Kenny Scharf: BLOX and BAX

"I have been using plastic and electrical appliances from the garbage for over 40 years in my art," writes artist Kenny Scharf. His installation Kenny Scharf: BLOX and BAX is on exhibit now at Honor Fraser Gallery in Culver City, California, until April 22.

In Kenny Scharf: BLOX and BAX, Scharf uses paint along with plastic beads and decorations, layering colors and objects to create fantastical, intimate dioramas that reference Scharf’s lifelong concern about the detrimental environmental effects of discarded plastic.

For his series TV BAX, Scharf uses abandoned television monitors found on sidewalks around the city and transforms the matte black and silver plastic TVs into brightly painted faces. Scharf’s Assemblage Tableaux Vivants series comprises wall-mounted assemblages pieced together from found plastic toys and games. In the painting below (Untitled, 2006) and in his Lixo sculptures, Scharf makes use of plastic pollution he collects from the beaches near his studio in Brazil (“lixo” is the Portuguese word for trash).

Kenny Scharf was born in 1958 in Los Angeles and lives in Los Angeles. In his paintings, sculptures, videos, public artworks, and installations, Scharf unites political ideas with a pop aesthetic, critiquing mainstream media and rampant commercialism through his art.  

"While I intend my work to raise awareness of the over abundance of garbage and the indestructible non-degradable material that is plastic-petroleum, I also include messages of hope and optimism and joy; so essential with the mounting pressure of global destruction due to our dependence upon petroleum products," he explains.

"Innocence and its discontents are Scharf’s great subjects," writes the LA Times of BLOX. "That double-edged drama plays out in eight intimately scaled wall reliefs, each made from a hodgepodge of consumer products and packages Scharf has glued together and painted in a rainbow of colors. These quirky assemblages recall the mobiles that parents often hang above cribs. But Scharf’s brightly tinted constellations seem to suggest that each newborn might be better off on another planet. And the more time you spend in his exhibition, the more it seems that that might be true for all of us."

Visit Kenny Scharf: BLOX and BAX at Honor Fraser Gallery in Culver City, California, until April 22.

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