BOSI Contemporary is pleased to present Aggro Crag, a group exhibition featuring ten painters working and living in New York City. Derived from the Nickelodeon game show Guts, the title refers to the innocence, nostalgia, and ephemera from the early 1990s. Featuring Trudy Benson, Polly Shindler, Ian Swanson, Joyce Pensato, Katherine Bradford, Devin Troy Strother, Jason Stopa, Amy Feldman, Russel Tyler and Austin Eddy this exhibition highlights simple gestures and digital culture. Paramount to this exhibition is the artists’ capacity to manipulate form and color to create visually powerful imagery.
Katherine Bradford and Joyce Pensato, two artists who came into their own unique, quasi- figurative approaches in the 90s, have set the stage for a generation of New York painters concerned with aesthetic, gesture and poetic transference. Joyce Pensatos’ latest work riffs on Batman, Daffy Duck and The Simpsons with an uncanny tendency to render the familiar, strange and new again. Pensato’s large-scale painting, Punk Homer, contains a frontal portrait of Homer Simpson placed on enamel on linen, back-lit, and outlined with splatters of paint. Shedding light on the darkness lurking within Pop iconography, Pensato’s subtle humor is emphasized in her loose brushstroke. Painted with thin glazes, Bradford’s work Super Flyer, critiques and illuminates the heroic figure, superman soars atop a colorful spiral set against a dark, layered, blue void.
Exhibiting alongside these influential painters is a younger generation of artists who were adolescents at the end of last century. Trudy Benson’s work Monolith is ungrounded and sprawling, using a thick grey X to cut through the center of a large, white dot surrounded by red, tan and black geometric patterns. Benson often uses spray paint up against formal arrangements such as grids, Photoshop-like gradients, and sculptural impasto to stress an optical language in painting. Employing a brazen materiality, Russel Tyler, Austin Eddy and Devin Troy Strother comprise a new, contemporary painting vocabulary inclusive of low-brow culture and high-brow painting tropes.
Amy Feldman and Ian Swanson structure their work around a paired down ethos and understated honesty, simplistic in form and minimal in color. Feldman’s duo-chromed works utilize soft, cartoon-like shapes that conjure up associations to orifices, food and letters. In Untitled, Swanson’s pinkish, gradient background frames the canvas while two white, curved impastoed lines casually swoop from the top of the painting and across the bottom in a distinct, suave maneuver. Working in the vein of Katherine Bradford, Jason Stopa’s abstractions create an impression of mysterious, layered information. Polly Shindler’s work King of Corn depicts a hot pink U shape crowned against a flat, black composition. This carefully balanced work is uniquely animated, blurring the lines between foreground and background.
Aggro Crag revisits the recent past by the collective re-envisioning of an era rife with complication. Playing with a traditional media, these artists share the uninhibited mark and ease with which they move between seemingly disparate modes of working.