Nicholas Baxter

Blog posts tagged “exhibition”

Blood Rituals Review

“Beautiful paintings of blood and bones at a gorgeous gallery in NYC.”

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There’s a fantastic review of the recent gallery exhibit BLOOD RITUALS MMXVI that was just posted today on www.tattoodo.com. Many thanks to Ross at Tattoodo! Read it here:

Ritual Magic and Blood Rituals MMXVI at Sacred Tattoo | Tattoodo

 

The entire series can now be viewed here on this site, just click on the link in the lefthand site navigation column.

 

Perception Of Being

This week I’m making the final preparations for my exhibition of new paintings in my current home of Austin, Texas, getting everything framed, printed, written, and ready to go. Here’s the press release for the show, which is a two-man effort with my friend and fellow Austin artist Jeff Ensminger. Stay tuned for more information on available originals, prints and other stuff, as well as pictures from the opening party.

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Nick Baxter: Perception of Being

Jeff Ensminger: Into the Void

 

Exhibition of new works at Mindzai Creative, 2001 South Lamar #D, Austin, TX 78704

November 21 – December 3, 2014

OPENING – 8pm – 11pm Friday, November 21

 

Mindzai Creative in Austin Texas is pleased to present a dual exhibition of new paintings by two Austin fine artists and tattooers, Nick Baxter and Jeff Ensminger. Both artists have worked over the past year to create a new body of work for the show, each with their own cohesive theme and symbolism. The unveiling of these paintings will take place at the Mindzai warehouse and gallery space in South Austin from 8 to 11 pm on Friday, November 21st. Both Nick and Jeff will be in attendance, with originals for sale as well as limited edition giclee prints and posters, along with live t-shirt screen printing featuring a design from each of their painting series.

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Nick Baxter’s series titled Perception of Being consists of twenty oil paintings on board, each sized at 9 x 12 inches and depicting a lone human heart on a background of pure white. Each of the twenty hearts features a unique variation or visual effect representing one of the many complex emotional or feeling states of the human experience. Conceptually, this series references the philosophical study of phenomenology while also being inspired by modern scientific research into emotion-based changes in the electromagnetic fields generated by the heart. Nick reduces these ideas into a simple and universally recognized symbol in order to describe and document the ephemeral aspects of the human condition.

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Jeff Ensminger’s series titled Into the Void consists of eight acrylic paintings on paper and wood, ranging in size from 12 x 12 inches to 36 x 36 inches. The paintings depict two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional black holes, also known as Penrose diagrams. These diagrams capture the relations between different points in space-time to illustrate the environment of a wormhole connecting two universes. Using green geometric grid patterns atop realistic depictions of deep space, Jeff’s series visualizes the Penrose diagram in a stylized way that is highly influenced by 70’s and 80’s science fiction films and literature.

Nick Baxter has been tattooing professionally and showing fine artworks since 2000, first in Connecticut, and since 2008 in his new home of Austin, Texas. Known for his innovative approach and color surrealist style in the tattoo medium, he has also gained recognition as a realist oil painter, having exhibited two solo shows at Last Rites Gallery in New York City since 2010, as well as in countless group exhibitions around the country and abroad. More biographical information and a complete CV can be found at www.nbaxter.com or his tattoo-focused website www.nickbaxter.com. Reach Nick via email: contact@nbaxter.com

 

Jeff Ensminger has been tattooing professionally and showing fine artworks in the Texas area since 2002.  His tattoos and artwork are known for their balance of modern realism and traditional tattooing fundamentals, creating a unique aesthetic sensibility with time-honored craftsmanship. You can view his works at www.jeffensminger.com. Reach Jeff via email: info@jeffensminger.com

 

Gallery contact: atx@mindzai.net

In Review: Union of Art and Sport

The Rules of Basketball: Works by Paul Pfeiffer and James Naismith’s “Original Rules of Basket Ball”

September 16 – January 13, 2013

Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin

In an unlikely combination of history and psychology, this exhibit pairs basketball inventor James Naismith’s 1891 document “Original Rules of Basket Ball” with contemporary artist Paul Pfeiffer’s basketball themed digital works. In hindsight, the Naismith material seems like it’d be merely a passing curiosity for most, and only significant for true sports geeks and devout basketball fans, as the real philosophical and entertaining meat of the exhibit is the collection of work by Paul Pfeiffer.

This basketball-specific compilation of pieces is dominated by enormous C-prints of mostly vintage and notable game photographs whose removed logos, names, and team colors imbue them with the ghostly hollow silence of a haunted house. Interspersed among these are tiny viewing vessels affixed to the walls, where short-length video clips run in fast highlight-reel styled loops.  Pfeiffer’s knack for selecting just the right 3 seconds of game footage to convey his symbolism is evident in the same unexpected walk-through-a-graveyard, eerie feeling they impart.  Some of the images and video border on absurd, utilizing the unreal juxtaposition of blanked-out team jerseys with highly memorable sporting moments. Taking all of this in, I found myself suppressing alternating fits of amused, snickering laughter, chest-vibrating tension, and fond childhood sentimentality.

Paul Pfeiffer
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (08), 2005
Fujiflex digital C print, 60 x 48 in.
Collection Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman NY, Courtesy The FLAG Art Foundation
©Paul Pfeiffer. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Like nearly all contemporary art, this work is primarily conceptual, deeply embedded within the theoretical realm of symbolism rather than in the organic lineage of traditional craftsmanship…what most tend to quickly appreciate as “skill.” As such, sadly, only the most informed viewers are likely to truly appreciate the full significance of what the artist has made (“Some photoshopped video clips–so what?”).  And this, of course, embodies so much of what’s wrong with art in postmodern society, and isn’t necessarily the average viewer’s fault (but that debate gets complicated, and needs its own future blog post or 7).

But, as guest curator for the Blanton exhibit Regine Basha insightfully describes, “Paul Pfeiffer frames media, spectacle, and masculinity [and, I’d add–race] in a way that sheds new light on the game of basketball.”  His clever digital work “adopts today’s frenetic visual language in order to consider the role that mass media plays in shaping consciousness,” according to the exhibit’s press release.  As such, Pfeiffer’s retouched photographs and manipulated video clips are sneakily at the epicenter of some of the most pressing and pivotal conflicts smoldering, unresolved, in the heart of our first-world empire of consumption and spectacle.

In Germany in 2000 the Kunst-Werke Berlin e.V., Institute for Contemporary Art, presented the first comprehensive one-man-show of Paul Pfeiffer, offering a beautiful description of his symbolism and process:

Pfeiffer’s digital videos are “moving still-lives,” challenging human perception as well as exploring long-standing issues of painting. Due to the accelerated repetition of short sequences, the essential codes of perception, such as the instant recognition of fore- and background, depth and surface, motion and unmoving, blur or cease to be of relevance. For example, in JOHN 3:16 Pfeiffer took found video footage of a basketball game and re-edited it in order to place the ball in the central foreground of the screen with the play swirling around it. The seeming fluidity of the image belies the painstaking nature of the production process: over 5000 individual video frames have been enlarged and repositioned to create the moving image of a ball in play.

(http://kw-berlin.com/deutsch/archiv/pfe/pfe.html)

John 3:16, 2000 (Filmstill)  ©Paul Pfeiffer

As a lifelong sports fan, artist, and cultural deconstructionist I had three inherent and unlikely leverage points with which to appreciate this exhibit.  Having long ago dissolved the barriers of the self-limiting, culturally-reinforced disparity between “jock” and “artist” stereotypes/archetypes within myself, I felt as though Pfeiffer’s work was made for–and was speaking intimately to–me. I was thrilled to stumble upon these eerily-altered iconic sports images on my recent museum trip, having planned my visit around the Blanton’s simultaneous exhibit of classic Western Americana paintings.


Fragment of a Crucifixion (after Francis Bacon), 1999 (Filmstill)  ©Paul Pfeiffer

In one short video clip that’s both instantly terrifying and hilarious, digital editing and repetition turn the post-dunk celebratory scream of a basketball player into an unnerving, awkwardly aggressive expression of rage.  What gives this art added significance to me–perhaps belying the original intent of the artist, who has purposefully removed any team, league, corporate or personal identifiers from the scene–is that I know the basketball player is former college and pro star Larry Johnson, who in Pfeiffer’s video was playing for the Charlotte Hornets, and whose promising career was disappointingly cut short due to injury.  I used to watch him enact that primal ritual on live TV as a child, reveling in his athletic prowess, imitating it in my makeshift driveway basketball court, and collecting his basketball cards. It’s in this sentimentality that the work touches a deeper human chord within me, and I feel like a participant in Pfeiffer’s visions, embodying a small part of the very unresolved conflicts that his work calls forth.