Press Release | Athen B. Gallery is pleased to present "Reset", a group exhibition coming to Oakland January 14th featuring the works of twelve local, national and international artists. Some of the artists in the exhibition, like Augustine Kofie, Dave Kinsey and Duncan Jago, are considered to be veterans in the urban contemporary movement. They will be hanging alongside emerging artists like Aubrey Learner, Christie Yuri Noh and Pakayla Rae. By hand selecting a diverse array of techniques, styles, and aesthetics, we have aimed to make this our most surreal exhibition to date. We're excited to have Smithe, Pakayla Rae, Kelly Ording, Duncan Jago, Dave Kinsey, Curiot and Augustine Kofie joining us for the first time. We couldn't be happier to welcome back Nicolas Romero, Martina Merlini, Jean Nagai and Aubrey Learner back for another exhibition at Athen B. Gallery in Downtown Oakland.
Be sure to join us Saturday, January 14th at 7pm for the opening reception of "Reset". We're conveniently located in Downtown Oakland at 1525 Webster St. just off both 12th and 19th st Bart Stations. The exhibition will be on view through February 3, 2017. To inquire about availble works contact firstname.lastname@example.org
AUBREY LEARNER | I am inspired by scientific illustration and the scientist/artist’s desire to observe and dissect and thereby control the natural world. Using this method and biological subjects as symbols, my work explores relationships between lovers and families from the clinical dorsal view. These experiences can be both beautiful and painful simultaneously, and my goal is to capture the vibration in between.
I appreciate the process of stretching watercolor paper and the tension this provides to the surface. As ground to my subjects, I ask the paper to become a sort of skin that forms and deforms the figure as it is both tortured and decorated by staples, insects, and surgical steel. What would normally be cut away- the taped edges with color studies and title ideas- I leave as field notes.
Aubrey Learner is a visual artist living and working in San Francisco. She holds a BS in Biology from the University of Akron and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been shown in the Bay Area as well as Los Angeles and New York.
Past Press: Juxtapoz
AUGUSTINE KOFIE | With a deep interest in process and structure, Augustine Kofie (b. 1973) creates works of intense detail centering order and tension in both his studio pieces and mural interventions. The precision of Kofie’s “drafted” art is inspired by mechanical drafting and the language of modern architecture and uses the paper detritus of the 20th century as building blocks. In his quest for balance, Kofie harmonizes opposing and contradictory dynamics, setting futuristic compositions against vintage earth-toned palettes and creating technically complex, meticulously structured formations through handmade line-work and layering. Active in the west Los Angeles graffiti scene since the mid-nineties, the artist’s work reflects the influence of the craft of deconstructing lettering, street culture, contemporary music, and 1960s-70s iconography to create a unique language.
CHRISTIE YURI NOH | Maker of paintings, objects, writings, and sometimes performance. Noh explores abstract and impulsive scenery as motifs to describe the idea of hyper-real space. Using ephemeral loops, non-linear narratives, and interactive images as patterns. Noh creates meditative environments, which suggest the expansion of time…
Noh earned her BA from the University of California in San Diego and her MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She has exhibited her work at many venues, including Pro Arts in Oakland (solo show), New Image Art in Los Angeles, Southern Exposure in San Francisco and DIY spaces such as Land and Sea in Oakland. Noh hails from Los Angeles and is currently living and working in Oakland, CA.
CURIOT | Colorful paintings, featuring mythical creatures, which allude to Mexican traditions (geometric designs, Day of the Dead styles, myths and legends, tribal elements), are rendered in precise detail with a mixture of highly vibrant yet complementary colors. Inspired from Pre-Hispanic cultures, nature and urban contemporaneity, the artist explores the relationship between man and nature.
Favio (Curiot) earned his B.F.A from the Universidad Michoacana de S.N. Hidalgo in 2008. His paintings have been exhibited in diverse solo and group venues including: Centro Cultural Clavijero, Cirlcle Culture Gallery, Zimmerling & Jungfleisch, Thinkspace Gallery, FFDG, Völklingen Ironworks, BMW Museum, CCBorder, Scope Art Fair, Stroke, among others.
DAVE KINSEY | In a 5 year stint that ended in 2015, I lived in a semi-isolated mountain town adjacent to Sequoia National Park where I took time to focus on my understanding of art making—process, theory and craft. Thru this I allowed myself to delve into nurturing my personal work which began my transformation into a full-time painter. What came from that Autodidactic experience allowed me to develop an understanding of how to concisely speak in a visual language of self-expression by use of tone, texture and feeling conveyed within the mood of the paintings environment. My works are made up of abstracted elements may be somewhat recognizable and are a mostly a product of the natural environments I frequently spend time in.
Live and work in Los Angeles, CA
DUNCAN JAGO | Living and working in Bristol, Mr Jago (Duncan Jago) is often described as a veteran of urban art. His childhood, spent in a small Suffolk village, was characterised by an intense interest in graffiti and comic books. This passion for art led him to study illustration at the University Of The West Of England. It was there that Mr Jago would meet the other members of what would become the now renowned Scrawl Collective.
Following immediate commercial success, which led to collaborations with some of the world's biggest international brands, Mr Jago’s early, doodle-derived mark making evolved, taking the idioms of spray painting to a level of sophistication rarely seen in the medium. Indeed, there is maturity and depth in Mr Jago's use of colour that hints at the mineral traces left by geological time, or the complex nebulae of deep space revealed by Hubble’s keen eye. Most recently, Mr Jago work has further evolved through the introduction of oil and impasto techniques, confounding Mr Jago's classification as either an urban or a fine artist. Mr Jago’s work has been exhibited extensively worldwide and is held in both public and private collections.
JEAN NAGAI | Current work explores the intersections of vanishing Northwest textural landscapes and pop culture themes. It is a contemporary iteration of the Japanese aesthetic tradition of Ukio-e, or, ‘floating world’, which refers to a “conception of an evanescent world, impermanent, fleeting beauty and a realm of entertainments”.
Expanding bodies of work include “Color Stratum”, which utilizes multitudinous layers of paint sanded into psychedelic patterns, “Red Earth”, a series exploring intuitive representations of Northwest topography, and “Celestial Bodies”, a series including huge, meticulously drawn portraits of divine, symmetrical bodies.
KELLY ORDING | My work encompasses a broad palette and wide range of media: from muted to vibrant colors and tones, from pen and ink drawings to paintings, murals, and public installations. Each piece employs intuition and intention to push the limits of minimalism and representation. Notions of reciprocity, expression, and restraint are central to my work; for instance, dyeing paper and canvas installs dynamic natural processes I follow by hand, along paths that flow between (the creative) subject and (created) object. The use of negative space is similarly central to these dichotomies of surrender and control, fantasy and memory, absence and speech. I’m especially interested in ways simple repetition, geometric patterns, and mathematical marking or mapping contain an inherent capacity to evoke represented subjects in the viewer. This vital balance – between representational and minimal composition, intention and intuition – allows me to be led by my art, and guides my practice today.
Based in Oakland, California, Kelly Ording has exhibited her work both in the U.S. and Internationally since graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000. In addition to her works on paper, canvas and collages, Ording has created several large scale public works and murals. Her public works and murals can be seen in San Francisco’s landmark Clarion Alley, Palega Park Recreation Center in San Francisco, Facebook Headquarters, Genentech, as well as other locations throughout the Bay Area and Internationally. She recently completed Artist Residencies at the Analog Research Laboratory at Facebook Headquarters, Menlo Park and Kala Art Institute, Berkeley. This summer, Ording completed a large-scale pavement project in Unity Plaza on Ocean Avenue in conjunction with the San Francisco Art Commission and the San Francisco Department of Public Works. She is currently an Artist in Residence with the Print Public program at Kala Art Institute where she is collaborating with fellow artist and husband, Jet Martinez.
MARTINA MERLINI | (Bologna, 1986) is an artist with figurative roots as an illustrator. She currently resides and works in Milan where she also obtained her degree at the European Institute of Design. Her work is known for being in constant evolution. Starting with illustrations, she explored new techniques and materials that are all reflective of her search for a formal balance and geometrical harmony. During last years she developed and perfected her own technique using wax and enamel, trying to define a rawness that reminds the typical casualty of nature, and yet the invisible rules that flow through it. Merlini’s work has been exhibited across Europe and the US.
NICOLAS ROMERO | An Argentinian artist who combines an obsession for the human body with a love of experimentation with people. His forms are idealized with "a religious slant". Nico brings his own symbology and mythology to his forms. His use of bright colors and patterns echoes his background in street art. Nico aims to give importance to the inconsequential.
PAKAYLA RAE | Rooted in her own visual experience, her paintings attempt to describe the passage of time and thought, simultaneously. Her work, more recently, influenced by basketball calls to attention the fragility and femininity to the inherent masculinity of the game. Her floral basketball paintings emphasize themes of applied value, wealth/luxury and eternal classlessness.
Pakayla Rae Biehn is a painter living in the San Francisco.
SMITHE | Influenced by old local comics, graphic style from the 50s and Sci-Fi movies, at the age of 13 he begins to paint graffiti just for fun and as a hobby. Autodidactic and evolutionary, attracted by fine arts, Smithe has constantly reinvented his own style and over the past years has tried out with many themes on his work such as Existentialism, Individuality of the human being and the machine within.
The defragmentation, common symbol on his work, is used as a vehicle to show the inside elements that power his characters and is shown as a surrealistic machine. He is commonly known for his graffiti but he´s also involved in other areas such as illustration, design, sculpture and music.