Neal Rock is a Welsh-born artist currently living and working in Charlottesville, Virginia. In a visual art career spanning twenty years, Rock has explored the material and conceptual boundaries of painting as its limits have been informed and redefined by other forms of cultural production such as film, sculpture and architecture, amongst others. His work came of age in the early 2000s and pays homage to previous generations of artists such as Lynda Benglis, Fabian Marcaccio and Bernard Frize, who set a foundation for what Rock has explored through his painting practice.
Underlying his work is a concern for painting as a time-based endeavor, one that encompasses both temporal and atemporal qualities – factoring differing notions of time into physical propositions in paint. As a monoglot who was socialized in an officially bilingual country, Rock is acutely aware of the role of language as that which contains performative acts of communication, opacity and protection. In this regard he has often titled his work with words no longer in everyday use, or by adjoining words from multiple languages as a means to discuss familiarity and estrangement in the material, corporeal aspects of his practice. He addresses human forms – interrelational and entangled – through a synthetic material that allows for abstraction and a perceptual immediacy. These accentuations have underpinned his work for over two decades and, in its current iteration, forms an oblique relationship to human bodies. Whilst the visceral and oblique might seem at odds with one another, Rock’s intention is to speak to this disjuncture stemming from his formative years, experiencing the Welsh language as optical, sculptural and perceptual rather than linguistic. As such, he understands estrangement as situated within the familiar – the immediacy of surfaces warped, becoming interior or sheathed membranes – a trope familiar within American ‘body horror’ films of the late 1970s and 1980s, to which his work remains indebted.
The only way to truly experience theater is to be physically on one side of the proscenium or be a part of the more participatory theater where the proscenium has been dispensed with all-together. Video, film and photography are offered as documents of a performance but rarely come close to the three dimensional experience; the sounds as they radiate through the theater, lighting as it wraps around a hand, the anticipation of the audience, the subtle gesture of the individual actor.
Robert Wilson is one of the rare artists who works across artistic media without being buoyed by one method of making. The process of creation transcends a single medium and instead finds outlet within the archetype of an opera, the architecture of a building, the stains in a watercolor drawing, the design of a chair, the choreography of a dance, the rhythm of a sonnet, or the multiple dynamics revealed in a Video Portrait.
“Finding a means to live together without violence or antagonism will take a form of imagination and invention" Edward Said said in 1978.
Being half Iranian and growing up in America during the revolution, Fakhr faced abuse and shame he didn't understand as a child. Through his paintings, Fakhr processes these complicated emotions. In this collection, he illustrates the beauty of the multi-layered cultures he was constantly exposed to, by painting over his old work and layering them. Growing up in Boston he was taught a very traditional Western technique of oil painting. By superimposing Eastern philosophies through English and Farsi texts, he aims to celebrate the juxtaposition as a creative solution to an ongoing worldly conflict. In what he calls “gentle civic disruptions,” Darvish channels his influences and inspirations from Sufism to challenge our preconceived notions of culture and tolerance in performance work that strikes viewers with its surrealism, humor, and optimism. Though he is not a practicing Sufi, his work is meant to pay homage to the purity of Sufi mysticism, to the point where he describes himself as a "Sufi Skool Dropout". The guerrilla nature of such work is meant to disrupt the daily movement of our lives.