‘Existential Time’ presents a curated selection of works by our diverse international roster of artists, each of whom offers a compelling reflection on literal and figurative references of time stemming from both a personal and philosophical concern with the phenomenology of consciousness and narrative experience, and an investigation into the process of making meaning in artistic practice.
Working with a broad range of media including painting and photography, the artists endeavor to punctuate the lack, limits and surplus of meaning surrounding the experience of time and life, while exploring the powerful and finite territory of the present.
Featured artists include German painter Friedrich Kunath, who evokes love, hope and longing with his dreamlike vignettes layering poetic phrases; contemporary American-Cuban photographer and multimedia artist Anthony Goicolea, who explores the themes of memory and nostalgia; revered painter Kehinde Wiley, who melds a fluid concept of modern culture through time; LA-based photographer Jeff Burton, whose images exist in a space between fantasy and reality; and contemporary visual artists McDermott & McGough, who challenge the chronological boundaries of art history and cultural identity.
Friedrich Kunath utilizes a personal style of romantic conceptualism, layering poetic phrases with poignant, often melancholy imagery. His dreamlike vignettes embrace comedy and pathos, evoking universal feelings of love, hope, longing, and despair.
The colorful, tragicomic works curated by CXA contemplate human existence, the concept of purpose, and the ability for growth. The works reflect our contemporary culture where many feel as though they have been walking in circles. Yet, now we find our habits broken and disrupted. Will there be room for change? These symbols of hope, beauty, and renewal showcase Kunath’s signature melancholy tone and sense of humor in the midst of his seriousness.
“When one moves through the work, one's senses vacillate from the comic to the bittersweet to the absurd—with measured forays into the deeper waters of the air-conditioned anxiety dream that constitutes much of contemporary American life."
Employing a variety of media, Anthony Goicolea explores themes ranging from personal history and identity to cultural tradition and heritage, to alienation and displacement. His diverse oeuvre encompasses digitally manipulated self-portraits, landscapes, and narrative tableaux.
In his series ‘Bedridden’ and ‘Anonymous Self Portraits,’ Goicolea explores the themes of memory and nostalgia. The figures in the ‘Anonymous’ portrait series are caught in an in-between stage of being dressed or undressed, referencing what is to be revealed and is revealed. Remarkably prolific and inventive, Goicolea continues to intrigue his viewers with meticulously crafted, thought-provoking works that play with traces of memory but also transparency.
“I’ve always been interested in these transitional states that express themselves in different ways. My early work dealt with a lot of adolescent themes and how people navigate that time of their lives. Now, a lot of my work is caught in those ‘in between’ moments."
Kehinde Wiley is best known for his vibrant and ennobling portraits of black subjects collating modern culture with the influence of Old Masters. Incorporating references to classic art-historical settings and intricately patterned backdrops, Wiley’s work melds a fluid concept of modern culture through time, ranging from French Rococo to today’s urban landscape
By adopting the reclining pose, the works by Wiley in the ‘Down’ series – which depicted an unsettling series of prone bodies – imbue the subjects with a greater sense of sensuality and vulnerability than his usual oeuvre.
The models, many of which are dressed in their everyday Western clothing, assume poses found in paintings or sculptures representative of the history of their surroundings. This juxtaposition of the ‘old’ inherited by the ‘new’ immediately provides a discourse that is at once visceral and cerebral in scope.
“Asleep, wounded, dead, or objectified, the horizontal body is first and foremost one whose mortality and carnality have been underscored by its lack of uprightness. The recumbent body, in this way, came to signify passivity, vulnerability, and availability."
Rather than documenting the constructed fantasies of Hollywood, photographer Jeff Burton approaches his work as an observer with images that focus on peripheral objects, landscapes and body parts that are isolated, fragmented and disengaged from their original purpose.
Iconic for their lack of sense of time, the viewer gets lost in the idyllic scenes that his images present. Time seems to be standing still in the dreamlike worlds, in which Burton makes a picture that is as much about what exists outside the frame as what is present in the photograph, constructing his own personal and mysterious world that’s more suggestive than explicit.
“Much like the visible editing marks in the found transparencies, Burton’s image making practice is about cropping and capturing distinct moments.”
Collaborative duo David McDermott and Peter McGough began their careers posing as turn-of-the-century New York dandies, turning their life into an exploration of notions of time and history while producing films and photographs that explored similar themes.
Through this time-based ‘portal, McDermott and McGough challenge the chronological boundaries of art history and cultural identity. They question the nature of nostalgia and narrative, and the ways in which the past is conceptually and contextually reoriented for the future. The subsequent evolution of their work has found them more recently inspired by Hollywood cinema, advertising tropes, and comic books of the 1950s and 60s – the pair again searching for identity within an artificial world.
“We were experimenting in time, trying to build an environment and a fantasy we could live and work in.”
Please update your browser to access Creative Exchange Agency.
To request a PDF, please enter your email address. Once your PDF has been generated, you will receive an email with a download link.