So far our Here For U initiative has shared the work of Qi Lei, Marc Dennis, Adam Lupton, Katelyn Ledford, Clementine Keith-Roach, Pieter Schoolwerth and Hunter Potter. In the spirit of ‘keeping on’ and continuing to bring U some fantastic work from exciting artists around the world, here is a quick look at the work of Mark Thomas Gibson and Ricardo Passaporte.
Mark Thomas Gibson’s politically charged illustrations capture what is often seen as an entropic societal shift. Gibson harnesses this pessimistic narrative – that has been brewing since the financial crash of 2008 – and uses it to herald further geo-political developments that are typically seen as worrying. This is work that ignores the fashionable arguments that call for an appreciation of everything good in a world which, statistically, is only getting safer, happier, healthier and richer; instead, Gibson chooses to champion free enquiry and the right to criticise, casting a satirical light on today’s society, he employs a technically accomplished sardonic visual language to pose questions and inspire insubordinate thought.
Gibson’s most recent exhibition, Gauntlet, at Gallery Loyal in Stockholm, depicted a vacant, ravaged world, the effect of an unspecified socio-political disaster. Why this work is interesting and relevant requires little explanation, Gibson’s rather prophetic depiction of a society in turmoil highlights the fragility of our economic and societal structures, calling into question preconceived notions of how we operate individually and as a group.
“I feel like I’ve been running a gauntlet. Everything that felt logical or functional has been tossed into chaos. The larger world is madness and my country is being run by a madman. Everything comes into question: my politics, morality, history, love, friends, and work. Nothing is sacred and the volume is cranked to 11.”
Mark Thomas Gibson was born in Miami, Florida, in 1980. As well as being a fine artist, Gibson is a curator and professor (currently teaching at Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). He received his BFA from The Cooper Union in 2002 and his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2013. In 2016 Gibson co-curated the exhibition Black Pulp! with William Villalongo, which has travelled from Yale University to IPCNY, USF, and Wesleyan University. In 2016, Gibson self-published his first book, Some Monsters Loom Large, with the help of an E-Grant from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, New York. Gibson’s second book Early Retirement was released in 2017 and has since been acquired to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Gibson is represented by Fredericks and Freiser Gallery, New York, and Loyal Gallery, Stockholm.
Endless Possibilities, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas
Low Tide, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas
Ricardo Passaporte’s site-specific works are usually created quickly, in a seamless flurry of artistic activity he underscores the age old and ever evolving relationship between art and commerce. Pasaporte draws a parallel between graffiti’s custom of tagging and the now common marketing practice of the corporate logo: by appropriating these logos (specifically that of supermarket chain LIDL), Pasaporte disrupts the relationship between brand and consumer.
The works draw attention to the uncanny ability of global corporations to monopolise society’s imaginative palette, claiming ownership of even the simplest visual markers: notably the three primary colours, red, yellow and blue. In his current body of work Ricardo explores the ordinariness of consumerism and the casualness of the brands that surround him. The paintings are executed in a manner that references his background in street art and fashion design, using unconventional materials including spray paints and air brushes.
“My work is deeply engaged with the history of Pop, underscoring the evolving relationship between art and commerce, sometimes appropriating logos and experimenting with enlarging or scrambling details until they reach various levels of abstraction.”
Pasaporte is a young artist, born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1987; he still lives and works in the city today. He attended UBI, Universidade de Beira Interior, Covilha, Portugal and Universidade Lusofona, Lisbon Portugal, studying fashion design at both institutions. He has had solo exhibitions all over Europe, in France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Most recently his exhibition Exciting Love took place at Ruttkowski68 in Paris.