Press Release | June 11th marks the One Year Anniversary of Athen B. Gallery opening its doors to the Bay Area community. With monthly exhibitions and numerous public art projects ranging from sculpture installations to murals, it’s been one hell of a year. We would like to express our gratitude for the opportunity to serve the neighborhood and its art community. We look forward to more years of receptions, mural tours, class visits and open studios.
To commemorate the anniversary, we have created an exhibition for the community with 15 talented locally and internationally based artists that embody the core aesthetics we value as a creative space. The viewer will enjoy a range of work from ceramic sculptures, paintings, illustrations, neon and mixed media
CANNON DILL | FRANCO FASOLI | HERAKUT | KYLE LYPKA
LAURA BERGER | LEIGHTON KELLY | MERYL PATAKY | MICHAEL REEDER
NICOMI NIX TURNER | RICKY LEE GORDON | SERGIO GARCIA
SHERYO AND THE YOK | TROY LOVEGATES | ZIO ZIEGLER
Opening Reception | June 11th at 7pm
On View Through | July 1, 2016
Cannon Dill is an American artist that is best known for his murals executed in a distinctive style – a pen and ink drawing with common themes such as spirit animals like wolves and coyotes. Dill went to California College of the Arts to study printmaking and generally sticks to large-scale work in a black-and-white palette.. The artist is most inspired when working in the moment. Working on murals allows Cannon to interact with the city, its people and weather, all of which inspire him to create specific elements on the spot for that mural. An interesting fact about Dill is that his colorblindness influences his color palette.
Franco Fasoli Jaz
Franco Fasoli, aka JAZ, started his career as a graffiti writer in Argentina. His work has evolved from letter based works to a complex figurative style that employs his unique materials such as asphaltic paint, petrol, tar and glue. These materials allow him to create his own technique of mural painting that results in a watercolor-like luminescent and transparent effect that has never been seen in the urban art scene. Through motives like lucha-libre-style wrestling or hybrid creatures like minotaurs that many times occur mirrored or as part of a mass, he is dealing with Argentinian culture and the issues that come with it. Usually they are locked in combat and attest to metaphoric violence or the bipolarity of the human mind.
Jasmin Siddiqui, aka Hera, was born in Frankfurt, Germany. She has a classic art education, taking lessons from various artists. Her art education started at the age of eight. She has also studied Visual Communication and Graphic Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden. Jasmin creates fluid figures with simultaneously elegant and chaotic line and brushstrokes created by a combination of acrylic and aerosol media. Hera also lends poetry to the work in the form of her own writings with the same elegant yet urban style. The writings are often a statement on the human condition and experiences of childhood.
The other half of Herakut is Falk Lehman, known as Akut, from Schmalkalden. Faulk been immersed in the graffiti world since he was 14, the same time graffiti wave reached his hometown in 1991. His story of his introduction to graffiti directly inspires the work he creates. He states, “Due to our complete lack of knowledge, guidance or even the tiniest link to the real graffiti scene, we had no problems ignoring the fact that graffiti always puts letters first. Oblivious to this fact, we focused on painting characters. Our approach was to make them look cool to us but also as realistic as possible.” Together with CASE, TASSO, and RUSK, he formed the MA’CLAIM Crew, which is nowadays worldwide renowned for their photorealistic style in graffiti. Akut studied Visual Communications at the Bauhaus University in Weimar.
Herakut collaboration started when they met at the Urban Art Festival Sevilla in Spain in 2004 and began working together to create a signature style characterized by melancholy and romance. Together they create large scale outdoor murals around the world and paintings for exhibitions that are richly textured with mixed media installation that take over exhibition spaces and transform the environment. Akut meticulously layers aerosol onto their collaborative pieces to create areas of photo-realism for their figures, especially in their eyes that seem to look deeply into our souls. The Herakut duo describe themselves as storytellers that combine visuals with written messages. Unlike most graffiti and street artists, anonymity is not part of their concept because they gain a lot of inspiration from sharing thoughts with all kinds of people.
(B. 1987 Philadelphia, PA) Not formally trained in ceramics, Lypka has aimed to achieve strong technical abilities through an intense practice in his studio. With a dedication to experimentation and a propensity for trial and error style learning, he has been able to explore while staying within the boundaries of the ceramic material, and the dependable subject of the figure. His work attempts to exist inside paradoxical and in-between spaces, ironic and sincere, personal and general, literal object and symbolic illusion. Kyle has been living and working in Oakland, CA since 2011.
Laura Berger is based in Chicago, working primarily in acrylic and gouache and also enjoys making works out of clay and creating short animations. Her work is focused on exploring the connections to the self and each other as well as the idea of finding novelty and adventure in everyday life. Berger is interested in and inspired by rituals, symbols, nature, dreams, travels and a quest for self-development. The artist's work features playful and free female nudes in different compositions and activities.
Does what he wants and lives the dream one day at a time.
Hailing from the south of Florida, Meryl Pataky moved to San Francisco in 2002 to attend the Academy of Art University. She fell in love with the tactile nature of sculpture and pursued a BFA in the major. Her focus consistently revolved around the elements found on the periodic table, the fundamental components of her practice as a bender of neon glass.
From silver and copper to neon, iron and carbon, Meryl's work makes a statement about the material of the greater universe. Meryl combines her technical skills with myriad materials with her own personal narrative, building complex, staggering artworks that invite the viewer to divine the threads that influenced her process. Meryl's latest works explore the process of combining materials and elements to form otherworldly organics.
Michael Reeder’s figurative art explores concepts relating to identity. He is currently focused on examining the defining elements of the individual which together create the distinct formation of self. Through repeatedly working from the limited reference of one person, whom Reeder himself does not know, he constructs a fresh identity with each new painting. Michael cleverly utilizes ambiguity to show his protagonists living in a kind of limbo where their identities appear within reach, often being strengthened and aided in their definition by the clean, crisp contours of their graphic and void-like backdrops, yet their personalities are somehow blurry and distant, as if a key component is missing. By constantly working in a free flowing manner and allowing his subconsciousness unlimited scope within his creative process, Michael’s portraits remain open-ended, encouraging conversation and welcoming the projection of our own self-identities. Michael Reeder was born in Dallas, Texas in 1982. He graduated with a BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since then he has pursued a career as an exhibiting fine artist, alongside the work he does as a freelance graphic artist and also his work at Eyecon Studios, a custom mural and design company based in Dallas.
Nicomi Nix Turner
Nicomi Nix Turner is an artist based out of Northern California. Creating detailed illustrations that invoke a surreal understanding of the perfection in nature, Turner delves into the occult and the connections between alchemy, mythology, decay and birth. Her hyper-detailed illustrations capture the coexistence of life and decay in a bouquet of fungi, personified insects, bones, flesh and fauna. About her work, the artist says, “The pieces I create reflect subject matters pertaining to biological deconstructionism, nature's legacy, alchemy, fables and counter-religious belief. In an orchestra of hyper-textured saturation, each piece is a cacophony of silent movement and erratic soliloquies.”
Ricky Lee Gordon
Ricky is a self-taught artist born in Johannesburg in 1984 and now lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. He is well known for his large-scale murals that can be seen in cities all over the world, from Cape Town to Istanbul and Kathmandu.
Having painted under the pseudonym Freddy Sam (his two grandfathers names combined) since 2010, he has now chosen to work under his real name. His paintings explore the nature of non-duality (oneness) and interconnectedness focused on bringing to light relevant social issues. His intention with his murals is to create artwork that has meaning to the community who will live with the mural and to represent a universal idea that everyone can identify with and be inspired by. His studio work has become the antithesis of his public murals as it allows for a more meditative environment to create and allows for him to explore deeper into his ideas without compromise.
“We, as humans, are naturally drawn to the unorthodox. I have always enjoyed the use of the unconventional as a base for my artwork. I enjoy creating art that people can relate to and that stimulates the creative subconscious. Not only to create an emotional relationship between art and viewer, but to conjure up questions of how and why. It is this desire to create a connection with the viewer that fuels my creativity.
My passion is creating a perfect balance of light and shadow. Light is the core of my artwork. Without light there is no art. Without art there is no life.”
Sheryo + The Yok
Sheryo is a Brooklyn-based Singaporean visual/mural artist who started painting in the streets in 2005. Her art seeks to investigate, analyze and document the human psyche and frustrations towards contemporary lifestyles and its mercurial nature. She works across mediums from 2D paintings to 3D sculptures, installations and moving images. Her style, often referencing pulp illustrations, skateboard graphics and her unabashed affinity for kitsch, comes across as jovial, surreal imagery that speaks to those who grew up admiring ’80s and ’90s skateboarding and surfing culture. She has exhibited and painted murals around the world with Yok.
Yok is an Australian born artist who grew up fuelled by Ren and Stimpy cartoons and skateboarding graphics which had a heavy influence on his style. After gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree at Curtin University from 1997 - 1999, Yok had a yearning to see and do more elsewhere which lent to his travels and exhibitions in places like Melbourne, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo and London. The Yok has been invited to many street art festivals around the world, most notable Miami Art Basel 2014 and 2015.
Troy Lovegates, widely known as, "OTHER", creates ambitious large-scale mural works with precision and detail. A street artist from Canada, his works are heavily patterned, saturated with color and incomparably dense and rich. Lovegates builds figures and motifs through heavily condensed mark making. The figures in his work are sympathetically drawn with equal parts caricature and realistic observation. Lovegates is constantly revising and adapting previous efforts, reintegrating them into current bodies of work that reflect the history of their making.
Zio Ziegler is a local Bay Area painter whose work is is driven by his intuition and process. Ziegler is known for his intricately patterned paintings and his large-scale murals that can be seen in major cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. His work reflects the diverse influences of late medieval and quattrocento painting, aboriginal, African and naive art, and the European graffiti movement. His subject matter reflects the human condition, with reference to allegorical, mythical and artistic lineage. He paints in the belief that his paintings complete themselves by triggering self-discovery in their viewers.
ABOUT THE GALLERY | A curatorial focus on process and cross-pollination, Athen B. aims to exhibit unique process driven exhibitions by collaborating artists from different areas. From Urban to Contemporary, our project is dedicated to representing the best of our Bay Area community and our extended family abroad through exhibitions on our walls and the walls of the neighborhood.