ARTmonday: Lance Cheshire

Lance Cheshire is a fashion photographer from New Zealand who lives in New York City. He’s assisted Mario Testino, Ellen von Unworth, Michael Thompson, and Steven Meisel, and of course works on his own too. I met him through a friend years ago when I was a fashion editor. We worked together and became good friends. We haven’t actually seen each other in years, but we keep in touch sporadically. He’s a great guy and talented artist.

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ARTmonday: Robert Knight

Here are some photos by Rob Knight, a Boston-based photographer, who’s also a friend. (His five-year-old son Harry followed us around a garden center in out on the Cape last summer until we agreed to organize a play date between him and my six-year-old. We’re so glad!) Rob, who recently had a solo show, “My Boat is so Small,” at Gallery Kayafas in the South End. shoots a lot of interiors and quirky still lives. These are some of my favorite works:

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ARTmonday: Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand

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A few weeks ago I went to the press preview for the Shepard Fairey show at the ICA. I normally wouldn’t have gone – street art isn’t my thing. (Big surprise.) But I had an assignment for Lola magazine on the museum, and the timing worked out perfectly.

The overall museum experience, as always, was bliss. The vast white space, the expanse of glass overlooking the Boston Harbor on a snowy day. There was even swag – a Shepard Fairey tote. What’s not to like? The art.

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To be fair, as an exhibit, it was aesthetically pleasing. Very orderly, graphic and color consistent. It’s all carefully manufactured, so expect nothing less.

As for the images on their own, after seeing a few, they’re all pretty much the same. Here’s the “now iconic” (as they never tire of saying) Obama portrait, and an amusing depiction of his charming predecessor:

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Fairey’s into images of other iconic, political, controversial, famous for being famous folk, like Andy Warhol, Mao, Lenin, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, and of course AndrĂ© the Giant, whose image he displayed on a homemade sticker in ’88 as a student at RISD. He also fawns over music personalities; the exhibit includes portraits of Jim Morrison, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, and David Bowie.

He said that morning: “I create portraits of people who made a very strong impact on me, but whom I am not necessarily aligned with.”

Fairey seems pretty chill, but it’s hard to tell. For a guy who’s become known for street art, i.e., graffiti, and who is constantly arrested, he’s also a corporate enterprise, with a thriving graphic design enterprise, plus a wife and kids. I can appreciate the graphic design and business aspect of his persona. The “artist” side, I’m not convinced.

The enormous murals in the exhibit are give more of a sense of a person behind the work. He says he works (or at least used to work) on sheets of old wallpaper. You can see the layers of the patterns, the newspaper, the ink. Here are a couple of details from larger works:

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As a museum-worthy artist, I’m not sold. But now that I’m in on it, it’s fun to see the works plastered around the city. There’s a few on the side of a building at the ramp onto the Mass Pike at Mass Ave. and Newbury that I noticed immediately after attending the preview. The ICA is actually organizing bike tours around the city to see the on site works. You can see them on Flikr too. That’s probably all you really need.

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ARTmonday: Lee Essex: Postcards From India

As long as I’m on this whole Indian theme, I thought I’d show you a collection of gorgeous paintings by Boston-based artist Lee Essex. (She is represented by Peter Marcelle Contemporary in NYC and Southampton, as well as Parker Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA.) The show, entitled “Postcards from India,” celebrates the rich visual impressions of Indian temples and palaces in Rajasthan. Essex does drawings on site, and works from those in her Beacon Hill studio. The mixed media pieces are lush combinations of ink, watercolor, charcoal, colored pencil, tempera, and oil pastels on paper, with layers of patterns achieved with wood blocks and stencils that Essex makes herself. Essex also takes many photographs during her travels, which she uses as inspiration, along with incense and sBangara music, which helps set the mood. I’m practically transported . . .

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Images: Peter Marcelle Contemporary 50 East 72nd Street, NYC and 36 Hampton Road Southampton, NY.