Jim Kempner Fine Art is pleased to present Oh You Pretty Things, an exhibition of new paintings by John Grande. It is his first solo exhibition at the gallery. The paintings in this exhibition are hybrid images of Damien Hirst’s Spot paintings remixed with photographs of 20th and 21st Century icons. Oh You Pretty Things will be on display from January 16th through February 23rd, 2014. The opening reception is on Thursday, January 16th, from 6- 8pm.
Oh You Pretty Things is a contemporary exploration of appropriation art, merging topical imagery from art history and the media. Grande’s hybrid paintings confront the viewer with pervasive issues of mass production, thus expounding the fatalism inherent to the art world and media alike. In 2012, Grande visited Damien Hirst’s mega exhibition The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 at Gagosian Gallery. Grande’s initial reaction was that something was missing. This dissonance created a conceptual spark in Grande, who used the image of the dots as a guise for the beauty and tragedy associated with being in the spotlight. Grande painted the dots over black and white images of celebrities who have fallen victim to the media, which act as colorful veils over a deeper disturbing truth. Some of these celebrities include Whitney Houston, Truman Capote, Kurt Coban, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland, and Damien Hirst himself. The portraits are borrowed from Richard Avedon and other renowned photographers.
Grande began his appropriation journey in 2008. He used contemporary fine art photography as his reference point, making beautifully crafted photo-realistic copies of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills. Grande received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and worked as a professional C printer at several photo labs in NYC. He printed the work of Annie Leibovitz, Miles Aldridge, Jack Pearson, among others. Exposure to these remarkable photographs led Grande to shift from painting his own photographs to painting from photographs by illustrious photographers. Later Grande integrated branding symbols, advertising logos and other evidence of contemporary culture to add conceptual layers and expand his compositions.
Grande was one of the last artists Colin De Land added to his stable at American Fine Art, marking a major turning point in Grande’s career. Grande was one of De Land’s last studio visits before De Land’s passing in 2003.
John Grande has exhibited internationally and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Solo exhibitions include 2009 My Cindy, Your Cindy at Sara Nightingale Gallery in Shelter Island, NY; 2009 Glamour and Gloom at Cerasoli Gallery in Culver City, CA; 2007 Fake Plastic Things at Engine Gallery in Toronto, Canada; 2005 The Women Behind The Windows at Gallery Bibianne in Toronto, Canada. Recent group exhibitions include 2012 BLING! at Jim Kempner Fine Art in New York City, NY; 2011 Emerald Cotoure at The Hole in New York City; 2011 ManTamed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 2011 Iconoclasts & Iconodules Curated By Ombretta Agro at RELIGARE ART in New Delhi, India.
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