Marci Washington is an artist, based in Northern California. Her lightly rendered gouache and watercolor paintings depict the interiors and exteriors of creepy houses, reed-bordered pitch swamps, forbidden correspondence, and nocturnal, aristocratic cannibals who always seem to maintain a certain measure of grace amidst unsavory conditions and elements. To me, it’s always appeared as if such figures are pausing for her to paint their portrait while the world crumbles around them. A macabre fashion shoot staged amidst the apocalyptic environs of a world without sunrises, Washington’s delicate, detailed work is a rich stroke of contrast between dark and light; brutality and delicacy. I caught up with Marci in-between her various travels and projects and, in keeping with her reputation for graciousness, she answered some questions and brought us up to speed with her career. (Images courtesy of Rena Bransten Gallery.)
Steven Kenny’s portraiture and figure paintings form a vibrant commentary on the nature of balance, sexuality, and that fickle concept: transcendence. Controlling a unique penchant for lighting and surrealism, Kenny has filled a rich portfolio with figures and dynamic echoes that pervade every sense with which we associate being alive.
Melvin Galapon’s digital aesthetic has been adapted and applied to an extremely diverse range of projects. yet his strong ability within his medium and highly creative compositions remain a constant. His thought-provoking, visually pleasing take on the search for warmth in a cold, modern existence is equally impacting in his high-profile illustration and design work as it is in a more intimate format, like a small-scale installation piece.
It’s hard to stand out as a collage artist these days. But Brooklyn-based Pierre Botardo is so good at what he does that his wonderfully composed , vibrant works have no trouble ‘standing out’. This new batch of collaged goodness from Botardo gives you the idea that the artist has somehow gazed into the collective childhood memories of all Americans, and combined his experiences into a collection found on paper that is so empathic, that it makes us want to go home and do it all again.
Rory Dean deserves to be as prolific in the arts scene as pop culture references are within his work (read: very prolific). Dean, who graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2006, wields his brush and pencil with great acuity, throwing the world we’ve created for ourselves back into our faces with merciless black humor and insight. His colorful yet maddeningly dark paintings and drawings pull no punches in shedding the current state of affairs in an honest, and concurrently scary light. But cultural context aside, Dean’s work is mainly fun, quality stuff. You really can’t go wrong here.
Bill McRight, of Philly powerhouse Space 1026, employs gnarly printmaking skills in the creation of images not confined to a place in time. In McRight’s work, Garish figures sans-pupils populate a stark environment of violence, movement, and open mouths containing sharp teeth. But it all looks so good that the reaction of the viewer is inclined toward pleasure rather than pain.
Edie Fake resides in Chicago. In his work with zines, comics, and illustration, he applies a unique sense of design to playful postmodern compositions, and creates original musings on eroticism with subtle, deft penwork. He recently received a book grant from Printed Matter in NYC. He does pretty rad tattoos as well.
Elik is a true NYC graffiti legend, gettin’ up hard with the roller. But like many of his peers in the graff world, he’s turned to exhibiting ‘street art’ on indoor, gallery walls. Last spring he unleashed a full load of collage and mixed media works on the Brooklynite Gallery in Bed-Stuy. The compositions are playful, and full of dynamic elements. Any one of the works could serve as an advertisement bill for a show (or party) that serves as a gritty, comprehensive sum-up of the entire 20th-century.