This week two exciting young American artists, Chris Hood (b.1984) and Zach Reini (b.1990), open a joint exhibition at Milan’s Brand New Gallery. Both have a darkly comic twist to their work, using paint and collage to discuss and abstract images from popular contemporary American culture.
Chris Hood–who can be found in the current issue of Elephant–works on the borders of abstraction, leaving traces of counter-cultural motifs and recognisable forms to set his viewer down a path which rarely has a definite end. ‘I see my work as a kind of passage, or crossing,’ the artist has said. ‘In a literal sense, the imagery and paint emerge from the reverse, but also in a conceptual sense this is a space where the viewer reconciles themselves with an ever increasingly simulated experience.’
Reini also calls on cultural figures and motifs to offer shreds of recognition to the viewer, ‘recoding’ images with economic cuts and interruptions. In Reini’s hands these popular icons are turned into something far more sinister, the watcher left to guess what might be happening beneath the latex blackout–or, occasionally, whiteout–that’s imposed over sections of the image; the characters left on show are often reduced to grotesque or angst-ridden forms.
Someone give poor old Mickey a hug.
‘Chris Hood, Zach Reini’, curated by Domenico de Chirico is showing at Brand New Gallery from 18 May until 22 June