKLORE curator, Hecox has selected artists who similarly draw on common, everyday material as the root of a shared vernacular. The Brooklyn- based gallery artist Stephen Powers works in the most iconic format of American visual culture, the handpainted sign. Undertaking massive public-art projects, from community murals in Ireland to signs along a Philadelphia commuter railway, Powers infuses the fun, eye-catching graphic style of vintage signage with wordplay, witty puns, and personal aphorisms. As an artist, he transforms public commercial space into a heartfelt exchange between intimates, captured here for individuals in his smaller, handpainted “daily metaltations.”
California artist and skateboarder Ed Templeton sees the world and his relationships through a distinctive lens—one thing just glides into another, then the next, and so on. This evolving continuum of personal and idiosyncratic images is often presented in epic collections of small-scale drawings, paintings, and photographs, presented in flowing and seemingly haphazard installations that appear to grow organically, like a busy life well lived.
In another example from the exhibition, artist Geoff McFetridge has developed an immediately recognizable cartoon style and vocabulary of images that he deploys in fine art, commercial ad work, and hand-drawn, stop-motion animation. At once homespun and sophisticated, these flat yet subtle images possess a genuineness and humanity that evoke instant feeling. Like several of his peers featured here, McFetridge was distinguished in the seminal 2005 exhibition Beautiful Losers, which brought renown to the “DIY” movement of street-based and collective art practices that emerged in the late 1990s.
All smart, innovative, and original, the artists and work that Hecox has assembled in this group exhibition are infused with a vitality and honesty that shrug off any need for complicated explanations. Building towards a contemporary folklore, these 16 artists have defined their own ways of working and communicating, creating art with a strong, independent spirit.