Tanya Leighton presents ‘Circa Skippy’ by New-York based artist Brian Belott. ‘Circa Skippy’ focuses on Belott’s acclaimed ‘Puuuuuuuuuffs’ series — paintings whose surfaces are stuffed full of thick cotton batting, paint-soaked sponges and amorphous blobs of colour. The wonky geometry of Belott’s “Puuuuuuuuuffs” are punctuated by fabric and knobs, handles and hooks gleaned from dollar stores. The fans and kitschy electronics that are set into the works surfaces remain switched on throughout the duration of the show, humming and flickering with performative energy that mirrors the artist's frenetic, unwavering personality.
Brian Belott is relentless. Taking a step back and looking at his art as a whole, you get the sense of a pretty unusual thing: an artist building a whole alternate world from scratch, where calculators have become sumptuous ornamental objects, and children’s art is championed—a world, in other words, that is by turns joyous, psychedelic, and generous.
–Andrew RussethExcerpt from ‘Park Nights’ 2016, Serpentine Gallery, London
[Belott] started his ‘Puuuuuuuff’ pieces in the late 1990s, covering canvases with cotton balls coated in thick, colorful paint to create textured, three-dimensional surfaces that riff on the tradition of modernist abstract painting. By infusing his works with humor and absurdity, Belott makes a space for creativity and invention, stating, ‘A well-delivered joke could save the world’.
–Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley
Whitney Museum of American Art
In Belott’s case, too much is not nearly enough — he is remarkably well informed about art history and music, which greatly influence his art and improvisational process. What results is a personal mythology lifting him beyond the dreariness of everyday life.
–Jonathan Goodman, The Brooklyn Rail
Poking and prodding at artistic convention, Belott leaves nothing off the table with regard to inspiration, materials and execution. He looks to children’s art with the same reverence as he does Dadaism.
Sound scribbles are a collection of vocal improvs whose genesis is similar to singing in the shower or making a prank phone call... These song's structures meander like a kid's made-up story, logic can about-face and in an instant, turn on itself.
The problem is that part of me is a formalist who loves Mondrian and Agnes Martin and wants to make something so empty, and so clean and crisp, but then the other half of me is someone who would set the Mondrian on fire and is a Dadaist.
Everything is about fusion — if you could just pick two unlikely things and force them together, that is where the sparks fly.
I refuse to join any club that would have me for a member