Long-Sharp Gallery Explores Materiality and Pop Culture Through A Social Lens – Dec. 2 – 7, 2014

Among the contemporaneous constellation of fairs that occupy Miami during December art week, Long-Sharp Gallery presents a survey that explores materiality and pop culture with “Graphite to Gigabytes” – a new exhibit at SCOPE Miami Beach during Art Basel. Whether applying pencil to paper, sanding down lines of steel, repurposing found objects, bending light or incorporating digital media, the chosen means of communication is integral to each artist’s personal vision in this exhibit. Parallel themes of celebrity and culture are especially compelling in this context at SCOPE Art Fair, which for a second year will be taking place on glossy oceanfront of Miami Beach.

“Graphite to Gigabytes” will be on view at Booth D25 at SCOPE tents between 9th and 10th Streets at 910 Ocean Drive. The VIP and Press Preview takes place on December 2, and the fair will be open to the public from Wednesday, December 3 to Sunday, December 7.

Selected by gallerist Rhonda Long-Sharp, the show’s eight participating artists are internationally recognized for their mastery of material and for their unique ability to address issues about how society uses language to express cultural influences on human interaction. Emerging largely from a contemporary pop sensibility, the presence of words, conversation or code is a theme that especially connects “Graphite to Gigabytes” artists.

It all begins with Andy Warhol, the iconic and seminal figure who has influenced generations of artists and irrevocably changed how people look at celebrity and culture.  Highlighting two of his famed screen prints created for the music industry (Miguel Bose and Rats and Star), “Graphite to Gigabytes” examines the next phase of pop-influenced artistic expression.

David Spiller and Chris Bracey employ entirely different working practices to examine societal truisms, and also both adopt fragments of poetry, iconic song lyrics, or popular phrases that often go unquestioned by the mainstream.  Spiller takes pop expressions that have slowly entered the cultural consciousness, giving them new immediacy with clean lines, strong color, expressive drawing and freehand words or text.  Whether riffing on Beatles lyrics, adding cartoon characters or utilizing a strong geometric construct, Spiller can make audiences see a cultural fragment with new eyes – and new style.

Similarly for Bracey, his choice of neon literally illuminates these sentiments; he combines old found neon with his own formed words and images, creating objects that both simplify and explicate these universal concepts.

Exhibiting work for the first time during Art Basel week, artist Wayne Warren aptly states, “All art is about making sense of the world we live in.” Largely exploring our fixation on consumerism and materialism, Warren’s work wittily combines miniaturized everyday objects – bottle tops, used razor blades, spoons, small toys – painted gold and transformed into treasured objects of desire. He plays with the balancing act of consumer desire and its implicit moral cost.

David Kramer takes a more personal approach, dealing with issues of self-exploration tinged with a healthy dose of neurotic musings and self-deprecation. His outlook is urban, truthful, a tilted look at the American dream framed against the reality of coping with the everyday.  Incorporating his own writings – often diaristic in nature – juxtaposed against expressively painted and drawn images, his paintings present both a sense of place and a state of mind that can produce the best kind of awkward laughter.

Gino Miles has consistently been interested in the classic harmony between man and nature, using spare visual language for his small and large-scale aluminum, stainless steel and bronze sculptures, creating lyrical forms in tight balance with the negative space around them.  His latest series moves into new territory, distilling common acronyms – FYI or MIA for instance – into the symbolic dots and dashes of Morse code.  These simple phrases are completely transformed in the process, an elegant twist on how we see and use language, the literal vs. the poetic.

The works of video artist and painter Jason Myers often start with a single figure, contained in a space that is both physically constrained and psychologically weighted, symbolizing himself or people important to his own history.  In “Visual Noise” an ambiguously drawn black stick figure is slowly covered by hand-written words and phrases, until, overwhelmed by the barrage of information, the figure is obliterated, gradually re-emerging from the scribbled darkness in a different form.

Russell Young uses a visual language of pop-culture to explore our celebrity-obsessed society, with a nod to Andy Warhol. His point of view is that of an outsider, looking for access to the American dream, at the same time reflecting a certain nostalgia for a time when individual imagination provided the fuel for these dreams. Young’s images use a palette of pinks, silver, black, yellow and blue filtered through a scrim of diamond dust, a symbolic and lyric vision of our collective cultural preoccupations.

“Graphite to Gigabytes” presents a dynamic view of how artists creating in a range of mediums have developed their own visual vernacular to interact with audiences. Based in Indianapolis, Long-Sharp Gallery’s participation at SCOPE Miami Beach arrives on the heels of their successful premiere at the New York edition, which took place in March 2014.

“Graphite to Gigabytes” by Long-Sharp Gallery at SCOPE Miami Booth D25

First View (VIP & Press): Tuesday, December 2 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Cardholders only.

Show Hours: Wednesday, December 3 to Sunday, December 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

910 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33130

For more information about admission and the fair, visit www.scope-art.com.