Erik Mark Sandberg
Get Pretty Now
January 22, 2011
through February 19, 2011
NEW YORK, NY (December 20, 2010) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce Get Pretty Now, new works by Los Angeles-based artist Erik Mark Sandberg in what will be his second solo exhibition at the gallery. Get Pretty Now includes mixed media paintings, sculpture and works on paper, combining a variety of materials such as resins, enamels, oils, inks, acrylics, digital collage and photographs with various printmaking techniques.
Sandberg’s portrait series depicts anomalous figures whose features are obscured by a thick coat of colorful hair, wearing fluorescent-colored clothing with loud, graphic prints. His abstract paintings are equally striking, vibrant and texturally rich, complementing hues and patterns of the hairy subjects in his figurative works.
Cultural dichotomies are a source of inspiration for much of Sandberg’s imagery, and his use of hair is (in a broad sense) a visual metaphor for their effects. In the artist’s own words: “My work investigates the psychological effects of trying to achieve smoke and mirror standards of beauty, standards that run in opposition to contemporary mass-consumed food advertising.” His bold color choices, while mainly intuitive decisions, also offer conceptual reinforcement. On the subject of palette, the artist says: “Fluorescents and neons have a very manufactured, artificial quality. They’re exotic, living outside of the normal spectrum.”
Thematically, the artist explores consumer culture, celebrity idolatry and social dysfunction in the digital age, with a focus on the relationship between projected idealized archetypes and their unattainable emulation. In some of the work, references are made to narratives (in the more extreme, degrading vein of) contemporary Hip-hop music, and its paradoxical airing on mainstream radio sponsored by product advertisements carrying affectations of family values. Sandberg has a keen interest in these phenomena and how everyday people become victims of what he refers to as consumer Stockholm syndrome.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Erik Mark Sandberg was born in 1975 in Farmington, Minnesota, and currently resides in Los Angeles. In 2002, he received a BFA with distinction from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. From 2003—2007, he studied with former Gemini Gel Master Printer Anthony Alan Zepeda. In the years since, he has achieved steady success in the fields of Fine Art and Illustration, receiving numerous grants and awards. From 2006 to present, Sandberg has taught concurrently at Art Center College of Design in the printmaking department, OTIS College of Art and Design and California State University, Northridge.