Opening on Thursday, September 22 from 6.30pm
Mike Giant | Josh Jefferson | Russ Pope
curated by Luca Beatrice
Well I’m going out west where I belong
Where the days are short and the nights are long
Where they’re out there having fun in the warm California sun
“California Sun”, Ramones
Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea is proud to present California Sun, an exhibition dedicated to Mike Giant, Josh Jefferson and Russ Pope, curated by Luca Beatrice.
If international contemporary art, in its most refined version, is celebrated and consumed in Chelsea galleries in New York, on the other side, on the west coast, it’s the street, the underground and alternative universe of skateboarding and surfers, that reigns supreme, affirming not only a lifestyle but also an aesthetic and cultural philosophy. Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea has been focusing on this dimension for years, showing in Italy, very often establishing a record, the works of the most important artists of this genre.
The fall season 2016 of the Milanese gallery inaugurates its spaces bringing California sun to Milan. California Sun, the title of the show curated by Luca Beatrice, presents the new works of the American Josh Jefferson, Russ Pope and Mike Giant. Hailing from different parts of the stars and stripes continent and characterized by very heterogeneous languages, the three are connected –who for training (Pope’s past as a professional skateboarder ties him to the west coast, Josh Jefferson grew-up in Santa Cruz), who for a life choice (Giant has lived for years between San Francisco and Los Angeles) – by a common denominator: the cultural roots of the west coast.
Distant from the kinds of official and pretentious academicism, typical of the art system, the artistic panorama made in California is the guardian of an underground multiculturalism, an aesthetic mix that moves between psychedelic vision and punk narrative, speaking through many expressive codes: from illustration to comics, from urban art to painting, from collage to tattoos. An art originating from the bottom, which comes from the everyday, from the contact with the people to whom it’s addressed; faithful to a contaminated and dynamic collective vision of the artistic language that does not fail to look at the past and the history of art.
If Mike Giant sets up a style based on the technical expertise of the line, only black & white, describing subjects – the most seductive women, skulls, rappers – on different media such as paper, skateboards, tattoos, on the other hand Joshua Jefferson works in the opposite way, dedicating himself to painting and collage and developing a physical and instinctive language, aimed at
simplifying the shapes and outlines up to the point of transforming the subjects into almost abstract images. Apparently fast, but intense and incisive, is the line of Russ Pope, who, in his almost grotesque portraits translates the everyday into the frames of a life story that, if not lived, is almost certainly observed and reinterpreted through an energetic and vibrant brush stroke.
The exhibition will present works of different sizes: from Jefferson’s small A4 collages to Pope’s medium-format canvases up to the exceptionally large, compared to his usual production, work on paper by Giant (180 x 180 cm). Over thirty the works on display created specifically for Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea.
The catalog presents an essay by Luca Beatrice.
Mike Giant born in Upstate NY in 1971. Lives and works in Boulder, Colorado.
Selected solo exhibitions: 2015, Solo show, Blackbook Gallery, Denver, CO; Solo Show, FFDG, San Francisco, CA. 2014, Blackbook Gallery, Denver; FFDG, San Francisco, 2013, Manos de Oro Gallery, Oakland, California, 2010, Welcome to Frisco, Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Milano, 2007, Mike Giant solo show, Galerie Magda Danysz, Parigi.
Selected group shows: 2015, Nothing is Real, MAO, Torino. 2010, Christmas Rodeo, Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Milano; Orde di segnatori, Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Milano. 2007, Fecal Face 7.5 Year Anniversary, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco. 2006, Skulls, Wheels, and Ink, Outre Gallery, Melbourne, Australia; New Work by Mike Giant and Mike Davis, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco; Fecal Face, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco.
Josh Jefferson born in 1977 in Florida. Lives and works in Boston.
Selected solo exhibitions: 2016, Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston. 2015-2016, Head Into the Trees, Gallery 16, San Francisco. 2015, Head First, TURN Gallery, New York.
Selected group shows: 2015, This is Boston Not LA, Zevitas Marcus Gallery, Los Angeles; The Guston Effect, Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston; Collagist/ish, Essex Flowers Gallery, New York.
Russ Pope born in Los Angeles in 1970. Lives and works in Massachusetts.
Selected solo exhibitions: 2014, Come on Pilgrim Orchard Extension Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts. Life Lines Needles and Pens San Francisco, California; 2013, Tax Included AR4T Laguna Beach; 2012 North American Anti-Social Gallery Vancouver, British Columbia.
Selected group shows: 2015, From Cali with Love, Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Milano. OC Weekly Best Artists Max Bloom Gallery Fullerton, California. 2014, Automatic Clips Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii. Air Mail Beames Tokyo, Giappone. Living in Transitino Ian Ross Gallery, San Francisco, California. Chilled Air Think Tank Gallery Los Angeles, California. Baggage Claim AR4T Laguna Beach, California Laguna Beach, CA.