Under the Knife: The Anatomy of Stencil Art @ {9} The Gallery, Phoenix [from 6 to 20 July]

Under the Knife: The Anatomy of Stencil Art


139
6 - 20
July
18:00 - 22:00

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{9} The Gallery
1229 Grand Ave, Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Join us as {9} The Gallery presents the work of internationally-recognized stencil artists John Koleszar, Bill Taggart, and Benjamin Goens in “Under the Knife”, opening First Friday, July 6th, 2018, 6-10 PM at {9} The Gallery, 1229 Grand Avenue, Phoenix, AZ. An interactive exhibit, “Under the Knife” provides viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the intricate world of stencil art, showcasing how in a digital age, these three artists have used their fierce commitment to hand-cut stencils to propel their medium into the fine art arena.

Dozens of layers of intricately, hand-cut stencils will be exhibited together alongside the finished works, demonstrating the process and the labor-intensive hours that go into the creation of each piece. Video commentary from the artists will highlight the exhibit.

Stencil art has been recognized abroad as a fine art medium over the last decade and is just now emerging in progressive fine art galleries in the United States like {9}. We are fortunate enough that all three “Under the Knife” artists are proud to call the Valley their home.

Based out of Gilbert, Arizona, John Koleszar is an internationally-recognized stencil artist and prize winner of the 2009 Melbourne Stencil Festival. An accomplished artist in several mediums, Koleszar positions that stenciling has provided him with the technical challenge that most suits his interest. His experiments with color, detail and scale challenge the preconceptions of what can be accomplished through stencil art.

Koleszar elaborates on the involved process of creating stencil art; “Stencils are formed by removing sections from template material in the form of text or an image. This creates what is essentially a physical negative, and each negative represents a different color to be used in the painting. The process starts by breaking down an image into colors and layers, then spending hundreds of hours cutting out sections by hand with a razor blade. The finished stencils are then sprayed with aerosol paint on to a canvas or wall. When I combine all of the different colored stencils on top of each other, what I am left with is a finished piece.”

Imagery also plays an important role in Koleszar’s work, ranging from portraiture and pop culture to the various cityscapes that he has been fortunate to have visited throughout his life. “With my focus on imagery and technique, I hope to help propel the art of stenciling to the point where it can be critically appreciated and respected alongside other fine art mediums. While currently there is a surge in the popularity of stenciling, I feel that it has a long way to go to be thought of as a serious art form.”

Bill Taggart is an Arizona-based stencil artist working under the alias Dadsocks. His style is heavily influenced by street art, nature and social justice. A New Jersey native, Taggart was first introduced to art during his boyhood travels across the Northeast. “I discovered stencil art more than a decade ago when observing how the street art and graffiti of New York City buildings and subway cars transformed them into something more than just part of the landscape of the city.” Taggart began his successful career as a stencil artist in 2010 when he first moved to Phoenix, the area he now calls home.

Benjam (real name Benjamin Goens) is based out of Gilbert, Arizona. He studied the art of classical antiquity and European masters during his university studies, but always held a fascination for hip-hop culture, graffiti, and the evolution of street art. In 2014, he began experimenting with intricate stencils which ultimately led to the production of his own multilayered artwork, often using up to 20 hand-cut stencil layers to produce a single image.

Goens refers to his work as “urban contemporary realism” but recognizes the influence of the past on his compositions. “As an artist, I strive to create paintings that speak about the beauty that exists in images of the past. The contrast of old-meets-new has always interested me, so I draw inspiration from past designs, ideas, and innovations exhibited in a new light on my canvas. The challenge, as with any reconstructed image from the past, is to capture it in all its former glory and give those images life in a modern world through my vision.”

Goens has shown extensively with solo and group exhibitions in the Phoenix area, as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia. He is an inaugural recipient of the 2018 Carmody Foundation grant and a finalist of the 2017 Stencil Art Prize, a prestigious international stencil art competition based out of Australia.

“Under the Knife: The Anatomy of Stencil Art” runs throughout the month of July at {9} The Gallery. The gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM and by appointment by calling (480) 454-5929.
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