Bold Hype Gallery in New York opens Beau Stanton's "Archaic Ornaments" this week on Thursday night, April 12. Beau is a protégé of Ron English, while his new works debut as Stanton's first big solo show in the Big Apple. Opening reception Thursday from 6pm to 9pm.
Interview by Eric Althin. Images by Beau Stanton
How did you arrive at your unique visual style? were there any events/epiphanies/experiments that stick out?
I was designing a poster a few years ago and started researching late 19th century letterpress printing for inspiration. I got really into the old ornaments and started rendering variations of them in ink to use in the design. Next I started incorporating them into backgrounds for paintings and have continued to experiment with fusing the graphic elements of letterpress design with classical painting in new ways. Most of the content in my work is rooted in my fascination with history. Over the past couple of years I’ve been exploring abandoned urban structures in the NYC area. Finding beauty in the degradation became a primary aspect of my paintings as a result of visiting these sites.
Tell us more about the process of mixing screen printing and oil painting
I started using screen printing as a first layer in my paintings as a sort of guide to establish the geometry of my designs before rendering it out in oil. Lately I've been building up layers of color underneath the screened drawing in order to sand back into it creating an aged look of patina. In this show I included a new oil paint and screen print hybrid technique utilizing 4 to 6 screens on each piece. To create the first stage of the hybrids I worked with Alexander Henrisi, a master screen printer in Brooklyn who has been in NYC for over 30 years working with notable artists from Warhol to Hirst. Working with Henrisi allowed me to work much larger than usual at 4x4 feet and with multiple screens providing room to experiment with the sequence of layers, color combinations, and various techniques like color blends and transparent layers. After this stage I add other elements and continue rendering and manipulating depth and focus in oil.
What are some of the reoccurring themes of your work, and what attracts you to them?
Main ideas that keep coming up in my work center around the cyclical nature of creation, destruction, and rebirth as well as a feeling of discovering ancient lost narratives from the ruins of a past grandeur. I think that the combination of ornament and degradation creates an unusual contrast and raises some interesting questions.
What inspires you?
I am always inspired by fine craftsmanship, particularly when it comes to ornamented architecture, classical painting, or letterpress printing. Rusted metal and other decayed textures are always something I aim to recreate in my paintings. Just coming to my studio can be inspiring. The building I work in is a Civil War era warehouse building on the old shipping waterfront of Red Hook, Brooklyn. The sense of nautical history and 19th century manufacturing is really interesting to me.
Tell us about the work you've done for your upcoming solo show at Bold Hype Gallery NYC
While making the Archaic Ornaments show I was thinking a lot about ancient myth and our current obsession with apocalypse. I've been exploring the idea of a machined mythology, layers of artifice contrived by some ancient tradition that we've lost any collective memory of leading us to believe illogical things like apocalypse, destiny, etc. Images in the show include references to ancient myth and mysticism, relationships between creation and destruction, and vestiges of our collective unconscious.
What do you want the viewer to get out of your work?
I want my work to appear as if it were created by some kind of alchemy.