Belvedere Art Space is an international contemporary art gallery located in the heart of downtown Beirut, Lebanon. It hosts a large selection of artworks in different mediums by established and emerging contemporary artists from all over the world.
It was started by a passion the two founding partners, Aal Chammaa and Nour Jarmakani had in common for contemporary art and their desire to bring this art to their home country. Both founders have complemented their interior design degrees with art history and curating certificates from the UK and the US and have been building portfolios and purchasing artwork for clients for several years.
Their main focus and passion is art from North America and the African continent but their extensive travels, client base, and work have brought them to an understanding and true admiration of art from all over the globe.
With a diverse yearly exhibition program and an educational program that involves seminars from artists and industry professionals to give both art collectors and art amateurs more insight into the international contemporary art world they are very excited to share this passion with both their local, regional and international community.
Great night last night at the 50th Anniversary Art Show opening for the classic 1964 surf movie ‘Endless Summer’, hosted by ARTSEEN, Bruce Brown Films & Esquire Magazine. I was one of 9 artists, including famed ‘Endless Summer’ cover artist John van Hamersveld, to exhibit works honoring the film. It was a fun night. Here are some shots of the opening… Exhibition runs through Labor Day Weekend. Info below.
“In 1964 a young filmmaker named Bruce Brown set out on a quest following two surfers on a surfing trip around the world. As the title suggests if one had enough time and money it would be possible to follow the summer around the world, making it “endless”. He created a timeless classic, an iconic film that inspired generations and is beloved by millions.
Art Seen & Esquire present The Endless Summer 50th Anniversary Art Exhibition. Inspired by the Endless Summer film, the exhibition will feature a group of 8 celebrated artists. John Van Hamersveld, Woody Risk, Laddie John Dill, Dev N Gosha, Ryan Snow, James Verbicky, Miguel Osuna and Brad Howe sill present original works of art inspired by the film. John Van Hamersveld, the artist who created the now iconic movie poster, will also be present to sign limited edition fine art prints of the original poster (all artworks and prints are available for purchase).”
“To call James Verbicky’s “media paintings” attention grabbing and magnetic is an understantment. So much so that the Canadian mixed media artist earn an “Extraordinary Ability’ green card– a rare currency bestowed by the United States government in recognition of his representation in U.S. galleries and museums, charity involvement, and heaps of critical praise. Just two of the entries on the artist’s impressive CV: selection into Paris’ annual Societie Nationale des Beaux Arts juried exhibition at the Louvre and a commissioned work created on a Frank Gehry sphere originally housed at the Hollywood Bowl.
Verbicky, now based in Southern California, lent his extraordinary talent to this issue’s cover art, ‘Papillon En Fleur 1’, in mixed media and resin. Unusual symbols, cubes of vivid color, and vintage branding materials- advertising posters, magazine covers, found graphics- align in horizontal planes, forming a dimensional piece that is sculptural in effect. “The radiating composition conjures a vision of a bursting flower,” says Verbicky, “a theme that unites perfectly with the butterfly, a herald of spring.” Take in more of the artist’s evocative storytelling on the book’s back cover, where symbols and words such as ‘chic’, ‘la mode’, and ‘original’ punctuate Verbicky’s collage. Seems he knows a thing about fashion and what NM stands for, too.”
Analog or digital? This question—perhaps the defining one of our time—is at the heart of James Verbicky’s “media paintings,” large-scale, glossy assemblages composed of vintage magazine cutouts applied in horizontal grids to Baltic birch panels, and finished with a slick of resin. Homages to print media and the now-benign language and designs of vintage advertising, Verbicky’s colorful collages absorb the bold text and formal flourishes of pages pulled from decades-old copies of TIME, foreign publications, and books collected at flea markets. With no shortage of nostalgia in his voice, Verbicky says in an online video that delves into his magazine-strewn studio, “printing is such a dying media, this was the main way of influencing people back then.” In his eye-catching works, which explode with visual information and draw from the vocabulary of both Pop and Minimalism, these relics of print media are “sealed in time,” the artist says.
Another artist to draw elements from Pop, Hunt Slonem—who you may know for his series of portraits of Abraham Lincoln and his mural that adorns the much-loved Manhattan institution, the Bryant Park Grill, as well as his signature paintings of exotic birds and butterflies—has said of his practice, “I was influenced by Warhol’s repetition of soup cans and Marilyn. But I’m more interested in doing it in the sense of prayer, with repetition…It’s really a form of worship.” Slonem employs this meditative strategy in captivating gouache and oil renderings of parrots, doves, macaws, and cockatoos—subjects that have been something of an obsession for the artist, all featuring in his personal aviary at his home in the American South. The New Yorker once reported that the artist could be found in his studio “painting away with a bird or two on his shoulders.” Among the tropical birds and butterflies that inhabit his paintings are rabbits, which Slonem began painting after discovering he was born in the year of the rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac calendar.
Focusing on their respective fixations has paid off for Verbicky and Slonem, whose works are richly patterned and imbued with tender reverence for their subjects. You can find their work, alongside others, at Madison Gallery’s booth at the Dallas Art Fair, April 10–13, 2014.
At first glance, one of James Verbicky’s artworks could be construed as nothing more than a brightly colored piece of patchwork. But a closer look reveals a clever collage of vintage magazine cuttings, fragments of foreign advertisements, and recognizable brand names arranged in a neatly ordered grid. This is the work of a perfectionist, who puts bits of torn paper together in a manner that is highly stylized and altogether engaging.
From his early teens Verbicky, who grew up in a small town outside of Edmonton, in Canada, was drawn to the powerful print images and advertisements he saw in magazines. He began collecting old issues of Life magazine, and a visit to Paris in 2008 inspired him to make media paintings using vintage French posters, prints, and foreign publications, which he bought from vendors along the Seine.
Verbicky, now 40, moved to the Los Angeles area 10 years ago to escape the dreary Canadian climate. His studio is full of large tables covered with magazine spreads from his vast collection. When he creates a new piece, he begins by pulling out pages that catch his eye. “You have no idea what it takes to make these collages. It’s not something you crank out,” Verbicky explains. “When I’m getting ready for a show, I’ll look around the studio, and there are thousands and thousands of little scraps of paper.”
Once the work is assembled, Verbicky finishes it with resin, which makes the surface shiny. It also makes the paper transparent and causes the images on the backside to bleed through, creating more depth. “I’m careful to see what is behind each piece I pull- there may be coming through, which makes the collage more interesting and creates a certain mood,” he says. His work is also sculptural in nature. “The end result brings to mind the physical act of reading, as if to turn the next page,” says Lauren Nasella, the Boston-based chief operating officer of DTR Modern Galleries, where Verbicky’s work is on display.
Verbicky’s work was selected for a juried exhibition at the Louvre in Paris, and also has sold at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York City. His latest pieces are intended to remind us that we are continuously influenced by past and present iconic brands- and that we are constantly bombarded by too much information. Hence his busy ‘Blitz’ pieces, he says, “are kind of like anything goes… every single color, lots of text, lots of graphics… a mass explosion of things in your face.”