<em>Dzine: Punk Funk</em>, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, March 18–July 17, 2005.
Dzine: Punk Funk, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, March 18–July 17, 2005.

Dzine

Punk Funk

Chicago-based artist Dzine (born Carlos Rolon) is a painter and the owner of an experimental record label that works with world-renowned DJs and producers such as DJ Cam, Gotan Project, and Guidance Recordings. Straddling the very thin boundary between art and music, Dzine creates abstract, biological, morphing forms that vibrate with intense color. In a series of new paintings, Dzine explores visualizing energy to unleash a unique rhythm and lyricism. Dzine applies a layer of Envirotex (a thick, clear plastic coating) to complete his slick, abstract paintings. Recently, he has incorporated tiny glass beads (made in collaboration with designer Maya Romanoff) to give the work a layered, vibrant, jewel-like effect. The addition of these reflective (and decorative) surface materials to otherwise super-flat surfaces creates an alluring depth.

For his solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Dzine creates new work, including a 14 x 42 foot site-specific mural, his largest work to date. His multi-layered paintings tease traditional notions of perspective and the picture plane to express visual sound bubbles and music as lingering sensations. Interested in sensory fusion, particularly between sound and vision, Dzine creates visually stunning and evocative paintings that are accompanied by a soundtrack. Ambient sounds composed by Paris-based DJ Cam in response to Dzine’s work fill the gallery space. Created specifically for this exhibition, Cam’s track emphasizes the transformative attributes of music and painting, as the melding of the two produces a visualization of color and sound, a new Synethesia. Additionally, as the exhibition title suggests, Punk Funk investigates the languages of two expressive subculture movements and fuses aspects of each—syncopated rhythms, repetitive bass lines, and notions of social alienation. Interested in the visceral experience of both Punk and Funk, Dzine incorporates the energy of each to create a visual mélange that suggests an evolution of expression and experience. Dzine’s youthful expression presents a dialogue that is harmonious and sensual, as opposed to the hard-edge, hard-core expressions he references.

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