Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present Elysian Redux, an exhibition exploring the renaissance of 1980’s aesthetics in contemporary art, with Leah Guadagnoli, Rachel Higgins, Ad Minoliti, Dominique Pétrin, Ben Sanders, and Shane Walsh. Earlier phases of this trend employed an established cannon of irony, thereby impeding its credibility. This critical smokescreen has now segued into our collective desensitization to nostalgia, subsequently denying it conceptual sovereignty. Artists are now reviving its potential as a visual language within a larger discourse, thus marking a subterranean shift and the emergence of a new “New Sincerity”.
Encapsulating the imploding zeitgeist of this era was the British poster and art production retailer Athena (1964 - 1995), cultivating the decade’s iconography via images such as Moonlight Stallion, which later spearheaded the initial 80’s revival and the now iconic Tennis Girl. These posters memorialized an era that wore its creative heart on its sleeve with an impassioned gaiety that in retrospect seems zealously maladroit. This was a period where images were carried home and blue-tacked to a wall rather than scrolled into the void on the palm. Athena became the nucleus of mall-time social interactions and the embryonic representation of the omni-metamorphosing adolescent identity. Dealing in Romanticism and ideology, Athena edited and commodified vernaculars past to articulate their understanding of the “now”, simultaneously providing the very epitaph to its epoch.
In “Elysian Redux”, a vast no man’s land of 80’s design minutia is translated into abstract references that when picked apart contain a gamut of historic, sexual, cultural and socio-economic references, via Ad Minoliti’s discombobulating genderqueer abstractions, Dominique Pétrin’s discomforting “virtual” spaces, and Leah Guadagnoli’s seductive upholstered works. Fictionalized renderings of subliminal public spaces are notable in Rachel Higgins’ Architectural Island 1 and 2, where she manipulates synthetic stone and granite with Michelangelean dexterity. The beautiful banality of architectural sameness is explored through a considered reconnaissance that resonates within the collective memory of the hoi-polloi. Ben Sanders’ Planters become both the camouflage and support for a playful, vernacularized collision, whereas Shane Walsh extracts and dissects quintessential gestures to formulate a formidable hypothesis regarding the notion of historic and cultural distortion via reproduction.
Leah Guadagnoli lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. After receiving a BFA in Painting and Art History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she received an MFA in at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has exhibited in solo and group shows nationally, including with 247365, NY; Formerly Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Mason Gross Art Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ; and Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL. In 2016 she was awarded a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and received the Yaddo Artist Residency Grant in 2015. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Roll Magazine, and Maake Magazine.
Rachel Higgins lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from Hunter College, NY, after earning her BFA from Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, AL. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including a solo show with Kristen Lorello, NY; and group exhibitions with SUNY Purchase, NY; EFA Project Space, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY; the Flint Public Art Project, Flint, MI; Franklin Street Works in Stamford, CT; Babel Kunst in Trondheim, Norway; the Crane Arts Center in Philadelphia, PA; and the Artisphere in Washington, DC. She was a recipient of the 2011 Socrates Sculpture Park Emerging Artist Fellowship and has also been awarded residencies with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Build-It-Green salvage yard in Astoria, Queens, and Real Time & Space in Oakland, CA.
Ad Minoliti lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has exhibited internationally including solo shows with Diablo Rosso Gallery, Panamá City, Panamá; Galería Agustina Ferreyra, San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Karen Huber Gallery, Mexico City. Group shows include Edel Assanti, London, UK; Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris; SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, OH; and Ellis King Gallery, Dublin, among others. Minoliti has been the recipient of several awards including the XII Premio Nacional de Pintura Banco Central in 2015 and the Braque Award from Universidad Nacional de Tres de Frebrero Museum. Her work has been featured in BOMB Magazine, Artishock, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, and The New York Times, and has been featured in the publication Herstory Inventory: 100 Feminist Drawings by 100 Artists.
Dominique Pétrin is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Montreal, Canada. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions with Galerie Néon, Lyon, France; Ailleurs en Folie, Mons, Belgium; Contemporary Gallery, Calgary, Canada; and Kline & Coma, London, England. Pétrin has also been included in group shows including Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montreal; Les Impatients, Montreal; Projet Passeport, Centre Dare-Dare, Montreal; and Space 1026, Philadelphia, PA. She was awarded an artist residency at the Banff Centre, OMI International Artist in residency Program representing Canada and in Nunavik by the Quebec Council for the Arts. In 2012, Pétrin was selected for the Quebec Triennial at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art.
Ben Sanders lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He received his BFA in 2013 from the Art Center College of Design. He has shown nationally including solo and two-person shows with Carl & Sloan, Portland, OR; LVL3 Gallery, Chicago; and Slow Culture Gallery, Los Angeles. He has been included in group exhibitions with Left Field Gallery, San Luis Obispo, CA; Robert Blumenthal Gallery, New York, NY; Solid State, Chicago; Good Work Gallery, Brooklyn; FIELD Contemporary, Vancouver, British Columbia; and Kemistry Gallery, London. Sanders has been featured in Art Viewer, I Do Art, The Oregonian, Wrap Magazine, The Hundreds Blog, LVL3, and Beautiful Decay, amongst others. He is also the co-founder of Those People and Happy Hour Agency, collectives based in L.A.
Shane Walsh lives and works in Milwaukee, WI. He received his BFA from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2001 and went on to get an MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle. He has exhibited nationally, including solo shows with Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, WI; Thelma Sadoff Center, Fond Du Lac, WI; and Blindfold Gallery, Seattle, WA. Walsh’s work has been seen in several group shows including at Open Gallery, Portland, OR; Usable Space, Milwaukee; Transients Gallery, St. Louis, MO; and Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA. Walsh has also curated many shows including with Usable Space Gallery, Milwaukee; and Green Gallery, Milwaukee.TX. Awards and residencies include Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency with master artist Dana Schutz, a McColl Center for Visual Art Full Fellowship, and the Artist in the Marketplace Program, Bronx Museum, NY. His work has been reviewed in ArtInfo, Whitehot Magazine, and Flaunt.