Connect
To Top

Meet Ian Pines

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ian Pines.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Ian Pines (b. 1984 in Denver, CO) received his BA in art from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2007 and his MFA in painting from UCLA in 2010. He has exhibited his large-scale oil abstractions at numerous venues throughout Los Angeles and the Southwest including Coagula Curatorial, California State University at Long Beach, Oxnard College, the Manhattan Beach Art Center, Eastside International, Wilding Cran Gallery, Jaus Gallery, Creative ABQ, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. He currently teaches art at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Oxnard College. An extensive selection of his work can be seen at www.ianepines.com.

Please tell us about your art.
My works are indomitably personal, intuitive, and psychological: my paintings are rapidly metamorphosing mirrors of primordial oil. Yet out of the glut of paint on canvas emerges much artistic as well as anthropological and cosmological significance.

Attempting to organize my expressionistic gestures in a prolonged improvisational fashion results in a compounding of second-guesses wrought with frustration at the collapse of control, but something gestates in the chaos and confusion. The piled-on inconsistencies along with the privileging and repeating of awkwardly attained idiosyncratic shapes and colors construct unanticipated new forms that spring from the muddled myriad of coalescing marks. These collective structures provide an excellent impetus for the painting to be labored over in search of a “formally balanced” (or uniquely imbalanced) formation or scene. The surface is frequently excavated, yielding vibrant and complex color sequences. The oily refuse from such excavations is applied to the canvas providing an abrupt impasto. When this mangled, muddied surface is pervaded by various fleshy pinks and reds or gaudy golds and silvers, it conveys a sense of the baroque by allowing a lustrous irreverence to spill through and onto the earnest, assiduous work. This entire process results in a visual narrative that emerges in the work and references previous paintings in my oeuvre.

The flurries of brushstrokes that are ostensibly heaped onto one another in the paintings allude to the uncertainty humans find themselves wallowing through in our overstimulated environment. Whatever is struggled for is lost in the anarchy of our relentlessly corrosive surroundings, but, none-the-less, we do develop consequential things albeit typically unintentional and ephemeral—out of our own tenacity and cosmic luck. In my paintings I see our flesh, besides being buried under the prodigious sums of stuff produced in modern capitalism, being ripped apart more and more with the implementations of magnificent technologies. We are pulled in countless directions by telecommunications, quick transportations, and other complicating automations in our lives, so much so that the actual feeling of what it is to be inside the body is dulled with the constant barrage of anxiety and attention put forth to pay attention to myriad demands. This odious state along with the obvious monstrosities of new polluting and violent machinations points to something undeniable: grafting technology to the human mess is a clumsy and horrific process. The organic and inorganic amalgamate poorly. Our psyches are casualties shown by the screaming viscera in my work.

We are alienated from the preciousness of life, so my paintings aim right at the most corporeal, relevant, and basic factors of death and sex in order to bring about a somatic reaction in viewing the work. Death, the constant factor in a universe eating itself, is paired with its antipode, sex, the chief act in defying death and decay. My paintings celebrate the overwhelming gravity of our situation with their carnival of radiating ecstasies and sublime, exquisite mutilations. Everything is electrified with bright color and bravado. It all must be affirmed and criticized! Humor and irony are integral parts as well, because to be aware of one’s own futility and transience in this churning cosmos and still thrive requires an appreciation for the absurd; hence the foul figures and shapes flopping and slipping off one another in a slapstick of some oversaturated pornographic space opera. This absurdity is no more humanely or acutely conveyed than through the highly plastic medium of oil paint with its oh-so-rich history that I draw from.

Pines’ recent work continues in a similar vein to previous paintings of his. There are compounded expressionistic brushstrokes, a continual churning-up and reusing of the paint, and the general working and reworking of the painting surface. These oily excavations tend to juxtapose and violently merge three elements that work at varying speeds on Earth: the slow geologic element of rocks and minerals (rocky, eroded, and stratified surfaces), the animal and human element of relatively primal existence (fleshy pinks and reds), and the technological element of quick advancement (metallic surfaces, ores, and inorganic shapes). The paintings give a sense of how unique, crazy, terrible, and wonderful our current situation is.

Pines’ recent work continues in a similar vein to previous paintings of his. There are compounded expressionistic brushstrokes, a continual churning-up and reusing of the paint, and the general working and reworking of the painting surface. These oily excavations tend to juxtapose and violently merge three elements that work at varying speeds on Earth: the slow geologic element of rocks and minerals (rocky, eroded, and stratified surfaces), the animal and human element of relatively primal existence (fleshy pinks and reds), and the technological element of quick advancement (metallic surfaces, ores, and inorganic shapes). The paintings give a sense of how unique, crazy, terrible, and wonderful our current situation is.

What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
It is certainly difficult to be an LA artist because of the financial struggle. LA has become increasingly expensive; so much of an artist’s time is devoted to keeping the artist financially afloat. I personally know of no full-time artist who is financially secure. Much more affordable housing would help artists who are just scraping by.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
01. Postmodern Prolepsis: The Gothic Architectonic, 72″ x 48,” oil and on canvas over panel, 2017
02. Libidinal Lumps, 72″ x 48,” oil and vermiculite on canvas over panel, 2017
03. Meat Matrix 1: Bloodworms, 61″ x 61,” oil and polyurethane foam on canvas, 2017
04. Id Icon Machine, 72″ x 48,” oil and vermiculite on canvas, 2016
05. Celestial Flesh Portrait, 36″x32,” oil on canvas over panel, 2016
06. Meteoric Lump, 32″x36,” oil and vermiculite on canvas over panel, 2016
07. Calcified Carnal Construction, 26”x68,” oil on canvas over panel, 2016
08. Gilded Anthropocene, 84”x84,” oil on canvas over panel, 2015

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in