October 1, 2023


Make Some Fun

Juxtapoz Journal – Cliff Hengst & John De Fazio Convey Their Counterculture Historical past to pt.2 Gallery, Oakland

3 min read

pt.2 Gallery is worked up to current an exhibition that includes the work of longtime San Francisco artists and counterculture icons, John de Fazio and Cliff Hengst. Regardless of their interconnected paths, this marks the primary time the artists have proven collectively, putting the boldly irreverent but vastly totally different creative practices in dialog. Whether or not it’s Hengst’s textual content work on paper which maintain the immediacy of political signage but retain an open endedness that pushes them into one other realm fully, or de Fazio’s layered kitsch creations that use previous varieties to create fully new fantasies, each artists have constructed full-fledged worlds inside their artist practices for many years and it’s to our collective betterment that we’re aware about the dialogue.

With a background combining appearing, efficiency, writing, visible artwork, and having attended and taught at SFAI just like John de Fazio, Hengst’s multifaceted work and educating follow have enmeshed the artist deep inside the Bay Space arts ecosystem for many years. For this exhibition Hengst will present a collection of his iconic textual content work, in addition to two watercolor works on paper. The artist’s textual content work hover someplace between portray, efficiency, writing and political activism. Reaching again to a time when the artist labored in a market as a teen creating indicators for the newest offers, these language-based works have advanced as a approach for Hengst to create work in a fluid and improvisational method with out dropping himself within the formal parts or heady baggage that may accompany the self-discipline. As a substitute, Hengst employs snippets of data, issues the artist has overheard or lyrics from songs which have lodged themselves inside the mind of the artist. By means of the immediacy of transferring these letters to brightly coloured items of paper in daring hand painted textual content, Hengst each memorializes inane bits of data and creates a mantra that’s repeated till the very that means of the letters and phrases begins to lose that means–obliterating language itself. Included within the present alongside the textual content works are extra delicate watercolor works on paper that trace on the vary of the artist. At occasions radiating with portal-like strips of colour that emanate like auras, or in others human and cat head varieties comprised of swimming pools of watercolor, organized in delicate steadiness, releasing trails of exhale from their mouths which crawl slowly to the highest of the compositions.

Much like Cliff, John de Fazio’s path as an artist has taken him from Philadelphia to San Francisco for an MFA studying underneath the tutelage of ceramic grasp Richard Shaw, again to New York the place the artist created figures for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, labored for MTV on a wide range of initiatives, all of the whereas creating a novel aesthetic by way of the reassemblage and queering of kitsch ceramic molds. For this exhibition, de Fazio will exhibit a combination of by no means earlier than seen work in addition to archival items that date again to the late 80’s and early 90’s. Like an adept DJ John de Fazio mixes a wide range of buildings offered by plaster molds, combining characters in usually perverse unions and juxtapositions, additional camouflaging these originals by way of an extremely layered ornament and firing course of. Whether or not it’s a bong that takes the type of a cartoony Michael Jackson as seen in Barry Gordy’s 1978 movie The Wiz, or a funerary urn of a zombie gnome pushing a cart replete with bones protruding, an ACT UP patch adorning the again of the magical determine’s hoodie–regardless of their deeply layered cultural references and implicit humor, every sculpture operates as a conduit for the transportation of consciousness, physique, thoughts and spirit.

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