Young American artists explore their world

Young American artists explore their world
An artwork by artist Zio Ziegler is on show at Gajah Gallery’s latest show, Young Americans: Antimatter.

Never mind the country's depressed economy. The contemporary art scene in America is thriving and moving on an upwards trajectory that's defying the US's other economic indicators.

"It's exciting now. Opening parties are packed and the market is very strong," relates Simmy Swinder, curator and gallerist. Popular artists sell well, to the extent that she struggles to meet the demands of buyers, she adds. "It's also a situation now where every artist knows one another - whether they're in Los Angeles or New York, so there's a lot of buzz."

Singaporeans will get a glimpse of what the buzz is all about at Gajah Gallery this weekend. The guest curator of Gajah Gallery's latest show, Young Americans: Antimatter, Ms Swinder notes also that the six contemporary artists selected for this show have "come of age between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers" and that they are just the tip of the iceberg of contemporary art in America today.

"As young, emerging artists, they're in constant dialogue with society, in touch with what's happening on the ground, and they're very experimental," she notes.

In her curatorial note, Ms Swinder writes that these "Generation Y'ers are neither cynical nor reactionary". She adds: "They take to and from the streets, exploring and re-exploring everyday objects and experiences, and seize the canvas to exemplify the spirit of the times through their personalities, art, and social circles."

While Singapore is familiar with the works of top US artists, we rarely see works of emerging artists here.

Bumblebee is an artist who's embraced his nickname and made it both his artistic and visual signature. First Kiss is a whimsical painting of a little girl discovering life's quiet moments, but even more fascinating is his concept and use of phone booths that he's "stolen" throughout Los Angeles - and in which he inserts a paper montage of a beehive made from the entire "B" sections of phone books.

Judith Supine's layered mixed-media paintings coated with glossy resin have that street art references - with images derived from popular imagery collected from consumer ads and just the daily and mundane details of the urban environment - as well as the sheen of modern gloss.

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