Scott Anderson, James Collins, Stevie Dix, Joakim Ojanen
8th - 11th March, 2018
Rod Barton is pleased to present Scott Anderson, James Collins, Stevie Dix and Joakim Ojanen for our booth presentation at NADA New York. The three artists present a varied and unique breadth of practice that showcases the gallery’s commitment to experimental and inventive practice with a global sensibility. Our presentation, featuring painting and sculpture invokes a consistent oscillation between varying states of being within an artist’s process. The inevitability of play, the production of frustration and the importance of taking oneself seriously.
Scott Anderson is an American painter who approaches his canvases with a serious and dedicated rigour. Informed by his own relationship towards painting, formulated by his teaching and career spanning Kansas, Chicago and New Mexico, Anderson constructs full and complex scenes that are seductive with their composition whilst formulating conversational aspects within the confines of the painting. Figures are distorted yet remain outside the realm of grotesque. Rather, they appear in the liminal space between ritual and the familiar. Figures in Anderson’s paintings are fractured, yet remain recognisable within abstracted and carefully developed scenes that oscillate between the recognisable world we inhabit and a realm that belongs to the canvas solely that we can interpret but never inhabit. The visual and the real are dissected wherein the planes of the paintings are unpacked to reveal and conceal shifting existences.
James Collins is an artist who is often characterised as a painter with a capital P. Collins’ paintings combine interests in relationship-oriented sensibilities towards painting; and pragmatic, structure-based organisation of imagery. Tonal Values and material weight carry huge significance on the operation of painting. Heavy positive and negative nascent forms are built, subverting carved impasto lines creating a dialogue of contrasting methods. Like looking through the reverse of a stained glass window, Collins’ paintings act as realms of concealment where his plastic-like oils create an undulating fog that subvert our gaze as well as directing it.
Stevie Dix is a Belgian painter whose abstract conglomerations of shape, line and evocative almost- figurative-matter collide into expertly resolved compositions. Her paintings bring up notional residues of almost recognisable meanings in the viewer’s mind. They create chains of associations allowing the imagination to excrete itself into the liminal space. Their ongoing rhythm and direction are compelling and their composition and framing make them feel almost like a staged dream. Nothing quite in focus and yet everything is where it is meant to be according to the artists sensibilities. There is a strong sense of opposing forces colliding in which her resolution can be both highly polished yet fraught with frustrated energy. They are decorative yet probe through a contemporary anxiety. They are instinctual yet carefully constrained. Stevie’s work combines the great Western traditions of banal and fictive horror to create scenes that are neither here nor there but experiential in design.
Joakim Ojanen’s ceramic sculptural pieces seek to highlight and fracture the paintings of both Anderson and Dix. Ojanen’s creations seem, on first glance, as if they have been pilfered straight from the pages of a newspaper comic strip. However, unlike Calvin and Hobbes, there are no life lessons to be gleaned from Ojanen’s sculptures. Childlike figures appear disembodied, as if snatched from their pre- adolescent bodies to become pickled in jars or placed on the shelves of demented alchemists, undisturbed from the moment of their decapitation with party hats adorned and their ceramic skin still gleaming as if moistened by the act of living. His constructions are still frozen at the moment of their hastened bodily departure with facial expressions fixed somewhere in-between a rotten head cold and exposure to the vacuum of space. Alongside his heads, his full figures seem to exist both before, during and after the fact of separation. Some play disembodied on top of their brethren’s heads whilst others stick their noses in tree stumps or use domestic pets as beanbags. All are stuck in a process of frightening play that Ojanen’s practice itself is deeply rooted within.
All four artists carefully dance around the act of play and instead work within that which is perishable. Time stands still, acts in reverse and folds back within itself to realise all three artists as commanders in chief over their domain with rigorous and resolved works that eschew any trappings of the ’otherwordly’ to deliver us into our world, twisted and reconfigured.