Last Year's Man
May 16, 2009
through June 13, 2009
NEW YORK, NY (April 14, 2009) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Last Year’s Man, a solo exhibition of new works by Los Angeles based artist, Souther Salazar. Returning for his second solo show at the gallery, Salazar has created a new series of original mixed-media paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Last Year’s Man features the largest collection of Salazar’s work to date, assembled into a site-specific installation. Expanding upon his signature aesthetic, Salazar’s dynamic compositions are colorful accumulations of simply drawn characters and their surrounding communities. A single canvas might contain hundreds of narratives and microcosmic worlds within worlds. The depth and complexity of the artist’s large, multi-layered paintings are complimented by the minimalist simplicity of his smaller monochromatic line drawings on paper.
Salazar’s two-dimensional pieces incorporate mixed-media collage techniques often mirrored in his three-dimensional work, which transforms the surrounding environment, pulling viewers into the picture plane to further explore his representational world. Salazar’s highly imaginative installations are the physical embodiment of the subject matter found in his whimsical paintings. His carefully crafted sculptures feature tiny civilizations of baked-clay human and animal figures living within cities constructed using a variety of found objects. Inventively recycling every-day materials into his medium—Salazar transforms ordinary items such as pencils, bottle caps, thread spools, matchbooks, and tin cans into robots, dinosaurs, and transportation vehicles—converting light bulbs into hot-air balloons while glue dispensers and asthma inhalers become flying rockets and space ships.
Many of Salazar’s characters are portrayed with a sense of melancholy, peacefully secluded from their populated surroundings, buzzing with life. Creating intuitively in a stream of conscious style, Salazar says that his work is sometimes inspired by the materials themselves. Regarding his process, in the artist’s own words: “Ultimately, a lot of what I end up making is an idea that’s pleasing to myself, especially in the pieces that try to depict an ideal world. It’s sort of processing memories, drawing things I like to draw, responding to materials. What I end up with in the end is a sense of community that I think is interesting, something that I’d like to find… a mixture of worlds I have lived in and worlds that would be fun if they existed.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Souther Salazar was born in 1978 in Hayward, California and is currently based in Portland, Oregon. In 2003, he received a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He utilizes mixed media, found objects and collaged layers of assemblage in his paintings, drawings and sculptures. Salazar’s work transports the viewer into an imaginative world full of flying spacecrafts and lost cities inhabited by a variety of creatures. His whimsical installations encourage exploration and discovery. Salazar’s work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Basel, Tokyo and São Paulo and included at exhibitions in institutions such as the Riverside Art Museum and the Japanese American National Museum, both in California.