Image info: Randy Bolton, Wheat Field, 2008, digital banner print on canvas with sculptural object (wood, paint), 7'2" (h) x 5' (w) x 1’ (d). Courtesy of Littlejohn Contemporary.

Image info: Randy Bolton, Wheat Field, 2008, digital banner print on canvas with sculptural object (wood, paint), 7'2" (h) x 5' (w) x 1’ (d). Courtesy of Littlejohn Contemporary.

THE CHILDREN'S HOUR at Pelham Art Center

Opening Reception: Friday, September 15, 6:30-8 PM

PELHAM, NY – From Pelham Art Center: Everyone begins life as a child, and as a society we look back on that time when we were innocent: playing, learning, and growing. Childhood is a time filled with imagination, games and play. But it is also a time when we absorb the stories, memories and dreams that make us who we become later in life. Artists often use the motif of childhood to remark upon social conditions, using the framework of childhood to understand larger truths about human nature.

Artists: Randy Bolton, Holland Cunningham, Cristina Grassi, Elizabeth Holtry, Scott Hunt, Leslie Lerner, Dennis Masback and Andrew Shears.

Using metaphorical childhood scenes as a device to examine adult issues, the artists here depict children to simply convey complex ideas. Children’s stories, often loaded with moral lessons, are not all sugar and spice. At times hard lessons are delivered to children through myths, fables, and parables, or moral tales. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, with stories like Hansel and Gretel, or The Gingerbread Man, instruct and disturb forming minds and moral compasses. Stories like Dick and Jane, or Jack and Jill seem innocuous, but carry deeper meaning. Charlotte’s Web, a dearly beloved story by E.B. White, relates the desperate efforts of barnyard animals to save one of their own, by calling attention to his distinctive and special qualities. While it is read to children, the story carries a metaphor for human interactions in society, which is valuable for all ages.

Some artists in this exhibition take inspiration from those stories and blend them with the imaginative and playful side of childhood to create social satire. Randy Bolton uses children’s book illustrations as a distinctive visual vocabulary to express social satire. Cristina Grassi depicts children’s nightmares with enormous creatures chasing after them. Dennis Masback creates trompe l’oeil paintings that seem to be ripped from a child’s notebook. Holland Cunningham uses actual found snapshots of children to explore the past in shades of gray. A Gothic sensibility of unsettling and shadowy monochromatic memories is explored by Scott Hunt and Andrew Shears. Leslie Lerner (1950-2005) created a personal mythology paired with a lyrical and delicate vision of childhood. Finally, Elizabeth Holtry examines innocence as a time connected to a remote historical past, where children laugh as they play with creatures like rats and cockroaches, evoking awe and respect from the viewers.

Our ephemeral childhood ends with adolescence and is remembered in this close examination of works that celebrate the all too brief Children’s Hour.

The exhibition will be on view September 15 – October 28, 2017 with an opening reception on Friday September 15, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

 
Image info; Randy Bolton, 2013, We Sell + You Buy, 2-panel screen print on Rives BFK, 30" x 22" (each panel).

Image info; Randy Bolton, 2013, We Sell + You Buy, 2-panel screen print on Rives BFK, 30" x 22" (each panel).

SIGNS AND SIGNIFIERS - The Davis Gallery at Houghton House, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

Reception: Friday, October 13, 6-8 PM

Among the most persistent forms of printed matter in the public sphere, signage may well be king of the mountain. The artists in this exhibition explore the ways in which printed signage in its various forms reflects the values of a consumerist society, physically dominating the built environment, conferring authenticity and authority, codifying desirability, and blurring the lines between the economic and the political. Each artist takes the position that how printed matter is used in society is important, affirming that print matters.

October 13 through November 10, 2017

 
Image info: Randy Bolton, 2017, Raft, digital banner print on canvas, cast sculptural objects (UltraCal), wood, paint, approx. 8 ft. (h) x 7 ft. (w) x 6 ft. (d).

Image info: Randy Bolton, 2017, Raft, digital banner print on canvas, cast sculptural objects (UltraCal), wood, paint, approx. 8 ft. (h) x 7 ft. (w) x 6 ft. (d).

AUGMENTED REALITY AT BLUE STAR CONTEMPORARY, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

Featuring Susi Brister, Kris Pierce, Randy Bolton, Frank Benson, Nancy de Holl, and Yoonmi Nam

The spread of the screen society is a modern epidemic of global proportions. With much of our social lives available to cyber facilitation, the demarcation between online and human interaction becomes increasingly obscured. “Augmented Reality” is an artistic critique of society’s rapidly growing WiFi-dependent existence, consumer culture and social propaganda. Organized by Blue Star Contemporary, the exhibition showcases six artists whose works conceptualize the values of popular culture and the filters applied to “real” life, both consciously and unconsciously. The installations of Susi Brister and Randy Bolton transcend the borders of the digital and natural world, offering an experience similar to free-roam video games, a world void of consequence. Kris Pierce utilizes innovative technology, creating digital photos and videos mocking trends mediated through social media. The photographic and video collaborations of Frank Benson and Nancy de Holl offer a first-person narrative experience in which the viewer hears the inner thoughts of the subject. Yoonmi Nam’s prints and sculptures imitate society’s most popular and polluting consumer materials, such as plastic bags and containers. “Augmented Reality” promises a mind-opening translation of popular modern values.

June 1 through September 9, 2017

 
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TOPSY TURVY: Randy Bolton & John Schulz at Edinburgh College of Art, Sculpture Court Balcony Exhibition Space, Edinburgh, Scotland.

A common thread running though both Bolton and Schulz’s work is an abiding interest in the everyday, ordinary, cast-off, and vernacular. Bolton’s recent prints are based primarily on photographic documentation, taken with his iPhone, of ordinary, quotidian subject matter – forlorn-looking things seen and observed in the “real” world that are reworked and reassembled to create open-ended, associative visual narratives. Long turning to printed detritus and cast-off images from out-of-print books, magazines, comics, and catalogs, Schulz's prints investigate and transform images from the "low" end of visual culture via chance operations and cut-ups to create a new and ironic visual language. The use of text as signage, caption, and word balloon has often been used as a third “binding” element in the work of both artists.

March 2 – 12, 2017

Image info: Randy Bolton, Happy + Sad, 2016, 2-panel screenprint on Yupo paper, 29.25” x 22.25” (each panel). 

Image info: Randy Bolton, Happy + Sad, 2016, 2-panel screenprint on Yupo paper, 29.25” x 22.25” (each panel).