Matt Haber, Mars-1, Ben Woodward, Max Lawrence:
Fork in the Road
Four Person Exhibit
Opening reception - Saturday, June 4th, 6pm-9pm
June 4, 2005
through July 2, 2005
FORK IN THE ROAD
Ben Woodward, Max Lawrence, Mars 1 and Matt Haber
On view June 4th- July 2nd, 2005
Opening reception: Saturday, June 4th, 2005 from 6-9p.m.
New York, NY - Fork in the Road a four-person exhibition featuring new works by Mars 1, and Matt Haber and two site-specific installations by Philadelphia-based artists Ben Woodward and Max Lawrence opens at Jonathan LeVine Gallery on June 4, 2005 and remains on view through July 2, 2005. An opening reception for the artists will be held on Saturday June 4th from 6 - 9 pm.
Fork in the Road explores how the four artists— all roughly the same age and heavily influenced by the cartoon, graffiti, sci-fi, fantasy and pop culture aesthetics that defined the 70s and 80s—have taken these similar beginnings and interpreted them in different ways.
Matt Haber utilizes the narrative tradition developed in cartoons and comic books to create character-driven works that reflect a range of emotion. His doll-like figures wander through giant forests and stage-like settings exploring ethic and moral dilemmas. He explains that each of his pieces is a small story revolving around a larger one. The sweetness and innocence of his characters belies the mature, adult scenarios that they encounter.
Ben Woodward examines similarly intense emotions and situations. By using half-animal, half-human figures and simplified settings, Woodward removes himself from his character’s situations; reducing their poses to one symbolic action. The underlying meaning of the work is further explained through his choice of child-like titles and captions.
Mars 1 explores the possibilities of other-worldly existence through his alien-like characters. The figures float passively through highly developed multilayered backgrounds that hover between landscapes and abstract paintings. The artist deliberately leaves the viewer guessing about the story. “You can tell that there’s some kind of consciousness driving the creatures, but you can’t really pinpoint anything about their motives or purposes.” Mars 1 invites viewers to use their own imaginations to develop the storylines.
The highly stylized portraits of Max Lawrence are explorations into the relationships between what is right and what is considered illegal or immoral. Be it drug dealers who are hailed as heroes in their neighborhoods, or the subtle deceit between a boyfriend and girlfriend; Lawrence’s character studies examine the complexities and contradictions that develop within modern society. Created in multiple layers of gouache and resins, the works have an enamel like feel while at the same time expressing the translucence of a Japanese animation cell.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Matt Haber, a San Diego native, lives and works in Los Angeles. His studies at RISD and experience at Walt Disney Animation have shaped his storytelling insight and colorful style. He is currently working as a story artist at Fox Animation and has shown in numerous galleries across the country.
Mars 1 (aka Mario Martinez) is heavily active in San Francisco’s contemporary art scene where he lives with his wife, fellow artist Mikas. He began his career at the early age of 13, doing graffiti in his hometown. He moved on to airbrushing and began to paint on canvas at the age of 20. Since then, his work has expanded to include sculpture, books, skateboard decks and designer toys.
Ben Woodward and Max Lawrence are both founding members of Space 1026, a Philadelphia- based artist collective. First organized in 1997, the artist-run collective focuses in silk-screening, printmaking, painting, audio/video production, graphic design and schedules monthly rotating exhibitions.
Ben Woodward attended Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been exhibited at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Moore College; White Columns in New York and several venues in California and New York. He is a featured artist of the Projet Mobilivre Bookmobile project and has produced many artist books.
Max Lawrence attended Rhode Island School of Design and Cornell University where he received a BFA. He has been a member of the Philadelphia art collective Vox Populi since 2000 and has shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. His work is also included in the 55DSL corporate collection.