SEATTLE ART FAIR 2017 | Jen Mann, Andy Dixon and Ben Skinner

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Winsor Gallery is pleased to announce that we will be attending this years Seattle Art Fair, August 3 - 6, 2017. We will be featuring Canadian artists Jen Mann, Ben Skinner & Andy Dixon. Come and visit us at Booth D22!

A B O U T    T H E    A R T I S T S

J E N    M A N N  |  Disillusioned with the art world’s emphasis on commercialism, Jen Mann views her paintings as physical and visual manifestations of ideas rather than as products. Within her work Mann toys with color saturation and hue to expose previously unseen details and challenge conventional notions of beauty and intimacy, revealing the hidden magic in otherwise awkward images. An important aspect in Mann’s work is her deliberate cultivation of imperfections. Mann prefers the off-shots, the pictures where the subject is blinking, or making a funny face, or looking away from the camera. “I think that there is something special about images that capture awkward or perhaps non-beautiful or posed moments. There is something beautiful in the honest moment.” Mann then heavily Photoshops her images to give them a washed-out look, and to insert various digital “glitches” that most of us would consider undesirable. Mann uses color as a storytelling technique, evoking elements of identity and interpersonal relationships in her paintings. Using imagery and symbols we are familiar with along with her dry and self satirical humour as a unifying force weaving her works together, Mann is able to address our society’s hypocritical and flawed projections of love and desire.

A N D Y    D I X O N  |  Andy Dixon is hyper-aware of art’s relationship with money. Signifiers of wealth abound in his large acrylic paintings, which take as their subjects stately lords, reclining nudes, ornate ballrooms, bathing beauties, and prominent paintings of the aforementioned motifs. Borrowing content from Renaissance art, Flemish still lifes, and Google Image searches of "most expensive vases", his subject matter is selected on the basis of public expectation of what an expensive painting should look like. By sampling content verified as valuable by the market, Dixon positions his own work to ask, "What is the value of a painting of a valuable object?"

Our value of art is truly a phenomenon that operates on a set of rules distinct from the ones that govern the rest of our world. Paintings which feature the tropes Dixon samples from perhaps at one time had social or political agency but are now simply commodities assigned value by the highest bidder. Paintings of expensive things are themselves expensive things collected by the wealthy to promote the luxury lifestyle. However, Dixon isn't out to mock the affluent. Rather, he is a complicit player in the game; his larger paintings of upper class social scenes tend to feature his own previous paintings hanging on the walls in the background. As Alex Quicho writes in Luxury Object, Luxury Subject, “His postmodern non-interest in either vilifying or reifying luxury cooly transmutes its weirdness.”

Dixon's work is full of juxtapositions. A self-taught painter, he treats his high-brow content in a crude manner, matching a vivid pastel palette with rough line treatment. His practice has recently expanded to include 3D sculptures which mimic the figures in his paintings—absurdly disproportionate, yet still created with an eye toward beauty. In this way, Dixon's own appreciation of his subject matter is evident; and while his work questions the subjective valuation of artwork, it also proves that it doesn't necessarily detract from its beauty.

B E N    S K I N N E R  |  Using unapologetic methods, Ben Skinner's practice navigates grandiose concepts of text, introspection, and materiality, while manoeuvring a wide range of design, visual vocabulary, and mediums. Skinner incorporates machine-cut lettering in clean fonts present tongue-in-cheek word play, given a further twist by hand-done application of a wide range of both traditional materials like paint with non-traditional materials such as foil and plastics. His keen eye for finish borders on obsessive, resulting in highly polished works with a quasi-fetish quality. His language and meaning is just as important to the work, however, with witty and often ironic statements pointing to the ambiguity of words to communicate ideas across varying contexts and situations.