Ryan McGinness – Aesthetic Comfort

Ryan McGinness
Aesthetic Comfort
Curated by Randy Gladman
September 27, 2008 – November 15, 2008

For Immediate Release

Artcore / Fabrice Marcolini is pleased to announce Ryan McGinness’s first solo exhibition in Canada. Aesthetic Comfort presents a major painting and sculpture installation by this internationally recognized, New York City-based artist.

Ryan McGinness makes work that occupies the stylish space where art and graphic design collide. Influenced by Andy Warhol and mixing digital technologies with more traditional crafts like silk screening and painting, McGinness, who is represented in New York City by the highly innovative and influential galleries Deitch Projects and Pace Prints, is known for his slick, flat, colourful pop works. Made up of swirling worlds of readable custom icons, his rebus-like paintings spill off their canvases and climb the walls. With works that range from consumer products like skateboards, carpets, t-shirts and soccer balls through to museum-collected prints, sculptures and paintings, McGinness has developed an original visual language that is accessible and eye-tingling yet, like ancient hieroglyphs, this sign system tells stories whose non-linear narratives are left to viewers to decipher.

These new works present a cacophony of icons, drawn from the artist’s vast and ever increasing repertoire of symbols. Appropriating the power of corporate branding and advertising graphic design, and acknowledging the universal legibility of visual modes of communication, the baroque mash-ups result in beautiful collisions which inundate viewers with playful stories that do not clearly convey any specific meanings but are somehow never confusing. Drawing from our boundless contemporary visual landscape, McGinness combines symbols as varied as unicorns, fire extinguishers, bathroom indicators, human figures, antlers and electric plugs with pop culture allusions to Pac-Man, Star Wars, Atari, Michael Jackson, Jackson Pollock, Picasso and even Warhol’s famous hairdo, all in a kaleidoscopic effort to promote a new, beautiful, if utterly quixotic, form of communication.

Ryan McGinness, 36, grew up in Virginia Beach and was influenced by skateboard culture, rock concert poster design, and street art. In 1994, he received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and then moved to New York City where he still lives and works. In 1999 he published his first book, Flatnessisgod, with Soft Skull Press, which visually presented the parallels the artist saw between street art and corporate branding, and offered insights into his design process. The book, which is today considered an important graphic design manifesto/bible, was the first in the expanding library of books by and about the artist. In 2005, Rizzoli New York published the first artist monograph, Installationview and this esteemed publisher will publish Ryan McGinness Works later in 2008. McGinness has published many limited edition artist books including No Sin/No Future, Multiverse, Project Rainbow, Pieceofmind and Luxurygood. He has been the subject of hundreds of articles in art, design, fashion and culture magazines, including Ocean Drive, Elle, Art News, Art Review, and The New York Times in the last year alone. His solo shows have been hosted in cities around the world, including Milan, New York City, Madrid, Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo, Munich and Seattle and he has been included in many museum exhibitions at highly prestigious institutions including, among others, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Saatchi Gallery at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, P.S.1/MoMA in New York City, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. McGinness has guest lectured extensively in the United States and his works have been acquired by many of the most important collections and museums in the world.

Works from the artist’s new Aesthetic Comfort series will also be shown in simultaneous solo exhibitions at the Cincinnati Art Museum. A limited edition artist book of the same title, published by Los Angeles-based Arkitip to accompany this series of exhibitions, will be launched at the opening reception at Artcore on September 27, 2008.
Randy Gladman is a Toronto-based Curator and Art Critic who first met Ryan McGinness in 2001 through his capacity as a Curator and Artist Manager at Mixed Greens Gallery in New York City. He contributed an essay to the 2005 Rizzoli New York monograph on the artist, Installationview, and his articles have been published in many art periodicals including Canadian Art, Contemporary, Artforum.com, and Artext, among others. He has been working to make this exhibition a reality since he returned to Toronto in 2004.