MAC Gallery Opening Exhibition Set
College of the Desert’s (COD) Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts presents Konstructivism: Making Art Pop, an exhibition of paintings and mixed-media artwork by Ryan “Motel” Campbell and Chris Van Redman. The exhibition opens to the public Monday, Sept. 17 and continues through Oct. 18. A free artists’ reception is set for Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 5-7 p.m.; musical entertainment by DJ Daily Terrors, along with light refreshments, will be provided. The Marks Art Center is open Monday through Thursday from 12:00-4:00 p.m., and by appointment (760-776-7278). Works of art are for sale directly from the artists.
Both Campbell and Redman draw on the major lessons of modern avant-garde art, while at the same time creating a new mix that incorporates the vibrancy of graffiti, murals, and street art. Each has developed a personalized, signature style and iconography that compellingly illustrates their respective aesthetic platforms. For Redman, a.k.a. Konsume, “advertising and the logic of consumerism governs the depiction of reality in the mass media and the world around us...Konsume is more than art or design; it is an acknowledgment of the state of mind that keeps us unhappy.” With a nod to contemporary street artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy, he welcomes us to join the “revolution” and to imagine, and with Campbell, we witness another young artist who has accepted that invitation, and lives a life fully committed to art-making and education. Campbell’s love for the arts started with a deep connection to the large-scale, vibrantly colored murals in Venice Beach, and the name "Motel" was given to him by fellow street artists because of his "giving nature"—Campbell would open his house to anyone who needed a place to stay. “Being introduced to art through graffiti changed my perspective on art and execution,” explains Campbell. As a more mature artist, he now incorporates the color and energy of street art in his murals, illustrations, and Cubist-inspired portraits that are characterized by his trademark gestural geometric abstractions.
This exhibition acknowledges the art historical undercurrents in the dynamic work of these two up-and-coming artists, referencing in its title the influence of key artistic movements. Constructivism was an avant-garde movement originated in Russia around 1920, one that rejected the idea of art as separate from daily life, and instead viewed art as an explicitly social practice. This revolutionary approach synthesized applied design principles with aesthetic ideas about viewing the world with fresh eyes in order to make art available to all people. Constructivism was influential on the development of modern art, and informed the early 20th-century art and design movements known as the Bauhaus and De Stijl. Constructivist style is often associated with an industrial, angular style of geometric abstraction, and in this sense, is also closely related to Cubism, a style considered to be perhaps the most influential in the twentieth century. The most famous artist associated with Cubism is Pablo Picasso, and Picasso’s Cubist works analytically abstract their subjects, visually breaking down objects and figures and then reconstructing them from a multitude of viewpoints, using geometric shapes and sharp angles to represent a mobile perspective that invokes the continuum of space and time. Pop art, in its turn, challenged traditional forms and elitist attitudes in art, bringing mass culture and mechanical reproduction into the frame, and giving us Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s soup cans and golden Marilyns. The synthesis of all of these influences is on display in the work of Campbell and Redman, mixed with a dynamic individualism that makes their work more than the sum of their parts, but rather generating a fresh vision and a warm, generous invitation to us all to imagine, and to see the world through their eyes.