November 6th, 2013 – December 1st, 2013
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 7th, 7-9pm
Noah Becker, Self Portrait #2 (Basquiat), 2013, 30 x 40 inches, oil on canvas
This November the Lodge Gallery is excited to present the work of renowned artist Noah Becker with a solo exhibition of his portraiture and collage-like reconsiderations of art history.
Noah Becker’s interest in masterworks from different art historical periods is the foundation upon which he has built bold and ordered compositions. In his self portrait “photo bombing” series which references pop art or his audacious remix paintings made from renaissance and 19th century sources Becker surprises us with his daring subjective interpretations. When he appropriates Warhol and Basquiat, Becker injects his own image front and center. There is an immediacy in Becker’s work that serves to underline the “selfie” generation we have come to embrace as an inherent visual component of life in the twenty-first century. In this era, anyone with a smart phone or digital camera can take a photograph. The mass produced self images of artists as varied as Cezanne, Warhol and Caravaggio adorn both the walls of the worlds greatest museums and the cheapest of tote bags and refrigerator magnets. What purpose then do figurative paintings and self portraits continue to serve?
Even when appropriating and integrating the most expressive artistic styles such as Jasper Johns or Dash Snow into his work, Becker’s rendering of each stroke remains calculated. While Becker makes every effort to place himself into the cannon of master painters from history we are reminded in works such as Hamburger, 2013, that Becker’s head is firmly in the here and now. Advertisements for contemporary beer and soft drinks appear in the composition of Becker’s Caravaggio remix creating a hip hop and sports bar atmosphere within an art historical context.
Juxtaposed against these new works are a more recognizable series of beautifully rendered portraits that at first may seem to be fairly straightforward, however a deeper exploration of this earlier work reveals many of the same uniquely provocative suggestions that challenge the temporal parameters that define any artistic movement. Historical mash-ups of recurring celebrity themes in works such as Phillip IV in the costume of Tim Tebow, 2012 question how much the purpose and practice of portraiture has ever really changed.
Noah Becker is an acclaimed oil painter with exhibitions at numerous international museums and galleries. Becker is a jazz saxophonist and the founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. Noah Becker is also a contributing writer for Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art, the Huffington Post and ARTVOICES. Becker lives and works in New York City.