4x4 Gallery: Four alumni whose passionate engagement with recent projects expands artistic boundaries

Doug Aitken

Since graduating from ArtCenter nearly 25 years ago, Doug Aitken (BFA 91 Illustration) has blazed a luminous trajectory. From his breakout Electric Earth video installation at the 1999 Whitney Biennial, to the nomadic Station to Station (2013), the Southern California native creates multi-media works at once monumental and ephemeral. His live art happening on a cross-country train is now an acclaimed film featuring 62 takes on modern creativity. “We’re living in a tremendously new landscape,” Aitken told the Guardian, “and the possibility of what can be created is immense.”

Doug Aitken, Station to Station. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles © Doug Aitken. Artist portrait by Alayna Van Dervort

Jen Rosenstein

Long before Caitlyn Jenner’s media moment, Jen Rosenstein (BFA 08 Photography and Imaging) trained her empathic eye on the transgender community. Over the past seven years she’s set up impromptu studios offering free portraits to transgender individuals, capturing them how they want to be seen. “Each shoot brings me more hope, love and understanding,” says Rosenstein of her ongoing Transformational Project. “‘Liberating’ was the word I kept hearing to describe the experience of being open enough to shed layers in front of my lens.”

Jen Rosenstein, Rocco and Queen Victoria Ortega of West Hollywood, from the series Transformational Project, 20" x 30", archival ink jet prints. Images and self-portrait courtesy of Jen Rosenstein

Mark Ryden

Pop surrealist master Mark Ryden (BFA 87 Illustration) blurs traditional boundaries between high and low art to often disquieting effect, taking cute or kitschy clichés to darkly enigmatic places. Works like his edgy yet elegant porcelain sculpture Meat Dress and paintings like Queen Bee #105, whose ornately carved frame projects a baroque exuberance, have made him a star among serious art collectors in the music and film industry and beyond. “All of us are wearing our bodies,” he told The New York Times, “which are like a garment of meat.”

Mark Ryden, Meat Dress, 23" x 8" x 8", porcelain; and Queen Bee #105 (2013), 30" x 19.5", oil on canvas. Images and artist portrait courtesy of Kohn Gallery

Lawrence Carroll

Australian-born painter Lawrence Carroll (BFA 80 Illustration) was commissioned to create a body of work on the theme of “Re-Creation” for the 2013 Venice Biennale’s Vatican City Pavilion. His five large paintings exert a commanding yet fragile presence, strung with re-used materials like electrical wires and lightbulb sockets—a move inspired by seeing rosaries hung on statues in an Italian chapel. “In a way I am hanging these things on paintings to believe in painting,” he told Swide magazine. “We have to believe in something.”

Lawrence Carroll, Untitled (2013), 310 x 245 x 20 cm, oil, wax, canvas on wood, with metal freezing panel, steel, ice and plexiglass; Nothing gold can stay (2013), 310 x 245 x 20 cm, oil, wax, dust, canvas on wood, with wooden stakes, electric cord and metal light fixtures with bulbs. Images courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve, Galerie Buchmann, Galerie LA Louvre.
Artist portrait by Lucy Jones Carroll