Ryan Johnson CAS/MFA '13 and Samuel Scharf CAS/MFA '12 exhibit their collaboration 'Kill or Be Killed' in the Katzen Kreeger Lobby.
The Kill or Be Killed (A.D.) collaborative project between D.C. artist Ryan Johnson and California artist Samuel Scharf consists of 8 iconic recreated images from the following AbEx predecessors:
Ad Reinhardt: Abstract Painting No. 4, (1961 A.D.) SOLD - NOT ON EXHIBIT Helen Frankenthaler: Small's Paradise: (1964 A.D.) Kenneth Noland: Split, (1959 A.D.) SOLD - NOT ON EXHIBIT Mark Rothko: Untitled-Seagram Mural, (1959 A.D.) Robert Motherwell: Untitled-Ultramarine, (1974 A.D.) Barnett Newman: Vir Heroicus Sublimis, ( 1951 A.D.) Franz Kline: Suspended, (1953 A.D.) Hans Hofmann: Green Formality, (1960 A.D.)
Despite our predecessors passing, their iconic images continue to maintain a solid foothold within an art historical context. As Contemporary artists we are conditioned to look up, revere, and respect these predecessors, while still producing art that reflects our own current concerns within the now. The dichotomy which exists between past icons and their correlating images; set forth the impetus for the Kill or be Killed (A.D.) project. In order to usher painting forward into the current, we must recreate, shoot, kill, and obliterate the images of yesteryears. This was accomplished recreating their works by hand and then shooting these 8 iconic images with various high caliber explosive rounds that pierced through the paintings surface. The bullets were aimed at spray cans, releasing a timeless tarnish of gold onto the face of the shoot image following impact. Metaphorically bleeding out the soul of the old image, in order to release the spirit of the icon trapped within it. In our attempts to carefully recreate these 8 AbEx images, we're paying homage to our predecessors in killing them through their work. This project set forth to release ourselves from their stale static image, and shepherd them into a contemporary discussion concerned with the now; rather than a historical one regarding the past.