Hionas Gallery is pleased to present Microphone Check, a multi-media exhibition comprised of new sculpture, mixed media collage, and abstract paintings by Karlos Cárcamo. For this show the artist introduces the union of seemingly disparate forms, joining hard edge painting and graffiti tagging, sculptures that mimic the gestural three-dimensional movement of spray paint, and the constructed nature of city landscapes vs. hard edge abstraction. The resulting dynamic is one that evokes both the storied and respective histories of abstract art forms and urban culture.
The influence of music – old school hip-hop in particular – is evident throughout Cárcamo’s body of work. The artist’s process is very much a conceptual extension of sampling, in which a DJ mixes a variety of break beats, melodies, verses, and lyrics to achieve something utterly original. In the case of Microphone Check, Cárcamo mixes the high art forms of formal abstraction, Arte Povera and Pop art with subcultural art forms like graffiti, breakdancing, and hip-hop music.
For his Hard Edge paintings, a series that began in 2008, Cárcamo takes as his inspiration the graffiti tags of various figures from the late 1960s and 70s, including writers like Stitch One, Comet, Snake One, P-Nut, and DJ Kool Herc, all of whom have their names included in the titles, preceded by the ubiquitous “Hard Edge Painting.” In this instance, “Hard Edge” is both a reference to the popular post-painterly motif made famous by 60s-era artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Karl Benjamin, as well as the provocative and controversial practice of tagging public spaces. For each work, Cárcamo begins by recreating a particular tag then applying complementing layers of color, which partially conceal the underlying graffiti while allowing the fluid writing to dictate the placement of forms.
Cárcarmo has also created two new microphone sculptures specifically for Microphone Check, constructed from commercially bought microphone stands which are then manipulated various degrees using a pipe bender. For the wall-mounted work on and on and on on and on (2012) (a reference to a verse from Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”), the artist captures the gestural flow of a graffiti tag while methodically draping the microphone and cables, resembling the movement of excess spray paint trickling down a wall. The other work, entitled rockin’ and clockin’ and shockin’ and rockin’ (2012) (from Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock”) is comprised of two intertwined stands placed atop a linoleum platform, an ode to the surfaces used by breakdancers.
A limited edition exhibition flyer, designed by Cárcamo, will be available for purchase on opening night. The public opening reception for Karlos Cárcamo: Microphone Check will take place on Friday, June 8, from 6:00 to 8:00pm.
About the Artist: Karlos Cárcamo (b. 1967) is originally from San Salvador, El Salvador, and was raised in Jamaica, Queens. Since earning his MFA from Hunter College in 2000, the artist’s work has been exhibited in various venues throughout New York City, including Artists Space, The Brooklyn Museum, PS1 Center for Contemporary Art, El Museo del Barrio, PS122 Gallery, Longwood Art Gallery, Queens Museum of Art, and Bronx Museum of the Arts. Other prominent venues include Museo de Arte de El Salvador, Jersey City Museum, Dean Project, and White Box. His work is in a number of private and public collections, including El Museo del Barrio, Deutsche Bank, and Museo de Arte de El Salvador. Cárcamo lives and works in Beacon, NY.