PHENOMENON, 2015

OHNO Gallery

OHNO Gallery

 

Description:

Seven paintings addressing the concept of supernatural phenomenon.

LES CALANQUES, 2015
40”H x 68” W 
Oil on canvas with carved frame.

Hitchhiking from Paris to Arles I was picked up by the artist Daniel Buren. Allowing myself at a young age to wander I ended up in Marseille. Daniel said I must see the Calanques - which at the time I had no idea what he meant. For many years Les Calanques was a mysterious place. Recently upon completion of the installation “the Mesmerizer” at the Grotte mas d’Azil I made a quest to find Les Calanques. I spent several days hiking and drawing along the bluffs of the Calanques on the Mediterranean outside of Cassis. “The Mesmerizer”, the cave and Buren’s stripes were fresh on my mind. Simultaneously my fathers impending death had me thinking about my Welsh ancestry. I was drawing Welsh dragons. During the course of this painting my father did pass away. There have been prescient moments in the course of my career and this is one of them.

TRANSMISSION, 2015
48”H x 60” W 
Oil on canvas with extruded aluminum frame.

Hiking down in the Rio Grande valley I came across several petroglyph’s depicting a deer hunt. Typical in my work I spend time at a site to feel and hear the surroundings all the while recording these moments in drawing.  Days later I was climbing the remote Kachina peak near Taos and came upon an array of radio antennae at the top of the mountain. The two sites were conveying a message - one visual depicting an historical event and the other invisible yet quite apparent in the highly contrasting geography. I immediately made a connection between the two sites due to the visual similarity of antennae. Inverting the deer silhouetted by the moon seemed to enhance the radiation of the silent message between the two objects. The deer is about to be or has been skewered by the antennae prompting the notion of sacrifice.  

TOROIDAL CORTEX OF SHEEP, 2015
48”H x 60” W 
Oil on canvas with carved frame.

The Festival of San Geronimo at the Taos Pueblo features a pole climb where the clowns attempt to climb a 50ft wooden pole where the bounty (sheep, gourds, fruit) is suspended by a rope at the top. When the climb is achieved the clown releases the bounty to the ground. Referencing the abstract minimalist painters I energize the graphic illusion of the cavity of a toroidal. Within this illusion all the objects are flowing as though they were the cortex of a brain during a dream sequence.  The Western children's game Snakes and Ladders comes from the Indian game for adults called Gyan Chaupar, the “Game of Knowledge.” The ladders start from squares with virtues, such as devotion, and move the player up the board. Snakes are found on squares of vices, such as jealousy, and take the player back down the board. In this case the rope becomes the snake.

FLUXUS STATION, 2015
48”H x 60” W 
Oil on canvas with extruded aluminum frame. 

Growing up during the vestiges of the cold war and watching Hollywood espionage films like “Ice Station Zebra” - Fluxus station thrusts the telescope from the slit of the bunker searching for the moment that never comes. The bunker in the shape of a coyote pays homage to Fluxus member Joseph Beuys and his piece featuring a coyote “I Like America and America Likes Me.”

WOOD IN THE WOOD (PAPILLON), 2015
60”W x 48”H 
Oil on canvas with carved frame.

Referencing Fluxus artist Joseph Kosuth, Wood in the Wood echoes Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs. One and Three Chairs demonstrates how an artwork can embody an idea that remains constant despite changes to its elements. In the case of Wood in the Wood there is the tree, the carving and the milled lumber.

The underlying reference is a nod to conceptual thinking. The carved eagle, albeit static seems to be on the verge of life while the surrounding wood has been milled, torn and discarded while the source (mother) looks on.

LANL 33, 2015
60”W x 48”H 
Oil on canvas with carved frame. 

LANL - Los Alamos National Labs, Los Alamos, New Mexico. The 33 remains a mystery, as does some of the history and current undertaking of the labs. The title comes from a sign on the chain link fence outside the large radio dish on the way into Bandolier National Monument to study the petroglyphs of the Ancestral Pueblo culture. The paranormal attributes of the Bandolier site next to the Los Alamos dish seemed as though we are communicating to something outer-worldly. The moon acts as the dish and is a metaphor for a cosmic entity.  The bird monument symbolizes the metamorphosis of a bird into stone.


COSMIC WHEELS (after Donovan), 2015 
60”W x 48”H, 
Oil on canvas with carved frame. 

From Sputnik to the Mars Rover we have watched the advancement of space travel and the quest of mankind searching the cosmos for answers that ultimately ask where we come from. Space matter and galactic debris represent the big bang theory and the quest to understand our beginnings. The coyote represents the transformation of species (matter). The eagle/egg is the causality dilemma.  The cosmic wheel (hexagon) is the mathematical language of man - the science of life. A fragmented sprue 01 is both a personal reference to my early work and a binary number for which we relay messages.

Exhibition History:

PHENOMENON
Bryan Ohno Gallery, Seattle Washington 

PAINTERS WHO FUCKING KNOW HOW TO PAINT
Center on Contemporary Art,
(COCA)
Seattle Washington
June 7th - July 14th, 2018

Bibliography:

Clemans, Gayle.
COCA’s group show demonstrates the continued power of painting
THE SEATTLE TIMES
June 27th, 2018

Worssam, Nancy.
Phenomenon
THE SEATTLE TIMES
June 5th, 2015

Cover page
Fluxus Station
THE STRANGER
Art and Performance Quarterly 
Vol 2, Summer, 2015


Phenomenon