Gao Hang’s recent paintings are inspired by image “definition” and “rendering” in digital graphics on the internet, especially those from the last 20 years. The rawness of hand coloring/tracing/sculpting 3D digital graphics on a 2D screen resonates with “painterly movement” on canvas in terms of the honesty and uncertainty of muscle behavior.
The sharp digital boundaries become literal hardedge paintings in front of the artist. Gao finds inspiration in standup comedy that challenges general beliefs, and political correctness, yet at its core is negotiating between the observations, language, and laughter of a given performance. This para-social relationship is no paradox, but a constructive conversation between the performer and the audience. In many ways, his paintings are like standup comedy – they can only do so much about solving real problems, but brutal honesty, absurdity, and humor are very powerful qualities in any type of conversation.
This body of work for YOU ARE COMPLETELY SPECIAL was created to discuss the idea of “identity” in the rising of the metaverse, and is titled upon these 24 game character lookalike portraits that all share one exact same face with different body hair and skin colors with only slightly different sized eyes. This is a simulation of character creation in a game (or maybe in the metaverse?) And a simultaneous questioning of the definition of “special”.
People are always seeking to be special, but under what factors? And are these factors functional in a digital world? Or rather should these factors function in a digital world? What makes a person special in the real world and what makes a person special in a digital world? If everyone is special, then should we even use the word “special”? When is “special” a positive word and when is it an offensive word?
You see, all of these questions, Gao doesn’t care about at all.
BREACH gallery is proud to present, “Splits and Slips, The Disobedient Banana”, a solo exhibition from contemporary artist Ivana de Vivanco. Presenting new paintings and sculpture, de Vivanco explores the complex history of the titular fruit. Iconic in pop culture and American casual cuisine, the banana has also inherited from systems of exploitation and violence. Grappling with the multi-dimensional aspects of the banana as a symbol of at once humor/decadence and societal fragmentation, de Vivanco seeks to represent the notion of hope in an otherwise unkind reality.
Excerpt from Claire Breukel’s, “Ivana de Vivanco Rhymes for Reason” Ivana de Vivanco recognizes that the simple banana has the capacity to wreak havoc. Ironically, within global trade systems, it already has. A commodity with more than 100 billion consumed annually across the globe, this phallic fruit on the one hand offers affordable nutrition, and on the other has been at the heart of unjust labor practices and further disenfranchisement within “developing” countries. In her United States debut solo exhibition at Fabien Castanier’s BREACH gallery in Miami, de Vivanco affords the humble banana a Robin Hood persona, and activates the fruit as a tool for sweet revenge. Titled “Splits and Slips, The Disobedient Banana”, the exhibition alludes to America’s more superficial relationship with bananas; as a delectable and kinky dessert; as the protagonist causing a slip in Chaplin-esque slapstick comedy; and perhaps even as a duct-taped art edition—but it also suggests a possibility of a split world that is disrupted by slipping preconceived norms. A world where a disobedient banana is an activist.
Born in Portugal, de Vivanco grew up between Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and for the past decade has lived and worked in Germany. Congruently, her creative practice reflects this divergent background amalgamating culturally eclectic references and stylistic approaches, along with conflated logics of time and space. The result is paintings, drawings and sculptures that reflect historical and mythological research, an immersion into the history of painting inspired by her love for Flemish masters spanning the 15th to 17th centuries, as well as a romanticism evocative of Latin American baroque. Adept at evoking drama, de Vivanco, in addition to these influences, adopts paradigms from literature and theater including children’s puppet shows to construct her visual stories. The picture plane of “Everyday Bananas” is connoted by a flat rectangle canvas reminiscent of a puppet show stage. The painting is divided between a pink world below encasing three bananas, and a puppet figure with detached head and arms shadowed on a blue backdrop above. As if in motion, the puppet enters the scene with red hands open in exclamation hovering over the bananas below. What would the figure be saying?…
BREACH IS the newly founded contemporary gallery from Fabien Castanier and Ed Broner. With Castanier as the gallery’s owner-director and Broner undertaking curation and art direction, BREACH is built on a philosophy of openness and equal opportunity. In contrast to selection processes based on discriminatory categories, such as social background or educational credentials, at BREACH, it is the quality of the artistic work that is paramount in the program’s determination.
As a decades-long gallery owner and director, Fabien Castanier continues to explore ventures in the art world sphere that bridge the gap between cultures and genres. Founding BREACH has opened up more pathways towards the cultivation of emerging and diverse talent, always with the mission to unlock new potential within a strong international gallery program. With his sights aimed at creating a welcoming space for contemporary and cutting-edge artists, Castanier remains an advocate for the perseverance of the cultural landscape in Miami and beyond.
As an artist and curator, Ed Broner has long been intensly involved with the most diverse places in which painting can be created. On the one hand, he has demonstrated a keen intuition for young talent for many years – even when they were still students experimenting at their universities. He has a sense for trends, movements and emerging careers. His former blog Now Now Contemporary brought about influential discoveries. On the other hand, Ed Broner doesn’t just look around at institutions, nor is he interested in who was a master student of which professor when making his selection. He makes no distinction between self-taught artists, outsiders of an underground culture, graffiti sprayers, or award-winning fellows. Age and origin are also irrelevant. Ed Broner curates paintings, not biographies or profiles. An unfortunately rare but all the more exciting approach.