Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mark Staff Brandl - The Hood in miim Chopf. Vadian Bank, St. Gallen. April 23, 2015.

There was a packed house in the cellar of the Vadian Bank in St. Gallen, Switzerland for what I'm told will be the last exhibition they stage.
'The Hood in miim Chopf'  (The Neighborhood in My Head) by Mark Staff Brandl is a fitting finale. The show contains of 88 small works, hung in pairs, with a portrait alongside an object that best represents that person.
 A better explanation in the form of a press text and an annotated diagram follows the pics.
The shows runs until June 12th, which incidentally, is the night of my vernissage in St.Gallen.
Mark Staff Brandl - The Hood in miim Chopf. Vadian Bank
Mark Staff Brandl (white t shirt).
Mark Staff Brandl - The Hood in miim Chopf. Vadian Bank

"The 'Hood in miim Chopf
Mark Staff Brandl
My exhibition is titled "The 'Hood in miim Chopf." This is a combination of American English slang and Swissgerman dialect. In full English "The Neighborhood in My Head" and in Hochdeutsch, "Die Nachbarschaft in meinem Kopf." I show largely outside my living area nowadays. In the gallery that represents me in Zurich, Jedlitschka Gallery, or in Italy, New York, Chicago, elsewhere in Europe and so on. When I was asked to exhibit in the exhibition space of the Vadian bank, I had to think of something appropriate to being there. That is one of my joys as an artist, to work in what I call "Contextually Specific" ways. My work generally merges painting with installation, sign-painting and sequential art, often with a central conceptual framework that comes from the context of where it is being shown.
I decided that since the location was somewhat local, I would make it a celebration of the VERY local. I decided to do portraits of people who live near me in the village of Trogen, AR, people with whom I have regular contact. Thus neighbors. That is my "Viertel", or as we say it in the US, my " 'Hood." However, then I thought to expand it a bit, to bring it into our mobile present. I added to the group people who I see regularly, who I feel to be my neighbors, but who do not live directly near me. Thus, the neighborhood in my head, in my thoughts. These are people in Trogen, St. Gallen, the local artworld, Liechtenstein and more. Ones I talk to and think about.
Each portrait consists of two panels. The first is an image of their face in my style, in a variation I call "drawing-paintings" as they are somewhere between those two media. The second panel is of a thing they chose, or I chose for them, that represents them in some way. Die verschmelzen Einflüsse von Jackson Pollock, R.B. Kitaj, Jacopo Tintoretto, Schrift-Malereimeiner Vater Earl Brandl, und dem Comic/Sequenzielle-Kunst-Zeichner Gene Colan. Sie scheinen mit geschleuderten Tropfen von Schildmaler-Email-Farbe gestaltet zu sein. Aber die Striche und Linien verwandeln sich zu Repräsentationen ihrer selbst. I do visual philosophy in slang. In the Renaissance and Baroque arists would often paint objects that were synecdoches from the interests of the sitter. I always loved that, this is my version. In the Vernissage, you can ask the individuals what the objects are and why.
One more conceptual aspect. The paintings are for sale in pairs, as together they make up the portrait. However, the individual subject, those people who I represented have also the option of proposing a barter with me. A Gegengeschäft or Tauschhandel. Especially since most are not collectors: What they could do or the like for me in exchange for their portrait.
Welcome to an aspect of my world in the Ostschweiz. Thank you to Walter Ernst and the Vadian Bank, and all the people in the pictures for this possibility and allowing this strange trade.

Mark Staff Brandl (detail).

Mark Staff Brandl
MSB wiki
Vadian Bank

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