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Studio Visit - Rives Granade

Studio Visit - Rives Granade

Studio Visit - Rives Granade

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Studio Visit with Rives Granade by Saatchi Art

Rives Granade drapes abstractions over narratives, adding dimension to their origins and finishing them with a surface as smooth as satin latex. The Los Angeles based artist, who works in a multitude of mediums, has a natural ability to turn meaning into myth and vice versa, using anything on hand to create a fluid palette while doing so. Misplaced aboriginal fishermen and paintings of photographs of photorealistic sculptures are likely ingredients. He took time out of his morning routine to meet me at his studio and chat about what he’s working on. A wall of water-damaged photographs spoke in color-swirled tones about his new works in progress.

Q.

Who are you and what do you do?

A.

Rives Granade.  

I am an artist…? 

 

Q.

Tell us about what you are currently working on…

A.

Currently I’ve been working with found photographs, snapshots really. Most of the images have something strange happening in them where either the emulsion has deteriorated into near abstraction or the picture is of something that I cannot understand. In this respect they are more like objects, and there is something about a found object that you just can’t make up.

 

There is an integrity to it that really can’t be manipulated or it is lost. These pictures also contain a history that I’m interested in, both the history of what they represent and that of their deterioration. Taken as a whole body, they can represent incredible cultural swaths of a location. I’m using these images in different ways – some will become 

  

Q.

Your work is a little dark, a little humorous and pretty brave. Can you tell us a bit about the themes behind it?

A.

My interests lie in the disconnect between reality and our perception thereof. Nietzsche pointed out that everything we experience is in essence a series of metaphors. What we perceive when looking at a rock, for example, is the light reflecting off of the rock, photons entering through the lens of the eye, the stimulation of rods, cones, and nerve receptors in our retinas, the electronic firing of neural synapses in the brain’s occipital lobe, etc.

 

So the perception of a rock is the illusion of that rock, the illusion of reality, set up by layers of removal. We never can get to the noumenon, or what Kant referred to as the thing in itself. Also, the idea that language has come to validate reality instead of the other way around I find intriguing.

 

This means that the idea of absolute truth must be completely thrown out the window. Wittgenstein did significant work along these lines. Images are part of this descriptive language, defining and constructing reality. Art, and painting in particular, is in a unique position to try and find “truth” as it relates to these ideas. Each painting I do is an experiment, an investigation into the nature of an image and how it functions. I am interested in what’s behind the image, how the image is constructed, how it is read, etc.

 

My work tends to be photo based, because the photograph still is thought of as a document of reality. Painting the image helps me deconstruct and understand it. The darkness in my work is partly a defense mechanism, but it also has to do with my sense of humor, critical scrutiny, and a certain cynicism that pervades in me. The darkness is almost always a little tongue in cheek though, which I guess is where the humor comes in.

 

The thing I actually like about painting is its ability to straddle the line between the artificial and the real. Baudelaire preferred theatre backdrop painting to the 19th century landscape painting of his day because of its artificial nature. The backdrops didn’t try to hide their artifice, and in that sense they were more real. I see your work relating to photos as images with proper scale and narrative involvement but showing situations that are unlikely literal. In other words, the images might be a metaphor for what a photograph was actually saying, a peek into the world of “the thing itself”.

  

Q.

What would have been a typical doodle for you as a child?

A.

I recently saw some of my drawings from when I was 5 or 6. They were simple linear abstractions with some parts colored in, maybe Brice Marden or Terry Winters looking things – come to think of it, they resembled some David Smith drawings that I recently saw. Anyway, later I drew in a predictable style that was influenced by cartoons/comic books. Nothing mind-blowing. I think that there is a suburban sensibility to my work. As a kid I watched a fair amount of TV, and for some reason I tend to remember the commercials more than anything. However, I also loved the outdoors, baseball, skateboarding, etc. One’s aesthetic tends to be infused with many different experiences and mine is no different. It is an amalgam of my life.

  

Q.

Your work is a little dark, a little humorous and pretty brave. Can you tell us a bit about the themes behind it?

A.

My interests lie in the disconnect between reality and our perception thereof. Nietzsche pointed out that everything we experience is in essence a series of metaphors. What we perceive when looking at a rock, for example, is the light reflecting off of the rock, photons entering through the lens of the eye, the stimulation of rods, cones, and nerve receptors in our retinas, the electronic firing of neural synapses in the brain’s occipital lobe, etc. So the perception of a rock is the illusion of that rock, the illusion of reality, set up by layers of removal. We never can get to the noumenon, or what Kant referred to as the thing in itself. Also, the idea that language has come to validate reality instead of the other way around I find intriguing. This means that the idea of absolute truth must be completely thrown out the window. Wittgenstein did significant work along these lines. Images are part of this descriptive language, defining and constructing reality. Art, and painting in particular, is in a unique position to try and find “truth” as it relates to these ideas. Each painting I do is an experiment, an investigation into the nature of an image and how it functions. I am interested in what’s behind the image, how the image is constructed, how it is read, etc. My work tends to be photo based, because the photograph still is thought of as a document of reality. Painting the image helps me deconstruct and understand it. The darkness in my work is partly a defense mechanism, but it also has to do with my sense of humor, critical scrutiny, and a certain cynicism that pervades in me. The darkness is almost always a little tongue in cheek though, which I guess is where the humor comes in. The thing I actually like about painting is its ability to straddle the line between the artificial and the real. Baudelaire preferred theatre backdrop painting to the 19th century landscape painting of his day because of its artificial nature. The backdrops didn’t try to hide their artifice, and in that sense they were more real. I see your work relating to photos as images with proper scale and narrative involvement but showing situations that are unlikely literal. In other words, the images might be a metaphor for what a photograph was actually saying, a peek into the world of “the thing itself”.

 

Q.

Which do you feel is your most significant piece or has the most meaning to you?

A.

The piece that has the most meaning for me is the one I’m currently working on. After I stop working on something, it becomes an entirely different thing.

Rives Granade Says

"Each painting I do is an experiment, an investigation into the nature of an image and how it functions. I am interested in what’s behind the image, how the image is constructed, how it is read, etc."

Q.

Artist whose career you covet?

A.

Anyone working in the distant future.

 

Q.

Most influential "character" in American history in the past 10 years?

A.

Most influential "character" in American history in the past 10 years? Tara Indiana of the Female Supremacy Party.

 

Q.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

A.

It's my main source of therapy, and stress.

 

Q.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

A.

Cufflinks from the White House.

 

Q.

Describe your work in 3 words.

A.

Red Yellow Blue.

 

Q.

Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often?

A.

“Ring’s end.”

 

Q.

What are you most proud of?

A.

My cat Jacuzzi.

 

Q.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

A.

Not liking my answers to these questions.

 

Q.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

A.

Space, but not too far.

Q.

What are your other hobbies?

A.

Reflecting on my childhood.

 

Q.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

A.

A royal artist from ancient Egypt.

 

Q.

What influences you?

A.

Science and history.

 

Q.

What motivates you?

A.

Death.

 

Q.

What’s your studio philosophy?

A.

Be honest.

 

Q.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

A.

Electricity & gravity.

 

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

Email correspondence.

 

Q.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

A.

Install a show on the North/South Korean border.

 

Q.

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

A.

Magritte.

 

 

As told by Saatchi Art

 

About Rives Granade

His work brings up questions of translation, deterioration, and entropy as they relate to our contemporary existence and relationship with forms of digital production and consumption.

 

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Explore

Make a statement. This selection of work provides the artist with the space to create on a larger scale.

 

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About Rives Granade

Rives Granade is an artist and writer who lives and works in Los Angeles. Granade is interested in form and space as it relates to language and architecture. His work brings up questions of translation, deterioration, and entropy as they relate to our contemporary existence and relationship with forms of digital production and consumption. The artist has exhibited his work in the U.S. and abroad. He received a BA in philosophy from Washington and Lee University and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.

EDUCATION

2008 MFA, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
2002 B.A. Philosophy, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015, Red Poem, Ochi Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2011, Mancave, Duncan Miller Project Space, Santa Monica, CA
2011, Special Feature, Marine Contemporary, Venice, CA
2010, Love Force, Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2016, TBD, Harmony Murphy Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (curated by Katie Bode)
Circle of Truth, Curatorial Assistance Gallery, Pasadena, CA - traveling nationally (curated by Laura Hipke and Shane Guffogg)
2015, Here There Be Tigers, Gallery Lara, Tokyo, Japan (curated by Kio Griffin)
2014, Myself is Another, The Underground Museum, Los Angeles, CA
2014, Salon no. 9, Marine Projects, Venice, CA
2012, Coming Together, Fabien Fryns Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
2011, Metallic, PØST, Pasadena, CA
2011, Chain Letter, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2011, Brann, Kino Kino Centre for Art and Film, Sandnes, Norway
2010, Boom, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
2009, 19th Nervous Breakdown, Norte Maar, Brooklyn, NY
2009, Salon no. 2, Marine Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA
2008, Steven Wolf Fine Arts at Aqua Art Miami, Aqua Hotel, Miami, FL
2008, Valuemax, Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
2008, Face Value, Work Sound, Portland, OR
2008, Post-Boomers and the New South, Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
2008, Wilderness, Swell Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2008, Athens Video Art Festival, Technopolis, Athens, Greece
2007, Fun Time, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2007, Bay Area Artists Contemplate the African Diaspora, SF Arts Gallery and SF Public Library, San Francisco, CA
2007, Presence and Pretense, Swell Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006, Southeastern Juried Exhibition, Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
2006, Marking the Spot, Walter and McBean Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006, Migration, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006, Contemplating Inappropriateness, Crucible Steel Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006, Figure Head - Figure Caster, Catchi Art, San Francisco, CA