Moran Bondaroff is pleased to announce Puuuuuuuuuuffs, Brian Belott’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, and his first exhibition in Los Angeles. Mostly comprised of three-dimensional wall pieces, this show presents the artist’s latest invention, which he calls “puff pieces” – a hybridization of collage, painting, and sculpture. This new series exemplifies his creative diversity and drive to improvise.
Over the past 20 years, Belott’s practice has spanned the gamut of media, from bookmaking to performance. His work is in constant flow, led by a relentless curiosity; one that is aware of art history yet operates without the anxiety of influence. The studio is like a creative chemistry lab, where he studies the aesthetic effects of combining material absurdity and the premise of tradition. With these experiments, Belott resurrects the mannerisms of Modernism and he frees his imagination, as he purposefully relinquishes control, foregoing the trappings of orthodoxy.
Belott’s Puff Pieces add dimension to his classic works on paper. Constructed by sandwiching a thick ply of cotton batting between layers of colorfast paper, these Puffs supply the occasional niche – cutout recesses that nest un-monumental, antiquated items, such as defunct calculators and remote controls, which he embellishes with brightly colored sand and stones. Belott’s work is self-indulgent – he is a stand-up abjectionist, refusing to accept the adage that original ideas are dead.
When I was a student at SVA, painting was not that popular. This fact only made me more stubbornly attached to it. In effect, I was reacting against unpopularity. I decided to glue strange things to canvas. Repeatable units, like marshmallows or cotton balls, allowed me to make colorful, lo-fi spoofs on geometric abstraction and grid paintings. The first Puff I made was in 1996. I covered a canvas in cotton balls layered with Post-it notes, and over that I painted a cartoonish green island, with a pair of dice. I titled it “Puffy Paradise.” Later on, I sized-up that painting. I realized it was only halfway complete. I remember my art teacher, Jack Whitten, telling our class that painting was reconstituting a skin. It took me years to understand what he meant, but now it’s stuck in my head. He was essentially saying that you have to create the skin for your own Frankenstein. – Brian Belott, 2016
Brian Belott (b.1973, East Orange, NJ) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BFA in 1995 from the School of Visual Arts, NY. His work has shown at The Journal, NY; LOYAL, Malmö, Sweden; CANADA, New York, NY; and Galerie Zurcher, Paris, France. Notable exhibitions include: Call and Response, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, NY (2015); Jeunes Créateurs à New York, Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France (2014); and Draw Gym, 247365, Brooklyn, NY (2013). Belott’s work is included in MoMA’s permanent collection.