In Fred Tieken’s paintings, the energy of street art is transformed through the artist’s feel for color and composition and his socially aware sense of humor. After years as a musician and then a graphic artist, Tieken found his voice as a painter by adding the clarity of graphic art to the uninhibited energy of jazz and rock music. Citing artists like Baselitz, Schnabel and Basquiat as influences, Tieken combines their signature primal energy and sophisticated sensibility with his own precise style and wry wordplay, bringing his images firmly into their own territory.
Painting in acrylics on surfaces that range from canvas to cardboard to aluminum (often adding elements of collage), Tieken uses bold brushstrokes to create complex areas of movement that provide each image with a strong surface energy. His color palette contributes another level of intensity – bursts of red, yellow and green animate his compositions. The artist says that for him, painting is like baring his soul to the world, and that level of emotional commitment comes vividly across in his work.
After receiving an MFA degree in sculpture and painting, Michael Flechtner’s life was changed forever by a visit to the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles. He immediately set out to learn the craft of neon fabrication, which he considers a Zen activity, and has lovingly elevated it to an art form. Today, Flechtner plays with language and pop imagery to create 3-dimensional neon forms that boldly reflect contemporary culture.
The two artists met last summer when they were in a group show at KGB Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. Tieken says he thought at that time how great it would be to do a two-artist show together sometime. When Nancy Hill and Mike Oleskow approached Tieken about a February show at Chartreuse, he put forward the idea and they were on board with it.
With Tieken just returning from the LA Art Show and Flechtner back from his show in Havana, Cuba, the two artists are ready to light up the walls of Chartreuse Contemporary Art Space with Pigment & Power opening on First Friday, February 5, 2016.