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Axis Gallery is pleased to present “Under Construction” an exhibition of works by new members Benjamin Hunt, Nick Shepard and William Mead. This exhibition introduces these artists’ interdisciplinary approaches through both traditional and new media. Hunt, Shepard and Mead display works that reinterpret the construction of images that reflect art history, still life, production and memory. The exhibit weaves together these artists’ seemingly disparate work—sculpture, programming, and photography—in thought-provoking and surprising ways.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ben Hunt was born and raised in San Diego, California. He received both a Bachelors of Fine Art and a Masters of Fine Art in Spatial Art from San José State University in 2000 and 2008 respectively. While studying at SJSU, Ben worked as lead studio assistant to prominent Bay Area sculptors David Middlebrook and Randall Shiroma, as well as Graduate Technical Assistant to artist David Kimball Anderson. In 2008, Ben was invited to be the Visiting Artist and Guest Lecturer in Sculpture at Idaho State University and was the recipient of the International Sculpture Centers award for Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture. Ben moved to Sacramento, CA in 2009. He participated as a resident in the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission “Emerging Public Artist Residency” program in 2011.
Most recently, Ben was awarded the Leff-Davis Fund for Visual Artists by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and was a participating artist in “Broadway Augmented”, a virtual reality public art project produced by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, California State University, Sacramento and the Greater Broadway Partnership (the Business Association for the Broadway neighborhood in the project took place). Ben has been an adjunct lecturer at California State University, Sacramento and has worked as an exhibition preparator at the Crocker Art Museum. Ben resides in Sacramento.
I have had a longtime interest in seemingly ordinary everyday objects such as collectible and utilitarian items. I am fascinated by how an object such as a photograph, a piece of furniture or old toys can become a marker of time to a collector. My current work has been focused on creating objects that imbue a sense of captured time and nostalgia through their design, aesthetics and contents. Appropriated photographic imagery and reproduced cast metal objects have been incorporated into my current body of work to emphasize nostalgia and memory, both diminished and reconstructed. I am intrigued by the fragile and seemingly deceptive nature of photographic memory and recollection. The manner in which I work has been a reflection of my observations of passing time, growth and nostalgia contained within the framework of blurred memory.
Clarity and simplicity have been the ultimate goals of my studio practice. My work is constructed by systematically layering materials and imagery upon themselves in order to create volume and texture. The manner in which I work has been a reflection of my observations of commercial production, consumer consumption and growth on both natural and industrial sense of the word. The majority of my work is fabricated out of recycled materials and reclaimed, reconstructed and appropriated imagery and cast metal objects.
William Mead is originally from Boston, Massachusetts, and received his BFA in painting and sculpture from Parsons School of Art and Design in New York City. Since 2005 he has focused most his efforts on design, web development and teaching. He currently lives in Davis, CA with his wife, dog, cat and chickens.
As an artist, I am interested in questions about time, randomness, freedom, patterns, permanence, and the nature of creativity. Currently, my work is inspired by the abstract expressionism of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. I am also very much interested in exploring new media, such as the worldwide web and programming to push art into spaces usually reserved for commercial endeavors.
Nick Shepard grew up in New York, and after graduating with a degree in Studio Art and Art History from Carleton College in 2007, earned his MFA in 2011 from the School of Visual Arts in New York. His work was been featured in the 2016 Oregon Biennial: The Studio Visits at Disjecta in Portland, OR, Photography Now 2015 at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and he was shortlisted for the 2015 Athens Photography Festival. He has also appeared in Blue Sky’s Northwest Drawers, at the Wassaic Project, the Center for Fine Art Photography, in the 2011 Wallpaper* Magazine Graduate Directory, and in Lintroller and Ain’t Bad Magazines. Nick is based in Sacramento, and where he is Assistant Professor of Photography at Sacramento State. See more of his work at nickshepard.com.
We interact constantly with pictures, staring incessantly into our marvelous devices at incorporeal images. While we are experts through repetition and familiarity, seamless manipulation makes it increasingly difficult to read how any given image has been put together. Photographers are clever magicians, hiding tricks behind the curtain. The same might be said of builders, of speakers, of software designers. What are we to believe anymore?
In these pieces I alternately obfuscate and elucidate constituent elements: a wall sits out of place, some brushstrokes are too perfect, the tape that holds stuff together is exposed, a background is hastily darkened.
And yet, the everyday objects I depict have been transformed, and some things remain hidden.