– Born in the Bronx, NY; Grew up in Morris County, NJ.
– Education: Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, 1991-1995, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 2002.
– Organizes and curates a group “pop-up” exhibit “Who Clocked Cherry G?” in Boulder, CO. 1997.
– Solo show at CORE New Art Space, Denver, CO, 1998.
– Pioneers one of the internet’s early online art arenas, Cydonia Lounge / culturegrounds, with Scott Lickstein, 1997 – 2006.
– Opens, curates changing exhibits and retail shop at NOWhere Limited Gallery in Nederland, CO, with Scott Lickstein, 2007 – 2009.
– Solo show “$ave/Produce,” NOWhere Limited Gallery, 2008.
– Co-operates NOWhere Limited – Contemporary Art, a retailer and publisher of prints and other artists’ multiples, 2006 – present.
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS & PROJECTS 2012 – 2014
– “iCoda,” A digital project commissioned by Peter McAdam, Newcastle, England, 2014.
– “Crackle & Glow,” Arlene’s Grocery, New York, NY, 2014.
– “Bound Requiem,” Curated by Michael Mararian, Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY, 2014.
– “Now in Love,” Arlene’s Grocery, New York, NY, 2013.
– “Junkmail Squared,” NOWhere Limited’s All Roads Project, New York, NY, 2012.
– “Courage Colours,” Curated by Brendan Coyle, Coyle Cavern, Staten Island, NY, 2012.
View extended CV: here
Wordplay and multiple meanings fascinate me. Ad copy meant to appeal to the masses becomes personal and poetic when mutated into imagery, puns or textural marks that appear in my work.
Small flukes that sometimes occur with mass production – a misaligned print, seam lines in plastic – are not flaws to me, but rather reminders that humanity exists behind machines.
I’m interested in the relationship between seeming opposites like: the hand-made and the mass-produced; uniformity and individual expression; the unique and the universal. I see the idiosyncrasies I gather and exploit not as defects but as a keystone for exploring dichotomies like these and hopefully revealing the beauty of both.
With sufficient decomposition something machine-made and mass-produced can almost appear natural or hand-made, and therefore unique. This observation influenced me to employ unconventional materials and techniques to mimic the sensibility of decay in my artwork. Over the years I’ve used such (admittedly wacky) substances as iced tea mix, dirt, toothpaste, mustard, dog hair and pine needles toward this end. While I’ve since abandoned the worst-smelling and most disintegrative of these, my series $AVE/PRODUCE and Junkmail² are made largely from trash. The imagery in this work is taken from the materials used to build its surfaces: junk mail, supermarket circulars and paperboard boxes that once contained food or other goods. Because the pictures and symbols featured are based on real marketing designs, the colors, shapes and slogans have a familiar quality. They are recycled images. But, they are also one of a kind; instead of directly copying, I add twists to the narratives, paint in a sloppy style or contrive chaotic compositions to transform the mass-produced into something more human.
In addition to gleaning flukes from mass media and consumer goods or creating them by building up textures of paint and paper, I stage experiments to generate weirdness. For instance, in a recent series I ask Google Image Search to “make value judgments” by searching for pictures representing subjective words like “pretty,” “worst” and “perfect.” The distinctly non-human results are collaged and transferred to canvas.
I also use clear packaging tape as fluke-generating vehicle. Here’s how: I flip through tabloid magazines, junk mail fliers or catalogs and quickly stick random bits of the pages to strips of tape. This creates what I think of as “collage-on-the-fly.” These compositions are digitized and archived for future use. Their latest incarnation takes shape as my new acrylic painting series. In this as yet untitled body of work I paint large canvases or wood panels with imagery adapted from collages and sketches I’ve made with the impromptu tape method. I’ve also been adding pieces inspired by these sketches to the Junkmail² series.
-Elisha Sarti, 2012.