Plenty of Action, No Control
Charlotte Street Foundation's Urban Culture Project presents
PLENTY OF ACTION, NO CONTROL
NEW COLLABORATIVE WORK BY MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ AND PHIL SHAFER
OPENING FRIDAY, MAY 20, 6-9PM
Artists' Talk: Saturday, May 21, noon
(a Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project venue)
23 EAST 12th STREET, KANSAS CITY, MO 64105
(Kansas City, MO) - Charlotte Street Foundation's Paragraph gallery (an Urban Culture Project venue), 23 East 12th Street, presents Plenty of Action, No Control, an exhibition of new and individual and collaborative work by Miguel Rodriguez (Las Vegas, NV) and Phil "Sike" Shafer (Kansas City, MO). It opens with a free public reception on Third Friday, May 20, 6-9pm. The opening will be followed by an artist talk on Saturday, May 21 at noon.
With this exhibition, Rodriguez and Shafer, peers and friends since studying together at Kansas City Art Institute in the late 90s, combine efforts to shape a dramatic, multi-media environment in which issues of identity, race, politics, and pop culture are confronted. The mix of work featured - from digital prints and murals by Shafer, to sculptures and wall pieces by Rodriquez, to collaborative installation - takes cues from the entertainment industry, including cinema, theatre and club venues; from graphic design; and from the streets.
"Popular culture, politics, current events and social archetypes are a life-long obsession of ine, all of which I take to heart in ways that create persistent anxiety," writes Miguel Rodriguez, who studied ceramics at Kansas City Art Institute, and went on to pursue his MFA at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he studied with ceramic artist Mike Burns and artist historian/critic Dave Hickey, among others. His work was later shaped by the experience of working for a year at a casino sign fabrication company, where he was introduced to EPS foam sculpting, rubber mold making, and auto-body paint.
He continues: "My vision is one of grandeur, where themes of socio-political commentary, mortality, and emotional drama are woven into iconic imagery that expresses an innate sense of populism and vernacular aesthetic. Yet I am genuinely trying to capture something sublime... by using bright complimentary color and smooth sparkling surfaces I hope to endow my sculptures with an inner light and luminescence inspired as much by Bernini and the Illuminated Manuscripts as by custom Hot Rods and Low Riders."
Phil Shafer's work, and his identity as an artist, graphic designer, and individual, is similarly hybrid. "I am the product of clashing cultures, and being bi-racial gives me a unique perspective on society and design. I grew up in Brooklyn in the 80s when the city was saturated with hip-hop culture; when I came to the midwest I missed the smell of rain on the city streets and the look of a freshly painted tag on a brick wall. Being cognizant of the dualities in my own life inspires me to mix messages and double meanings into my art. In my print, web, and t-shirt designs, I make visual mash-ups by ripping themes from pop culture and the nightly news and mutating them to reflect my reality."
Currently based in Las Vegas, Miguel Rodriguez received his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute in 2000, and his MFA from University of Nevada - Las Vegas in 2003. He has taught ceramics at UNLV, curated numerous shows, and shown his work at a range of venues, including Las Vegas Art Museum and Contemporary Arts Center, Las Vegas. He has also completed several public and private commissions, including three sculptures commissioned by Clark County Wetlands Park, Clark County, NV. Rodriguez was awarded a fellowship grant from the Nevada Arts Council in 2009.
Phil Shafer graduated from Kansas City Art Institute in 2000 with a degree in photography and digital media. He is a graphic designer for KU Medical Center and owner of Sike Style Designs, where he makes apparel under the Sikenomics brand name. Recent exhibitions include Where It's At, a solo exhibition at University of Central Missouri Art Gallery, Warrensburg, MO; KC Hustle 2, Third Eye Gallery, Kansas City, 2010; The Proper Assortment,Emerald Space, Kansas City, 2009; Opposition, KC Artists Coalition Underground, Kansas City, 2008; and an untitled solo show at Mercy Seat Gallery, Kansas City in 2008. Shafer is a current Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Studio Resident at Town Pavilion studios.
Visit www.sikestyle.com for more information.
Charlotte Street Foundation is dedicated to making Kansas City a place where artists and art thrive. Through its Urban Culture Project initiative, Charlotte Street supports artists of all disciplines and contributes to the city's vitality by transforming previously vacant spaces into dynamic venues for multi-disciplinary contemporary arts programming. For more information, visit www.charlottestreet.org.
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