RGB: John Gill, Daniel Gordon, Emily Mullin, Ettore Sottsass
Through Friday, August 12
Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present RGB, a group exhibition featuring work by John Gill, Daniel Gordon, Emily Mullin, and Ettore Sottsass. Informing each artist’s practice is the notion of building, both as material construction and conceptual layering. Placed in dialogue, the artists and their work revive retro aesthetics to look forward towards a harmonious union of fine art, architecture, and design.
Renowned for his maximalist, iconoclastic approach to design, Ettore Sottsass (Italian,1917-2007) revolutionized the world of design, enlivening ordinary household objects and furniture with vibrant colors and bold, geometric embellishments. The artist adeptly fused established design traditions, such as minimalism and art deco, with the vibrant colors of the Mediterranean landscape and the synthetic materials that became commercially available during the 1980s. His work with the Milan-based Memphis Group and beyond founded an era of colorful, bombastic design that continues to have impact across the visual arts today.
In his image-based practice, Daniel Gordon (b. 1980; Boston, MA) utilizes both digital and analog processes. With the genre of still-life as his starting point, the artist appropriates images of everyday household objects he finds online—vases, fruits, plants—and introduces his own digital interventions. Printing the images on paper before cutting them out, the artist assembles a three-dimensional tableau in the studio, which he then photographs with a large-format camera. In the body of work presented in this show, Gordon reduces his compositions to a color palette of red, green, and blue, the same hues of the RGB color model used by some of the earliest computer and television screens. This color motif nods somewhat nostalgically towards the 1980s, the decade of the artist’s childhood and the period during which Sottsass’s design aesthetics proliferated across the globe.
Emily Mullin’s (b.1984; Santa Monica, CA) multi-media sculptures similarly engage the tradition of still-life while taking inspiration from a range of historical design motifs, from Early Cycladic vessels, to the Wiener Werkstätte, to the pop aesthetics of recent decades past. Mullin references the classical forms of still-life compositions while blurring the lines between illusory image and physical object. Her ceramic vessels, emblazoned with bright glazes and intricate, painterly ornamentation, sit atop colorful steel shelves of the artist’s own design. Inside each vessel, Mullin places live flowers, an offering of sorts to viewers confronting a still-life made three-dimensional. Intended to be mounted to a wall, her sculptures are situated as miniature altars, offering joyous displays of color and pattern.
A formidable presence in the landscape of contemporary American ceramic art, John Gill (b. 1949; Renton, WA) builds vivacious vessels from slabs of clay, arranging them to construct scaffolded levels of protruding angles and swelling, oblique forms. For this exhibition, the artist presents a new body of vases, ewers, and sake bottles that emanate the distinctive quality of a Manhattan skyscraper. Their vertical expanses and soaring spouts recall the prismatic exteriors of urban high-rises, while their colorful pop embodies the youthful, subversive character of postmodern design. With intuitive expertise, Gill centers his practice around chance, approaching his craft with a spirit of spontaneity, innovation, and play.