October 14th- November 13th, 2010
I wish so much I could be in New York to attend the fantastic art show of Javier Piñón on October 14th. His works reference a wide range of visual precedents, from the French academic William-Adolphe Bouguereau and British Neo-classicist John William Godward to American illustrator Maxfield Parrish and pop-culture cult icons like Frank Frazetta.
He unites the compositions in palette, light and tone with snippets carefully culled from mid-century magazines like Arizona Highways and The Time Life Nature Library, a group of books the artists studied as a child.
The artist was born in Miami, Florida and raised in Houston, Texas where he became engrossed with the ideals and expectations of the American West and vintage Americana, in general. His work has been featured internationally in shows including El Museo del Barrio’s Bienal and the Beijing Biennale. Piñón received a 2007 artist fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). His work and the exhibition will be previewed in the October issue of Modern Painters.
Greatest inspirations or influences?
Most of my work is inspired by mythology of one sort or another. From classical Greek myths to stories of Christian saints to more modern fantasy. In this new body of work I have been looking into aspects of Goddess worship and a more nature-centered spiritualism. I see the women in these collages as priestesses or acolytes to the earth goddess Babalon. The worlds they inhabit are all constructed from images that I cut from books I've collected, like the Time Life Nature Library and Arizona Highways magazines, which have some truly beautiful nature photography. I'm also always looking at other artists work for inspiration. This work feels really connected to the paintings of William Bouguereau and I've also been drawn to Maxfield Parrish. Now there is a guy who thought of Nature as his church.
Most interesting place you have seen your art work?
I love seeing my work in someone's home. It's a rare thing because the galleries handle sales and it's not often that I get to meet the people that buy my work. But when I do get a chance it's really special. Its the highest praise when someone likes your work enough to want to live with it.
Favorite galleries in the world?
Well, I have to be a little biased here and say ZieherSmith. Aside from the fact that they represent my work, they have a great stable of artists who are all doing really unique and exciting things. And they're managing to grow and develop in this crazy art world while maintaining their integrity and vision. Outside of the family I really love Sikkema Jenkins for their program. More than a few of their artists are on my top ten list. And James Cohan has what I think is one of the most beautiful gallery spaces in NY.
What would be a dream project for you?
I've been wanting to make a book for a long time. All of the images that make up my collages come from books that I have deconstructed and so it makes sense that they should end up back in book form. My work usually has a strong narrative anyway and it would be great to flesh them out into a more detailed visual story.
I actually don't spend a lot of time online. I've been told I'm a bad facebook friend. Most of my internet time is spent on Ebay or abebooks.com searching for collage materials. I also like artnet.com and artinfo.com to keep up with current art related events. My wife Mara ( * designer we love at ninu nina) recently turned me on to some great blogs that have been a real inspiration while making this most recent body of work,
- ladylavona.blogspot.com and witchmountain.tumblr.com.
- Mara's blog of her own work and inspirations is really special too, marahoffman.com/blog/.
- Brian Belott is another collage artist and he is a magician. You should check out his work, brianbelott.com.
Anything else youd like to share with our audience?
There is still magic in the world. Somewhere along the way we've just lost the knack for recognizing it. Slow it down, look around you, take a deep breath and tap in.