New art, New York: continued

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Matthew Lutz-Kinoy

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy

A precocious young talent, Lutz-Kinoy's multi-disciplinary practice encompasses painting, collage, sculpture, video, performance and membership of a band.

Lutz-Kinoy places himself at the centre of much of his work, a semi-mythologised focus on his own life and artistic production, yet there's irony, too, in his investigation.

The short video loop Matthew Robert Lutz-Kinnoy depicts the artist gleefully intoning half his name, then playing back the rest on a cassette recorder.

Another video work, When I die this summer, what shirt will I be wearing?, 2006, makes fun of an apparently pressing question as the artist assumes diva-like death-bed poses in a series of snazzy tops.

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy

Recently, Lutz-Kinoy has been pondering the act of creativity itself, wanting "to show where inspiration comes from and where an artwork begins".

The performance piece Welcome to the story of my life (2008), expands on earlier works in which he interacts through dance with objects made in the studio.

Weaving together a dizzying array of performative elements such as singing, dance, monologue, dialogue (with papier mache heads) and action painting, Welcome to the story of my life is played out against a backdrop of projected film: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Marriage of Maria Braun, Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn, and a previous performance by the artist.

A hugely engaging talent, the irrepressible force of Lutz-Kinoy's personality validates his autobiographical approach to art.

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, performance
images © Matthew Lutz-Kinnoy

Ara Dymond

New York artists: Ara Dymond

An acclaimed figure on the New York art scene, and increasingly visible internationally, Ara Dymond was born in Hawaii in 1978, but raised in New York.

His practice consists primarily of sculpture and installation in a wide range of materials and idioms.

In some works, visual puns clearly hint at a concern with decadence and excess - champagne corks arranged into the shape of a mushroom cloud, or Hummer H3 side windows set into custom wood frames.

Other pieces, such as a series of large plastic paint buckets seamlessly reconfigured with a smooth inner swoop, are less obvious in terms of what, if anything, they may represent.

Yet the notes of criticism which ripple through Dymond's work cumulate in edgy, slightly sombre overtones.

Black, shroud-like forms are a consistent feature, rising upwards like a suspended cloth that conceals something ominous beneath its folds; vitrines contain bags filled with unknown substances.

Pleasure in the artist's exploration of materials and intriguing form is offset by this darker presence.

Ara Dymond, art in New York
images © Ara Dymond

Brina Thurston

Brina Thurston, who was born in 1977, is a multimedia artist whose work mainly comprises video, sculpture and photography.

In recent years, Thurston has focused increasingly on investigating various types of social interaction, often through the use of darkly comic humour.

art in New York: Brina Thurston video
image © Brina Thurston

Her video work Colon Karaoke, for example, features Thurston undergoing a colonic medical procedure. With the tube inserted, the Peter Gabriel track 'Sledgehammer' plays in the background, the lyrics superimposed, karaoke-style, onto the footage.

On one level an absurd and even slightly bawdy juxtaposition of visuals and sound, the real interest lies in the nature of audience perception and reaction.

While encouraged by the format to sing along and derive amusement from the proceedings, Thurston suffers clear discomfort during what is, essentially, an unpleasant and difficult experience.

Regardless of the fact that its public nature is self-imposed, the spectacle vacillates between slapstick and chagrin, humour and humiliation, with our responses to what we see inevitably compromised.

In another piece, created for the opening of a show, gallery assistants were transformed into artworks themselves.

Seated at white desks, seven receptionists were given instructions to rebuff gallery-goers with the kind of hauteur stereotypically associated with the upmarket art scene.

Presiding over champagne bottles and glasses laid out before them, the thirsty were warded off with frosty claims that the refreshments were reserved.

Thurston's emphasis on manipulating everyday experience is a richly rewarding, albeit well-trammeled, focus that seems to be gaining her work increasing interest.


Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam

While no newcomer to the New York art scene - he has been exhibiting since 2000 - Adam Putnam's profile has risen steadily in recent years.

The idea of containment - and moving beyond it - has always been a dominant theme for the artist; at 6ft 8" tall, he explains this interest as stemming from his own "hypersensitivity to space".

Much of Putnam's early practice consisted of performances in which he would contort himself into confined areas or twist his body into improbable poses, an interest that developed into video works in which his body and surroundings were digitally manipulated, doubled or skewed.

Adam Putnam
images © Adam Putnam

Increasingly, Putnam is allowing space itself to be the protagonist, often with the aid of illusions or devices that allow him to create virtual space beyond the actual. The video projection The Way Out (2005) for example, employed a hall of mirrors effect through repeatedly nesting shots of a three-walled enclosure to create an endless recession of Escher-like rooms. Other works employ the artist's own take on the magic lantern to fill rooms with illusory doorways and extensions.

Complemented by drawings, paintings and video in which architecture becomes almost fetishised, Putnam casts an intriguing new light on the spaces we inhabit - and spaces beyond, which we do not.


Amy Granat

Amy Granat

Like many of the artists featured here, Amy Granat is not yet as well-known internationally as she is in the US - in fact, she was voted a top ten emerging artist in a recent (October 2009) art magazine survey - but this situation is quickly changing.

Particularly celebrated for her work with 'camera-less' film, Granat physically alters filmstrip through intervention with paint, chemicals, blades or hole punches to create movies that flicker with manually created imagery.

Although the process appears destructive - as well as a possible assault on references that include Man Ray or Frank Stella - ambiguity lies in its simultaneously creative function.

In addition to moving images, Granat also creates static works using techniques such as the photogram, hand developing each work so that uniqueness is assured.

Again, the artist's emphasis is on alternative approaches to photographic traditions, undermining the serial perfection of the conventionally captured and reproduced image.

Amy Granat
images © Amy Granat

Not all Granat's works are abstract: in recent years she has also explored narrative film-making, often through collaborative projects, as well as installation in which light and sound play a growing role.


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