Eli Sudbrack 2014 Suzanne Geiss Gallery Show AVAF

Artist Eli Sudbrack Talks Adderall, Valium, and Excess

Contemporary artist Eli Sudbrack, otherwise known as “avaf,” which may or may not stand for “assume vivid astro focus” depending upon Sudbrack’s sentiments at the time, will be debuting new work at the Suzanne Geiss Company in New York City this Thursday, May 8th:

 The Suzanne Geiss Company is pleased to present new work by assume vivid astro focus (avaf). In their first major solo exhibition in New York since 2008, avaf interfaces geometric abstraction and transgender imagery in paintings that challenge social and sexual norms. The paintings, hung on top of an original mural by the artists, range from visually explosive figurations to pared-down abstractions. Presenting expressive forms against constructivist patterns and a restricted palette, the artists engage tensions inherent in class, gender, and identity politics. The dichotomy is furthered by the exuberant features applied to the figures. avaf’s imagined trannies have kaleidoscopic skin, titanic breasts, and penises with minds of their own. They become extraordinary, mighty foils to the hyper-sexualized female figures advertised in porn magazines and Marvel comics.

If that description left you with an image that resembles a whirlwind of hues and colors, something like the Indian Holi (Festival Of Colours), then this bud’s for you. Sudbrack’s work tends to be a cacophony of emotions, colors, movement, and influence. Often citing collective societal ills and pitfalls as the inspiration for his work Sudbrack has played Zordon somewhat, over the years constructing effigies in the form of transexual superheroes to combat the stress and angst teeming from the cups of our everyday lives. Trippy stuff and on the low if you hit up Grand & Wooster in Manhattan you might be able to see one of these superheroes…trust me, I did.

Eli Sudbrack Sculpture on Wooster and Grand

In anticipation of spring and its subsequent tidal wave of art, Eli Sudbrack took some time to sit down with the New York Times to talk about his current collection and new work. Check out an excerpt below, and head over to the New York Times for the full interview.

The coming show recasts your acronym, AVAF, and it is titled Adderall Valium Ativan Focalin. Why?

We always play with the AVAF initials, for one thing. You know, I’ve been living between São Paulo and Brooklyn and in each place I feel increasingly oppressed by the city, which is a general contemporary problem. People are ultra-anxious about work or ultra-anxious about trying to relax and have a good sleep.

To counter those forces you conjure up an imaginary race of avenging transsexual superhereos?

The images we use signify a fighting power. They’re characters of change, characters that remain powerful even though sometimes things have gone slightly wrong with them physically. Maybe they have too much silicone in their faces … . Still, to us they are like contemporary goddesses fighting the status quo.

Eli Sudbrack’s “ASSUME VIVID ASTRO FOCUS: adderall valium ativan focalin (cantilevering me)” will be on display at the Suzanne Geiss Gallery from May 8 to June 21.

[h/t NY Times]

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