Stephanie Chefas Projects is pleased to present Summer Collective, a group exhibition featuring new work from nine contemporary artists, including Ben Willis, Carissa Potter, Jeffrey Cheung, Laura Berger, Leslie Vigeant, Mako Miyamoto, Maxwell McMaster, Mia Farrington, and Ryan Whelan. From geometric abstraction to photography, this exhibition covers an extensive scope of contemporary artistic movements.
The pattern paintings of Ben Willis derive from concepts of optical art. In contrast, his use of material allows him to go beyond visual depth, adding a third dimension of suspending paint, iridescent pigment, and glitter in many layers of resin. Willis says, “My patterns do not just end in paint. Their repetitive nature has provided a fluid outlet for collage, digital, mixed media, and installation in my work.”
Carissa Potter‘s artwork reflects her hopeless romanticism through investigations into public and private intimacy. Speaking humorously and poignantly to the human condition, Potter touches chords we all can relate to, exploring familiar situations and conveying messages we simply long to hear.
Concise female figures commune, dance, and support one another in Laura Berger‘s paintings. Each character is an individual totem and an integral piece of a larger composition upholding the communities created within each of Berger’s paintings. Shadowy echoes of figures mirror their more vivid counterparts, evoking a sense of history and unity. Ghostly apparitions seem to lend their support and serve as a reminder of past generations.
Jeffrey Cheung‘s bright figurative work celebrates queerness within his personal life and within skate culture. He is a prolific maker, whose vivacious art examines freedom, identity, and intersectionality through bold color and intertwined characters. Cheung’s figures stem from his homoerotic zine-making practice and have grown into larger-than-life paintings. On canvas, his playful androgynous characters fearlessly take up space, blend together, and unite playfully in non-binary identities. His genderless body-positive world questions the boundaries of sexuality, body, gender, and race. Cheung’s simplistic line-work of gender nonspecific bodies offers a clever yet loving response to the heteronormative male gaze, creating a more inclusive and accessible entry point.
Using the Western construct of femininity as her base, Leslie Vigeant‘s work considers the hierarchies of low vs high and expectations vs reality while exploring the impossible standard of female beauty and the lengths women contort themselves to attain it.
Mako Miyamoto is known for his cinematic landscapes brimming with vivid Wookie characters and compelling narratives. His subjects transcend any level of campiness to embody something beautiful and even profound. With every image, Miyamoto unapologetically lures the viewer into a realm that exists somewhere between the real and the imaginary.
Maxwell McMaster‘s work typically takes inspiration from his native state of California. Maxwell uses color, shape, and texture to enhance and deepen scenes from his travels and everyday life. Typically minimal in design yet somehow complex in appearance, Mcmaster’s images invite the viewer to reflect on life and its mysteries while reminding us of the beauty in it.
Mia Farrington‘s art aims to bring color to the forefront. The hues are controlled and contained by a continuous hard edge, making color the focus and, ultimately, the object. The paintings become about relationships and perception. How the colors influence each other, how they communicate with the surface, and the texture of the canvas. From far away, the edges look flawless, like so many perceptions in life, yet once experienced up close, the viewer realizes the intimate imperfections.
Ryan Whelan strives to achieve strong contradictions in his work, no matter the subject. Ordinary becomes magical. Simple turns complex. Imperfection becomes perfection. In his latest work, Whelan explores the romanticized world of agriculture from the perspective of a city boy, only to undermine his own heightened musings with stark revelations. As a result, the work takes on gritty undertones, even as waves of green fields bask in the midday sun. In the most direct and visual ways, Whelan wonders if the grass is indeed always greener on the other side.
The opening reception for Summer Collective will be held at Stephanie Chefas Projects on Saturday, July 27th from 5-8pm. The exhibit runs through August 24th.