Artists to Know: Barry McGee, Alex Kanevsky, Jasper Johns
Barry McGee (born 1966 in San Francisco, California) is a painter and graffiti artist. McGee rose out of the Mission School art movement and graffiti boom in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early nineties. His work draws heavily from a pessimistic view of the urban experience, which he describes as, "urban ills, overstimulations, frustrations, addictions & trying to maintain a level head under the constant bombardment of advertising". McGee's paintings are very iconic, with central figures dominating abstracted backgrounds of drips, patterns and color fields. He has also painted portraits of street characters on their own empty bottles of liquor, painted flattened spray cans picked up at train yards and painted wrecked vehicles for art shows.
Alex Kanevsky intentionally doesn’t include a bio with his work because he hopes the paintings speak for themselves. If you are interested in learning more about Alex, take a look at the interview Vivianite.net did with him recently.
Also, if you are curious how paintings evolve to their finished state, check out Alex’s progress pages on his site somepaintings.net. There you can see photographs of each stage of three different paintings as they are being completed.
Jasper Johns, Jr. (born May 15, 1930) is an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking. Johns' breakthrough move, which was to inform much later work by others, was to appropriate popular iconography for painting, thus allowing a set of familiar associations to answer the need for subject. Though the Abstract Expressionists disdained subject matter, it could be argued that in the end, they had simply changed subjects. Johns neutralized the subject, so that something like a pure painted surface could declare itself. For twenty years after Johns painted Flag, the surface could suffice - for example, in Andy Warhol's silkscreens, or in Robert Irwin's illuminated ambient works.