Gordon Magnin, Untitled (Rojo Magazine), 2009.
Gordon Magnin is an architect turned artist who was born in 1978 in Reno, Nevada and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. In 2001 he earned his BS in structural engineering at the University of Nevada, and received his masters at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in 2006. Additionally, he attended the Mountain School of Arts (MSA^) in 2008, which is an art school that has no studio component, but consists of lectures and discussion. In regards to art education, Magnin proclaims to be primarily self-taught. A lot of his work has been shown in LA galleries, such as Face to Sky Gallery, Gallery 825, and Factory Gallery. Magnin did not begin to make art until after he finished architecture school and began working in the field. He found that professional architecture did not provide an adequate creative outlet as it did in school so he eventually turned to producing art.
Magnin’s art entails modifying images through distorting the human figure. Such changes create an eerie atmosphere. He describes his style of work as collage, altered found image, geometric destruction, fracture, appliqué, and defacement. What is even more appealing about his work is that instead of the traditional additive approach to collage, he works from a single image and makes precise, geometric cuts to change them. His altered images are often taken from advertisements, making a statement about the consumer culture. Magnin views these commercial depictions as “visual garbage” as they are mass-produced, controlled images that promote superficiality and the one-dimensional. He challenges the viewer to not take everything as face value and to look at our culture in a different way.
Gordon Magnin’s altered found images are very reminiscent of Dadaism because he takes finished work from other artists and alters it. It is no surprise that Marcel Duchamp is an artist whom he admires, and like Duchamp, Magnin creates a new thought for an object. He takes these former idealistic advertisements and makes them flawed. As my concept for my own work progresses, I find work like Magnin’s to be very inspirational. I think that you are what you are and it shows in what you do. Magnin has architecture in his history and it is apparent in his work through his use of repetition, geometry, and pattern.