Untitled (CBOE in Gold) Detail  |  © Abdul Mazid

Untitled (CBOE in Gold) Detail © Abdul Mazid

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Deconstructing the philosophical concept of aesthetic value undoubtedly ties to esoterically conceiving of the multiple environments in which artwork prevails. In a quantifiable data-driven universe how does the capacity to elicit pleasure become commodified? Monetized? Is there such a need? How to qualify intrinsic value senza monetary worth? In this capitalist society is pleasure valuable? If so, how much does it cost?

Glitter, historically associated with craft, low-brow art, and feminine subjectivities, has managed to divide the contemporary art world. Thus a conversation of value is intrinsically tied to the capabilities of the medium; simultaneously an evocative stand was taken by the key players in the game to better inform this dialogue.

Conservators, museum collections, curators, and gallerists seem to have developed hostility toward the medium itself, whereas artists have begun to glitter-coat the art world from within. Matthew Carter, Juan Logan, and Abdul Mazid explore glitter as a medium within the confines of their fine art practice, each bestowing the unrestrained material with a unique level of intricacy and a new agency.

Matthew Carter conveys that glitter is “the material that is permanently smiling,” and makes use of it to signal the affiliation between figuration and abstraction. Within his body of work, he expands on these traditions of simultaneity. While capturing the viewer’s gaze with the shimmer of the glitter, and juxtaposing it to with the raw linen which aesthetically signals to a nature of instability.

Juan Logan uses the playful and unrestrained medium, predominantly in the color black to signal to political and historical oppression. As he mentions “it is the love of the material as a tool” that drives and informs his choices. “In the process, the whole story is never on the surface.” Glitter thus serves him to convey layers of meaning into his aesthetic creations.

Abdul Mazid employs glitter to investigate alternative currencies; within his body of work, he questions the creation and destruction of value itself. As he mentions, “I use glitter because of my interest in economics.” The medium itself and the implications it connotes allow Mazid to subvert the very agency of the structures the work needs to thrive, disrupting existing relations, and challenging its own channels while transcending commodification.

In these three distinct instances glitter surpasses its own implications to become a tool of exploration. Carter, Logan, and Mazid bequeath the medium an agency that allows it to exceed playfulness and become thought-provoking. Moving past craft and femininity, glitter becomes bold, it becomes a challenge, it fights back. With each iteration, glitter transcends the fine art canon, and antagonizes commodification while eliciting a pleasure which cannot be quantified.

 

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Five Stacks of Death, Dread, Darkness and Destruction |  © Matthew Carter

Five Stacks of Death, Dread, Darkness and Destruction |  © Matthew Carter

Matthew Carter

Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He holds a BFA from The Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and an MFA from Otis College of Art & Design.

Carter's paintings are a reminder that traditions of figuration and abstraction often supplant one another in contemporary art history, as they are both traditions of simultaneity. Carter's current explorations include glitter and alternative media such as whisky, which he is incorporating into his latest body of work. 

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Untitled                                                                            © Juan Logan

Untitled                                                                          © Juan Logan

Juan Logan 

Born in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Mount Royal School in Baltimore. He currently lives and works out of Belmont, North Carolina.

Logan’s artworks address the American experience. Simultaneously abstract and representational, his paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and videos address the convergences of race, place, and power; making the hierarchical relations and social stereotypes visible, as well as question how they shape individuals, institutions, and the material and mental landscapes of contemporary life.

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Accumulation Theory                                           © Abdul Mazid

Accumulation Theory                                         © Abdul Mazid

Abdul Mazid

American artist based in Los Angeles. Working across a wide range of media to explore the underlying complexities of identity as determined by micro and macro systems within economic structures.

A first generation American of Syrian and Mexican decent. Mazid draws upon his own person experiences as a point of reference to inform his artworks, to investigate concepts surrounding socioeconomics, globalization, and hybridization of identity.

More on Abdul Mazid.