‘The New Logic’ Featured on Cover of ‘Sonora Review’ Issue 70

January 14th, 2017 | No Comments

the new logic by grant wiggins on sonora review issue 70
The New Logic has gained new life as the cover image for Issue 70 of Sonora Review.

It’s a tremendous honor to see my 2003 painting The New Logic featured on the cover of the current issue of literary journal Sonora Review.

Produced by graduate students of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona, Sonora Review is one of the oldest student-run literary journals in the U.S. Its former staff members include David Foster Wallace and Richard Russo.

The New Logic is featured on Issue 70 of Sonora Review. It’s the second consecutive time in which my work has appeared on the journal’s cover. In spring of 2016, issue 69 showcased The Escape Machine, which is from the same series and era as The New Logic.

The New Logic is one of my darker paintings. When I asked Sonora Review Editor-in-Chief Janet Towle that she consider this painting, versus more upbeat sketches I had offered, I had the feeling this painting would more accurately mirror the unsettled psychology of our present moment.

As if combatting mass-paranoia, all persons portrayed in this painting — except for one — wear a helmet. Even the football helmet’s hammer-wielding mascot dons a hardhat. The lone exception is the psychotherapist in the foreground, who administers a biofeedback experiment on his willing subject.

In the distance, against a panorama of lurid stripes, flag-brandishing motorcycle corps seem destined to clash. Patrolling the skies, searching for an enemy of the state, are silhouettes of futuristic “firemen,” from François Truffaut’s film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451.

The football helmet in the upper right corner is of the Pittsburgh Maulers, of the defunct United States Football League, which Donald Trump is credited with destroying. The Maulers had a .167 winning percentage in their only season. To me, this reference was personal. While a fan of American football as a child, I had found myself completely uninterested in the sport as an adult. This was my ode to a lost passion, and the disappearance of an upstart league that had tremendous promise.

Page 179 offers three black-and-white images of paintings I have made over the years. In addition to The New Logic, pictured are Where Is Gibarian? and Stop Static (Before It Stops You).

paintings by grant wiggins in sonora review issue 70
Paintings by Grant Wiggins showcased in Issue 70 of Sonora Review.

I am grateful to Editor-in-Chief Janet Towle for inviting me to share my work with readers of Sonora Review. Likewise I appreciate the opportunity she afforded me, in the biography section of the volume, to tell the story of how I started painting. Seizing the moment, I offered tribute to the poets, artists, and professors who shaped my own art:

For Grant Wiggins, whose painting The New Logic is featured on this issue’s cover, a life in the visual arts originated in poetry. While a fledgling poet at Kenyon College, he dreamed of publishing his poems in a literary journal. He therefore feels tremendously honored to be invited by Editor Janet Towle to showcase his art in issues 69 and 70 of Sonora Review. At Kenyon, Wiggins studied poetry in English, Spanish, and French — from Edward Taylor to John Ashbery, to the Troubadour and Cavalier poets, to Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo, to Tristan Tzara and Kurt Schwitters. A highlight at Kenyon was when Allen Ginsberg, unable to find a copy of his Collected Poems, gave an entire reading from Wiggins’ personal copy. While at Oxford University, Wiggins studied French Symbolist poetry. Returning to Kenyon, he found himself gravitating to the art history stacks, and learning about friendships between poets and painters, as well as poets who painted. Discovering the catalog for Andy Warhol’s Guggenheim retrospective changed everything, inspiring within him a strange new impulse to paint. Wiggins began to paint with greater devotion while earning his M.A. at Northwestern University, where he wrote his thesis on Elizabeth Bishop’s “surrealism of everyday life.” Although painting eventually took over, Wiggins remains forever grateful to the many professors of literature who encouraged his love for poetry and helped shape his imagination — Deborah Laycock, Linda Metzler, Clara Román-Odio, and Jennifer Clarvoe at Kenyon; Patrick McGuinness at Oxford; and Reginald Gibbons and Paul Breslin at Northwestern. His involvement with Sonora Review represents a circle fully drawn, a long-lost dream fulfilled.

paintings by grant wiggins in sonora review issue 70

I traded a life in literature for one the visual arts at a fairly young age. The results haven’t been half-bad! Kidding aside, sometimes I wonder what that other life might have been.

Collaborating with Sonora Review over these past two issues has been tremendous fun. I have sincerely enjoyed reconnecting with literary circles. It’s encouraging to see work that I made more than a decade gain new life.

‘Pop!’ at {9} the Gallery in Downtown Phoenix

January 7th, 2017 | No Comments

grant wiggins in pop, at 9 the gallery in downtown phoenix
Now showing at Pop! at the Gallery in Phoenix: 19-6983, Looking Forward to Now, and Fantasia with 23rd Century Megastructures.

This month, for the first time in several years, I am exhibiting my art in Downtown Phoenix. From January 6 through February 1, 2017, three of my paintings will be on display in the group show Pop!, at {9} The Gallery, 1229 Grand Ave, Phoenix.

The paintings I’m showing are 19-6983 (2014), Looking Forward to Now (2014), and Fantasia with 23rd Century Megastructures (2006).

While my work has clearly gravitated away from my early roots in “acid pop” art, I am nonetheless exhibiting pieces that evidence mass-culture influences, namely product packaging and decorative design.

grant wiggins in pop, at 9 the gallery in downtown phoenix
grant wiggins in pop, at 9 the gallery in downtown phoenix
grant wiggins in pop, at 9 the gallery in downtown phoenix

Other artists participating in Pop! are Anthony Banayat, FunWow, Megan Koth, Lyndel Palermo, and Daniel Shepherd. More details at facebook.com/9TheGallery/

Many thanks to fellow artist David Dauncey for recommending my work to gallery owner Laura Dragon, to whom I am also grateful. This is a great way to start 2017!

‘The Escape Machine’ Showcased on Cover of ‘Sonora Review’

April 17th, 2016 | No Comments

grant wiggins' 'the escape machine' on the cover of sonora review issue 69
The Escape Machine on the cover of issue 69 of Sonora Review.

I’m honored and thrilled to see my painting The Escape Machine showcased on the cover of the newest issue of Sonora Review. My gratitude goes to Editor-in-Chief Janet Towle for the opportunity!

Produced by graduate students of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona, Sonora Review is one of the oldest student-run literary journals in the country. Since its founding in 1980, the journal has published many highly respected authors, such as Denis Johnson, Mark Doty, Campbell McGrath, Maggie Nelson, Nick Flynn, and Lydia Millet.

Former staff members of Sonora Review include Antonya Nelson, Robert Boswell, Richard Russo, Tony Hoagland, David Foster Wallace, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Tim Peterson, and Richard Siken.

Work originally printed in Sonora Review has appeared in Best of the West and Best American Poetry, and has won O. Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes. More at sonorareview.com.

grant wiggins in sonora review
grant wiggins in sonora review
Back cover and artist bio in Sonora Review’s issue 69.

Painted in 2002, The Escape Machine represents one of my first experiments with incorporating pattern into my paintings. It also samples an image from a mid-1970s German instruction manual for the Odyssey video game console.

Playing their way into a feedback loop, the painting’s subjects seem to have fallen into a mirror world. The painting inquires how the virtual reality of video games might shape or reinforce everyday consensus reality.

I’m very encouraged to see work I made many years ago find new life. It’s also fantastic to have my work appreciated by literary circles!

New Paintings: Early Winter 2016

January 18th, 2016 | No Comments

Throughout late November and all of December, I produced a trio of paintings that were inspired by the idea of the pixel, the archetypal building block of digital culture.

Through the pixel, I had rediscovered the magic of the simple square. Unlike curves, which had seemed so dated to me by comparison, pixels offered a more modern way to express line and color.

The three paintings are now in the Maximalism gallery of my site.

The first in this series was Find Your Way Out. This piece was the result of a creative exercise, in which I held a lottery of preselected graphical elements. In effect, I allowed randomness to determine combinations, which I had to “play” like dealt cards. When I feel a need for a creative spark — or “way out” toward something new — chance is always there to show me a way forward.

grant wiggins: new paintings early winter 2016
Find Your Way Out. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm). November 2015.

Just Trying to Stay Positive was the next piece. In fact, it’s a remix of Find Your Way Out. Painted in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks of November, this work has a darker ground, punctuated by fluorescent flourishes that break through the clouds.

grant wiggins: new paintings early winter 2016
Just Trying to Stay Positive. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm). December 2015.

Concluding this trio is As New As Now, painted throughout the final days of 2015. The piece’s colorway — fluorescent greens, fluorescent purples, navy, gray, and black — was one that I had wished to explore for quite some time. This painting was all about having fun. It was one last piece to close the calendar year. I was taking a flyer.

grant wiggins: new paintings early winter 2016
As New As Now. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm). December 2015.

Throughout the process of making these three paintings, I learned something about myself. Standing before these paintings once they were completed, I enjoyed what I was seeing. But I also felt as if they were missing something. Pardon the pun, but I felt boxed in. Without curves, my paintings somehow lack my personality, or my imprint. There has to be a curve in there somewhere!

In the end, I think I explored the territory I set out to discover. My next paintings may go in a completely different direction. Time will tell. I’ll be sure to share my latest work in this space in the coming weeks.

— Grant Wiggins

New Paintings: Fall 2015

November 14th, 2015 | No Comments

It’s been a busy past two months for me in my studio! I completed a pair of commissions, and finished one other new painting in addition. Likewise, I received some great media coverage from The Arizona Republic regarding my collaboration with Jil Sander.

Images of these new paintings are now officially a part of my online portfolio. I’d like to introduce these new works with you here.

The first is a commission that I made for a wonderful couple from Mobile, Alabama, who has collected my work for several years.

Keep Going. Acrylic on canvas. 36 x 48 inches. August – September 2015.

This piece was a surprise birthday gift. My collectors asked to combine graphic elements from my paintings that rank among their all-time favorites. The process was highly collaborative. Determining the size of the painting was just the beginning. Our conversation covered which elements to incorporate, as well as which colorway to use. The painting pictured above was selected from dozens of iterative sketches!

The other commission I finished recently was a remix of my 2011 painting Waveform — a piece that a San Francisco couple purchased, but was unfortunately damaged in transit. Thankfully, the piece was fully insured!

New paintings by Grant Wiggins: Fall 2015
Waveform, which arrived damaged beyond repair.

Because the idea of exactly re-creating the original piece seemed wholly macabre, I offered to make a replacement piece with a customized colorway. The result is Waveform 2 by Grant Wiggins, which I produced between October 8 and 21.

New paintings by Grant Wiggins: Fall 2015
Waveform 2. Acrylic on canvas. 30 x 68 inches. October 2015.

Between these two commissions, I found just enough time to complete one larger piece, titled Time to Reorder. I truly felt lost in time making this one! Although it has a somewhat 1970s geometric vibe, this painting seems to me like it could be made at any time in the future.

Our cultural preoccupation with time is a topic that has bounced around in my mind frequently of late. Why must we think of things in the context of time, of when things are made? All art, no matter how old, was new at one point in time. Design that is considered “classic” now will probably be considered classic in the future. Time has a way of proving what’s good. But still, we seem to discount things, no matter how good, that are more than a few years old.

New paintings by Grant Wiggins: Fall 2015
Time to Reorder. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square. September – October 2015.

Another painting that touches upon time is 19-6983, which I painted a year ago, but only recently decided to add to my portfolio. This painting is purely me having fun with remixing one of my all-time favorite 1960s textile prints, but with early ’80s stripes. I never couple pin down its origin. But I’ve enjoyed having this piece hanging around in my studio, and thought the rest of the world would enjoy it, as well.

New paintings by Grant Wiggins: Fall 2015
19-6983. Acrylic on canvas. 20 inches square. September – October 2015.

As ever, more work is on the way. I look forward to sharing my work with you as it develops. To be among the first to see what I’m up to, sign up for email updates from my blog.

— Grant Wiggins

Women’s Fashions in My Fall/Winter 2015 Collaboration with Jil Sander

September 30th, 2015 | No Comments

With the debut of the Jil Sander fall/winter 2015 collection for men, my paintings’ motifs have made their transformation from stretched canvas to wearable art. I could not be more excited!

The Jil Sander design team, led by creative director Rodolfo Paglialunga, has brilliantly reimagined my work for pieces in their sportswear and casual range.

I’m therefore exceedingly proud to report that the central motif of my Ocxiom series has been selected by the Jil Sander design team for the men’s sportswear and casual line, and also its fall/winter 2015 collection for women.

jil sander womens fashions fall/winter 2015The central motif of my Ocxiom series of paintings (Ocxiom 2 at bottom right) has been reimagined by Jil Sander in women’s fashions for fall/winter 2015.

Ocxiom makes its energetic mark this fall in both a navy-and-crimson pullover for women and an A-line skirt. The pullover is a counterpart to a monochromatic men’s sweater. The skirt, meanwhile, alludes to the “ground,” or negative space, of its corollary on canvas.

Both garments are now available at MyTheresa.com, part of the Neiman Marcus Group. The luxury retailer describes the pullover as having “a graphic look that’s brimming with modern flair.” The wool-blend skirt, MyTheresa observes, “features a graphic, geometric pattern that’s impossible to resist.”

The colors, textures, combinations, cuts, and contours of fashion have long played a huge part in my aesthetic imaginings. It’s therefore thrilling to have this opportunity to collaborate with Jil Sander and to contribute to creating a wave of energizing, modern, and ready-to-wear looks for fall.

Shop Jil Sander’s complete collection of modern looks for fall at store.jilsander.com.

‘The New Minimalism’: The Latest in My Collaboration with Jil Sander

September 19th, 2015 | No Comments

Through the debut of the Jil Sander fall/winter 2015 collection for men, my paintings have made a stylish transition from stretched canvas to ready-to-wear art. Every day, it seems, new examples of my collaboration with the Milan fashion house are surfacing online.

The experience of watching the collection unfold has been, to put it mildly, utterly thrilling.

Some of the newest examples of our art-meets-fashion partnership are now available online at Farfetch.com. The boutique O’, of Parma, Italy, is offering a series of Jil Sander T-shirts and sweatshirts that reimagine my 2011 painting For Never, an Ever, shown below.

New minimalism: Jil Sander Menswear Collaboration with Grant Wiggins for Fall/Winter 2015
New minimalism: Jil Sander Menswear Collaboration with Grant Wiggins for Fall/Winter 2015
Several new pieces in Jil Sander’s Fall/Winter 2015 menswear collection work with the cetral motif of my minimalist painting For Never, an Ever, top right. Images courtesy of farfetch.com.

I absolutely love all of these pieces. Without question, my creative partners at Jil Sander have stayed true to the spirit of my work.

In particular, what catches my attention is the green T-shirt with fluorescent pink stripes. I love color. The bolder, the better. Since my earliest minimal works, going back to my 2003 painting Tyotk Mölxx, I have found ways to incorporate fluorescent paint into my most reductive compositions.

Despite popular opinion, minimal does not need to mean monochromatic.

Jil Sander Creative Director Rodolfo Paglialunga shares this perspective. In a recent interview with MatchesFashion.com, he opines that minimalism “is not only about exclusively using black and white; it can be bright and luxuriant, it can be sexier than we think and, of course, it depends on the person who wears it.”

Jil Sander Menswear Collaboration with Grant Wiggins for Fall/Winter 2015
I love this shirt. It epitomizes “The New Minimalism.” There’s clarity, with room for personality. Find it at store.jilsander.com.

Since his appointment as Jil Sander’s creative lead in April 2014, Paglialunga has sought to honor his fashion house’s rich heritage of minimal cool. At the same time, he’s ushering it forward, toward future possibilities. The Jil Sander of now is still minimal, but in tune with the realities of our time.

“I want to evolve the brand with some kind of revolution,” Paglialunga asserts. “‘New minimalism’ is the key phrase for a perfect combination between a glorious past and an innovative and smarter future.”

Perhaps the revolution is already underway. It’s the perfect moment to recast minimalism in new light. Let’s make that a big, bright, bold fluorescent light — one that illuminates a clear path forward toward modernity, but affords room for color and personality.

Just as notions of minimalist fashion have been tied for too long to the 1990s, discussion of minimalist art has been for too long associated with what was made in the 1960s. The past is important, but let’s stay in the moment, with an eye on what’s ahead.

Long live the revolution — the “New Minimalism” revolution!

New Minimal Paintings: The ‘Voyedge’ Series

September 8th, 2015 | No Comments

New Minimal Paintings: The 'Voyedge' Series
Three studies for my Voyedge series of minimal paintings.

My most recent artistic voyage has been my Voyedge collection of new minimal paintings. This series is very hard-edge in spirit, and is in many ways a descendant of my ‘Confluent series of paintings, from January of this year.

Thus far the Voyedge series encompasses five small studies and two larger minimal paintings. Down the road, I’d like to continue to explore different colorways with this series — particularly combinations involving fluorescent colors.

New Minimal Paintings: The 'Voyedge' Series by Grant Wiggins
Voyedge 1. 2015. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm).

With the Voyedge series, my commitment to hard-edge, minimal painting remains clear. This is a way of making art that has felt like second-nature to me for many years.

New Minimal Paintings: The 'Voyedge' Series by Grant Wiggins
Voyedge 2. 2015. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm).

If one tendency, or evolutionary theme, emerging in this side of my work, I would say that it is becoming more angular — increasingly characterized by right angles.

There is something about the square, and the straight line in general, that is completely modern to me. The square is the progenitor of the pixel, the essential building block of digital culture. Expressing the same design in straight lines, as opposed to curves, somehow yields a more contemporary expression.

New Minimal Paintings: The 'Voyedge' Series by Grant Wiggins
Voyedge 3 (‘Darkhorse’). 2015. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm).

I realize that minimal painting is not for everyone. These sparing compositions, as a rule, have clean lines. They are nonobjective in nature; there are no mountains, or flowers, or portraits to relate to. As such, these paintings resist narrative.

Perhaps this is what I find so enjoyable about minimal painting: The making of something new, materializing an otherness not found in the everyday world that surrounds us.

New Minimal Paintings: The 'Voyedge' Series by Grant Wiggins
Voyedge studies, from left: Voyedge 2 (Study); acrylic on canvas; 10 inches square (25.4 x 25.4 cm). Voyedge 3 (‘Darkhorse’ Study); acrylic on panel-mounted canvas; 10 inches square (25.4 x 25.4 cm).

The Voyedge collection continues to evolve. I look forward to sharing more pieces with you soon.

Wearable Art: My Collaboration with Jil Sander Debuts

August 11th, 2015 | 8 Comments

Jil Sander Menswear Collaboration with Grant Wiggins for Fall/Winter 2015
Milan fashion house Jil Sander has unveiled its Fall/Winter 2015 menswear collection, which features motifs from my minimalist paintings, such as Ocxiom 2, shown at right.

Eye-catching contrasts, monochromatic motion, angles and stripes: My minimal paintings’ motifs have made the transition from wall art to wearable art. Global fashion house Jil Sander has just unveiled its Fall/Winter 2015 collection for men, a major event that marks my artwork’s debut in designer fashion.

In January, after my trip to Milan Men’s Fashion Week, I announced that graphic inspirations from my minimal paintings would have a bold presence in Jil Sander’s looks for fall. This week the initial results of our creative partnership are arriving in the world’s finest stores, including store.jilsander.com.

My Ocxiom series of paintings takes to the streets in a crewneck wool-and-silk pullover. While the sweater is a vertical composition and my painting is square, the sweater employs a greater number of slanted stripes, matching the painting’s all-over composition. The design continues along the sweater’s sleeves, achieving an eye-catching contrast.

Jil Sander Menswear Collaboration with Grant Wiggins for Fall/Winter 2015
Featuring the motif of my Ocxiom series, this Jil Sander pullover is an 80% wool and 20% silk blend. Details at store.jilsander.com.

I’m inspired to see how my work has been reimagined by the Jil Sander design team, led by creative director Rodolfo Paglialunga. Throughout the transition from painted canvas to artistic attire, my creative partners have stayed true to the spirit of my work.

In another design, my Motus series of hard-edge paintingsmotus is Latin for “motion” — brings energy and fluidity to a merino wool pullover, which features intarsia interplay in navy, gold, and black.

Jil Sander Menswear Collaboration with Grant Wiggins for Fall/Winter 2015
Jil Sander Menswear Collaboration with Grant Wiggins for Fall/Winter 2015
Featuring the motif of my Motus series of paintings, top right, this Jil Sander sweater is 100% virgin wool. Details at store.jilsander.com

I have long believed that my paintings could have a “parallel life” in fashion. It is an honor that Jil Sander — such an esteemed and innovative fashion house — is making that imagined life a reality. The next few weeks should prove tremendously exciting!

Grant Wiggins

‘Arizona Biennial 2015’ Opens at Tucson Museum of Art

July 26th, 2015 | No Comments

arizona biennial 2015 opens at tucson museum of art
Now on view in Arizona Biennial 2015: Confluent, The Lake a Lilac Cube, and A New Way of Thinking About Everything by Grant Wiggins.

Arizona Biennial 2015 was unveiled at Tucson Museum of Art on Friday night, and I was absolutely delighted to experience the show in person at the opening night celebration.

You’ll be able to find the three paintings I’m showing at the very end of the exhibition — where the abstract works are located — on what I believe is the museum’s tallest wall. I fondly call this the “Great Wall.” It has an epic, almost monolithic quality, and for me holds a special meaning.

In 2007, I showed my painting ff0000turo in this exact same location. Having the opportunity to exhibit here eight years later, on the full breadth of the wall, I could not ask for more. I feel both a circularity and a sense of advancement — an awareness of how much my work, my thinking, and my life has changed.

arizona biennial 2015 opens at tucson museum of art
A return to Tucson Museum of Art’s “Great Wall”: From left, ff0000uturo in Arizona Biennial 2007 and the same wall today.

The curator of Arizona Biennial 2015 is Irene Hofmann, Phillips Director and Chief Curator of SITE Santa Fe. For this exhibition, 530 Arizona artists submitted nearly 1,500 works. Ms. Hofmann selected 50 works by 33 artists.

In her statement discussing her curation of the exhibition, Ms. Hofmann observes that while she “didn’t initially set out to develop a thematically structured show,” several “strains of exploration” emerged in her review of works submitted. The show is arranged according to those themes.

Works that reflect upon nature, and humankind’s impact upon it, open Arizona Biennial 2015. The theme of reclamation is later explored by works that give new life to discarded materials, as well as overlooked, everyday objects. Violence and control are then addressed in a variety of media.

At the conclusion of the exhibition — where my work hangs along with sublime paintings by Mike Stack and Angie Zielinski — “the Seduction of painting offers the last word,” Ms. Hofmann affirms. By exploring color, design, and imaginary worlds, she writes, these abstract pieces “insist on the enduring power of painting and offer us the reprieve of visual delight.”

arizona biennial 2015 opens at tucson museum of art
The sedution of painting: Abstract works by Grant Wiggins, Angie Zielinski (right), and Mike Stack conclude the show.

I am deeply honored to be showing in Arizona Biennial 2015. It is energizing and inspiring to be exhibiting among so many gifted, accomplished artists, who were united by masterful curatorial judgment. I offer my gratitude to Ms. Hofmann and the entirety of the Tucson Museum of Art’s staff, who have staged an exhibition that proudly represents the artistic currents flowing through our state.

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