05/07/2008-19/07/2008: Jon Campbell, Melissa Frost
For its inaugural exhibition, STYX Project Space is proud to present the work of two young berlin-based American artists, Jon Campbell and Melissa Frost.
The paintings of Jon Campbell explore the rugged existential terrain of the 21st century. A powerfully understated palette serves to emphasize the emotional condition of his distorted figures, which have garnered the artist comparisons to Francis Bacon. Campbell's style, however, is all his own - his paintings reveal a philosophical complexity that belies the artist's young age.
"Campbell is primarily interested in disjunction. His paintings represent a downward slide, from formal perfection to deformity and mutilation, or just plain wrongness. The human figure serves as the foundation of Campbell's pictorial interest, but even in the straightforward portraits ... the final execution seems to serve as a departure point for probing issues of a more existential nature." (Travis Jeppesen, disorientations.com)
In her visual work, Melissa Frost uses painting, photography, and installation to examine issues of documentation and historical construction within an encompassing preoccupation with space and, above all, time. Through re-drawing ballroom dance instruction as fascist iconography or re-contextualizing early psy-ops torture experiments with pop music, the documents of wars are presented as far more intimate relics of divergent realities. Frost consistently returns to issues surrounding the social functions of photography and the roles it is allowed or assumes: the instant gratifier in digital, the charlatan alchemist in negative, the documenter, the final authority. Whereas work with polaroid photography is preoccupied by the absence of a negative and the value of the singular object, current work painting from found negatives seeks to examine the construct of the snapshot and its role within framing and editing personal and political histories by returning the image to its alchemical state. Where diagrammatic dictation looses intention and mediums auto-destruct into useless eulogy, impossible orders demand either submission or farce, sexuality slips into grotesque vaudeville, and presence and absence play out a slapstick of self-proof.
Jon Campbell was born in 1982 in Kingston, NY. His mother, Nancy Campbell, also a painter, exposed Jon to painting at the age of two, when he would watch her paint watercolors in her attic studio. Jon has been making images of his own since that age. He attended the Woodstock School of Art on a full scholarship, the School of Visual Arts, and the School of Art+Design at Purchase College, from where he received his B.F.A. as a Magna Cum Laude graduate. His paintings have been exhibited internationally, and are in numerous private collections. Jon has been living and working in Berlin, Germany since May 2007.
Melissa Frost graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art, London. Her work with Slayer Pavilion was featured at URA! during the 10th Istanbul Biennial. She is also known for her impossible dance step floor installations, one of which was shown in Disposition at Lukas Feichtner Galerie in Vienna, Austria. The exhibition considered contemporary art in relation to sound and also featured the work of Martin Creed, Martin Kippenberger and Oleg Kulik, among others. She lives and works in Berlin.
Opening Reception: 5 July 2008, 7-10 pm
Closing Reception: 19 July 2008, 7-10 pm