Monrovia, CA – Following a record setting sale in John Moran’s previous Contemporary Auction this past June, Moran’s is back again with more provocative and conversation-starting pieces. The Fall Contemporary Sale will take place on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 12:00pm PST. A vast majority of the sale originates from The Blake Byrne Collection. Byrne, an avid art collector for over three decades, shows a true appreciation for modern and contemporary art, as the works in his collection refuse to be contained to one style or medium. The artists in his collection are not only notable and world-renowned names, they consist of rule breakers and tastemakers that have made contemporary art the most sought after works in the market today. Most notably, the sale will include works from artists such as Jim Shaw, Rita McBride, Iva Gueorguieva, Edward del Rosario, Steve Roden, and Jeremy Dickinson.

Residing in two of the most influential cities in the art world, Blake Byrne spent much of his life between Los Angeles and Paris. The works in his collection reflect the expansive nature in which he built his assemblage. As a collection they are a testament to Byrne’s equal affinity to established and emerging artists. Individually, they speak on themes of sexuality, race, class systems, and culture. Contemporary art looks to address topics that are difficult to discuss, and the Byrne collection is full of dialogue inducing artwork.

Lot 7: Jim Shaw (b. 1952, American) Dream Object (In Russia next to an old age home...) $4,000-$6,000

Lot 7: Jim Shaw (b. 1952, American) Dream Object (In Russia next to an old age home...) $4,000-$6,000

The piece that speaks most emphatically is Jim Shaw’s Dream Object (In Russia next to an old age home…). An extension of his Dream Drawing Series, this diptych delves into the subconscious experience, and brings forth clashing themes of religion, pop art, and war. Centered in the asymmetrical sized diptychs are two verses from the Bible. The first, delicately inscribed within a cross, is taken from Revelation 20, The Judgement of Satan. The verse is a commentary on man’s limitless ability to reject protection and empathy for others and instead be consumed by pride. Those that choose this path are always soundly defeated, which Shaw represents by surrounding the verse with bright pop-art style lightning bolts, signifying the smiting from God that is present in even the earliest forms of religion. The second diptych comes from Genesis 3:17, where God condemns Adam for eating the apple offered by Eve. Often, when a mistake is made in life, we tend to try to quickly shift blame to others. This verse is God’s specific message to Adam as his eating of the apple was his own doing and no one else’s. Art and religion have walked side by side throughout history, and Shaw’s Dream Object (In Russia next to an old age home…) continues that journey with modern flair and room for interpretation and reflection. Dream Object (In Russia next to an old age home…) is brought to auction with an estimate of $4,000 – $6,000.

Taking things to a larger scale, Rita McBride (b. 1960, American) is known for her installations, sculptures, and public art. Her work often incorporates an element of architectural design and often breaks boundaries as she uses materials in an unconventional style and stature. Not only that but making a name for herself as an artist with architectural influences is a serious contradiction to the industry as a whole since architecture is a very male dominated field. JAP.EM.Template, estimated at $7,000 – $9,000, stands at 40 inches tall and is made from bronze and steel. With a material associated with being ridged and durable, McBride shapes the piece in a more fluid, edgeless style, providing a silhouette not unlike a growing fetus, developing into something greater and stronger than it appears.

“Steve Roden’s pieces are not solely visual, they possess musical qualities as well.”
Lot 6: Steve Roden (b. 1964, American) The Same Sun Spinning and Fading, 2007-08 $5,000-$7,000

Lot 6: Steve Roden (b. 1964, American) The Same Sun Spinning and Fading, 2007-08 $5,000-$7,000

Another woman creating a legacy for herself in the art world is Iva Gueorguieva (b. 1974, Bulgarian/American). More than a few of her works have found their place in the Byrne Collection. It’s no surprise she was a coveted artist by Byrne, as her work is comprised of intricate arrangements across paper, canvas, and three-dimensional sculptures. Untitled, 2005 provides the best example for a quintessential Gueorguieva piece. She grew up in a time of turmoil in Bulgaria, as the government collapsed in 1989. Her family was eventually able to leave their home, and immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland. But at that point her sense of order and structure was obliterated, and those same sentiments appear now in her work. Untitled, 2005 shows overlapping styles and techniques. Abstract brush strokes interact with small figures, and futurist techniques intertwine with landscapes. Even the piece itself, two separate large sheets of paper, can be displayed side by side or overlapping. While her style may seem sporadic and chaotic, there is focus and direction if you look close enough. Gueorguieva’s Untitled, 2005 rises to the auction block with a competitive estimate of $1,000 – $2,000.
Rapidly pivoting to another highlight, Edward del Rosario’s work can easily be recognized from afar, not by its size, but by subject matter. Liason III depicts a young man standing next to a chair, and, like all of del Rosario’s figurative work, he is placed in the middle of a seemingly blank void, a dark navy blue, matching the boy’s cummerbund. His only companion is a little blue bird that sprouts out from the fly of his pants. Though small in stature, the boy commands the full attention of the painting. And paying no mind to you as his gaze is fixed elsewhere, he invites the viewer to contemplate both the complexities and simplicity of the piece. This work makes its way to the auction block with an estimate of $2,000-$4,000.

Returning to a more abstract subject matter, Steve Roden’s pieces are not solely visual, they possess musical qualities as well. Roden (b. 1964, California) is a sound and visual artist, who pioneered the lowercase style of music; where quiet, usually unheard, sounds are amplified to form complex and rich soundscapes. The Same Sun Spinning and Fading comes from a body of work that was generated from fragments of a single twelve-page music score. In each of the works, musical notes are translated into letters or numerical equivalents to be used as elements for building the image, in this way, the notes might become a line, shape, color, or hand movement. From this process, his paintings combine the visual flair of bright colors and captivating line work, with the fluidity of music. The Same Sun Spinning and Fading heads to the auction block with an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

British painter Jeremy Dickinson (b. 1963) is best known for his photorealistic still-lifes of toy vehicles, stacked methodically one on top of the other. Kranwagen is a distinctive piece, from Dickinson’s most popular subjects. The toy cars and automobiles depicted in his paintings come from his own childhood collection of toys. Neatly stacked and orderly, the toy cars in Kranwagen represent the structure and curiosity of childhood. The worn colors along with marks and dents on the cars show signs of past repeated use, and furthermore that these toys were once loved. Bringing back an element of nostalgia to contemporary art, Dickinson’s piece, Kranwagen comes to auction with an estimate of $1,200 – $1,800.

The Fall Contemporary Auction is complete with abstract, surrealist, figurative, and many more styles of art coming back into the scene from The Blake Byrne Collection along with other a few other notable pieces. How rare and what an incredible affair it is to have such influential and amazingly unique works come to auction to enhance and potentially start new collections for modern and contemporary art lovers across the globe.

Lot 109: Rita McBride (b. 1960, American) JAP.EM.Template, 2006 $7,000-$9,000

Lot 109: Rita McBride (b. 1960, American) JAP.EM.Template, 2006 $7,000-$9,000

Upcoming Auctions

Fall is approaching fast, and John Moran Auctioneers has weekly sales in September starting with the Contemporary Art Auction on September 14th followed soon by a powerhouse collection of fine jewelry. Rounding out the month is the Traditional Collector Sale, which includes fine art and stunning decorative pieces, appealing to veteran and new collectors alike.

Fine Jewelry & Timepieces: Tuesday, September 21st | 12:00 pm PST 
Studio Jewelry: Wednesday, September 22nd | 12:00 pm PST
The Traditional Collector: Tuesday, September 28th | 12:00 pm PST
ReDesigned: Tuesday, October 19th | 12:00 pm PST
Studio Fine & Decorative Art: Tuesday, October 26th | 12:00 pm PST
Post War & Contemporary Art + Design: Monday, November 1st | 12:00 pm PST

John Moran’s takes the health and safety of our staff and customers seriously; as such, sales will continue to be held online and without a live audience. However, each item is available for public preview. Moran’s auction showroom is over 10,000 square feet and allows clients to preview objects within established social distancing guidelines so that buyers can feel confident when making an appointment to preview the property. For upcoming highlights, online catalogues, and more information on these sales, visit Moran’s website: Bidding is now available online via Moran’s new mobile app, Moran Mobile, available on both iOS and Android operating systems. Live bidding on a desktop is available through our website; bidding is also supported by telephone or absentee.   
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