SVA grad Mu Pan brings East Asian woodblock aesthetics to his colorful, animated paintings. Not much of a “Zen” vibe is to be found here, though. Full of life, the Brooklyn artist’s work explodes off the canvas in a rush of sex and violence. Base, animalistic sensibilities are collected and processed en masse within each piece, and hardly any opportunity for impact is passed over. Really engrossing stuff, whether the focus is placed on a few central figures, or all-encompassing atmosphere.
Spanish Photographer Andres Medina has a knack for creating beauty with very little. There’s really not too much action in a lot of his photographs. Somehow, though, he frames such emptiness with beautiful lighting and technique in a way that amplifies the emptiness of the world in a really appealing way. Some of Medina’s best stuff is taken at night. You can almost feel the moist, cold air in his night photos, and your ears prick up as you are drawn into their silent world. The pictures celebrate our passive surroundings, as the lack of animated subject matter minimizes distraction. Some things are centered around such an internalized power source that you have to black out the rest of the world just to notice them.
The texture on these mixed media paintings from Canadian artist James Kirkpatrick is insane. Packed with color, the artist’s nebulous, jumbled works, which contain just the slightest hint of concrete elements here and there (is that a car? –wait– is that a face, now?), exist very close to complete abstraction. This deft “one foot in, one foot out” dance is indicative of great skill on Kirkpatrick’s part. The subtlety of these paintings is really where their greatest value is. In a culture where everything is increasingly spelled out for us ahead of time, it’s nice to preserve a little bit of mystery.
Kirkpatrick is taking part in Zaga Zow, a group show at Cooper Cole in Toronto, until August 18.
Danish artist Troels Carlsen warps classic anatomical illustrations of natural organisms to produce mixed media works on paper. I can’t tell if the drawings that Carlsen’s manipulating are originally produced by the artist or not (maybe a mixture of the two), but the images stand up well enough even without such information. On a purely visual level, the contrast between the illustrative anatomical drawings and Carlsen’s slightly humorous injections works really nicely. But these drawings hold conceptual tones as well. Thick commentary on the body and mind is laid out cleanly for all to see. (via)
Brazilian cultural organization SESC opens their massive arts show today. As part of the event, Polish “crochet-bombing” artist Olek has added her characteristic textile treatment to a giant crocodile installation in Sao Paulo, where the event is based. The huge, attention-demanding piece was produced in close cooperation with local Brazilian artists. Olek has gained attention for her idiosyncratic hot pink camo-patterned designs, and her ruthless street and gallery installations involving miscellaneous objects wrapped completely in crocheted stitching. The artist has applied her technique to cars, people, Wall Street’s Charging Bull, and more. See images of the recent Sao Paulo piece and examples of various past projects after the jump. (via)
German creative Bartek Elsner has an impressive track record when it comes to both commercial and non-commercial work. Illustration, Art Direction, Graphic Design- he does it all. But I’m most hyped on his sculptures made completely out of cardboard. Dubbed The Paper Stuff, this ongoing series includes cardboard fireplaces (installed on the street), CCTV cameras, automatic weapons, chainsaws, and animals. Taking a look at the project’s page, there is a really evident progression in skill with the medium on Elsner’s part. He keeps getting better and better. Really excited to see what he does next. (via)
I first got into Zach Johnsen’s work a few years ago when he lived in New York. But for a while now, he’s been in Portland, and it looks like he’s making his raddest stuff yet. He always incorporated fantastic characters into his mixed media work, and he’s continued to do so, creating more wooden cut-out installations and a series of graphite drawings infused with explosive watercolor elements. Johnsen’s always done a great job of rendering the darker side of life. His characters are full of dark eyes and yellowing teeth. Seriously awesome stuff from this dude, always.
Adam David Brown creates installations, often with video projection and altered publications. He removes small selections from established objects and expands them on a large scale, highlighting and contextualising material that may have otherwise been overlooked. This practice of presenting part and whole in juxtaposition with each other is an intelligent take on concepts of emptiness, individuality, and history. And to top it all off, Brown’s work is really interesting visually, as well. I could stare at these for a while.(via)