Freight

Exhibition Images

Sep 1, 2008 - Sep 30, 2008

Freight is an entirely collaborative exhibit between visual artist Owen Beckmann and musician/filmmaker Tane Addington.  This exhibition considers the tension between independent art endeavors and a commercial art market.  By framing the works against the theme of freigh trains, the two remind viewers of the many ways in which the rail system transformed the American consumer market.  It began the process of disseminating culture and products across the landscape, helping to erase the isolation of individual cities and towns and allowing for national marketing campaigns.  In providing transport, the trains also offered individual freedom of movement, an independence now reflected in trains' roles as some of the most common canvases in the graffiti art movement, a movement that has inspired the works of both Addington and Beckmann.

In their presentation of the artwork, the pair examines the balanace between maintaining the autonomy of graffiti art and making work that is accesssible to a wide market audience.  Taking a cue from beloved advertising campaigns and vendors of their youth, the two have constructed a carnival-esque atmosphere in which the display their works.  The mock ice-cream truck facade, the glowing wall of lightboxes, and even the scents of freshly made cotton candy from the opening night all add up to present a fully sensory experience meant to inspire the happiness that often accompanies childhood nostalgia.  For these artists, the packaging is as important as the product when producing lasting memories, and they hope to inspire and connect such visions with their aesthetic projects.

This approach is not without its drawbacks, however.  Beckmann and Addington have created their own Four Seasons series, a revisioned homage to the works by Alphonse Mucha, and atist who struggled throughout his life to balance his commercial projects against his independent fine arts pursuits.  By demanding consideration of the driving forces in both popularizing an artist and garnering him or her respect, this series of images works to suggest to viewers that Freight is part of a long visual history wherein the lines between commercial and fine art have been blurred.

Tane Addington established Nodcraft Sounds out of North Carolina in the late 90's as a label to promote independent hip hop artists.  As efforts around his musical and production efforts led to contact with independent hip hop's surrounding culture, he decided in 2004 to begin producing Bench Warmers DVD Magazine.  Additionally, Addington has amassed over twenty thousand images of graffiti on freight cars.

Owen Beckmann received his M.F.A. in Printmaking from East Carolina University.  He obtained his B.A. in Art and Design at North Carolina State University.  Aside from teaching art at elementary and university levels, he has exhibited widely throughout North and South Carolina, in addition to participating in shows in New York, Virginia, Michigan, Colorado, and California.  Beckmann currently owns Magando Studios with his wife Megan Beckmann.

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