Molly Segal’s Brutal Brush Strokes Of Vulnerable Moments

Brutal, arresting, and violent, Molly Segal’s large format watercolors of hungry, rabid pack animals serve as symbols of both watchers of and participants within pernicious social situations; these scenarios, coupled with paintings of messy, passionate, unleashed sexuality are all depicted using loose, uncontrolled brush strokes, that often leave dripping paint behind. Her watercolors are made on a waterproof paper called Yupo, so before she even beings her process, she has initiated a battle between contradicting mediums. In her statement, she describes how this impacts her work:

“The loose, wet on wet technique of watercolor on Yupo paper helps me explore the ambiguities of our own boundaries. Because Yupo paper doesn’t absorb any of the paint all of the pigment sits on top, vulnerable to the elements and impermanent. The impermanence and vulnerability of the paint itself references the fleetingness of youth and the fluctuating nature of memory.”

Molly Segal is originally from Oakland and is currently an MFA candidate at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


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Molly Segal’s Brutal Brush Strokes Of Vulnerable Moments

Brutal, arresting, and violent, Molly Segal’s large format watercolors of hungry, rabid pack animals serve as symbols of both watchers of and participants within pernicious social situations; these scenarios, coupled with paintings of messy, passionate, unleashed sexuality are all depicted using loose, uncontrolled brush strokes, that often leave dripping paint behind. Her watercolors are made on a waterproof paper called Yupo, so before she even beings her process, she has initiated a battle between contradicting mediums. In her statement, she describes how this impacts her work:

“The loose, wet on wet technique of watercolor on Yupo paper helps me explore the ambiguities of our own boundaries. Because Yupo paper doesn’t absorb any of the paint all of the pigment sits on top, vulnerable to the elements and impermanent. The impermanence and vulnerability of the paint itself references the fleetingness of youth and the fluctuating nature of memory.”

Molly Segal is originally from Oakland and is currently an MFA candidate at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


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The Dollar Re-De$ign Project

 


Conceived by creative strategy consultant Richard Smith, the Dollar Re-De$ign Project seeks to breathe new life into US currency. The last time our currency was dramatically changed occurred back in 1928, so Smith believes that it is time to update our currency to represent modern America and its values. Every year since its initiation in 2009, the Dollar Re-De$ign Project takes submissions for currency proposals from around the globe. Hopefully one day the US treasury will actually consider taking one on!

The two images up top are from the winners of 2009 and 2010, Ani Ardzivian and Dowling Duncan.

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Robb Stone’s US Soldier’s Incriminating Acts Of Violence And Lewd Behavior

 

Robb Stone is a friend and colleague that I had the pleasure of getting to know during my time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Stone is experimental with materials, using bleach and acrylic on satin, acrylic on drop cloth and army tent material, and even acrylic on shower curtain. He works in a very washy style and usually makes large-scale paintings, layering several of them along the wall to induce a cinematic and narrative quality.

His earlier work showed his interest in pop culture and current events as he painted what can be described as infamous, narcissistic train wrecks – Lindsay Lohan and Heidi Fleiss in particular stand out among others. The paintings are executed unsympathetically, mocking celebrities most people would like to see buried under the ground. The themes of ‘narcissism’ and ‘train wrecks’ in a more meaningful sense reoccur prominently in the work he has made over the past 3 years, which features subjects who are acutely aware of being filmed, yet appear unthreatened by the film’s permanence and choose to partake in immoral, incriminating acts of violence and lewd behavior. Robb focuses on this behavior to the extent that it has been present in the US’s recent military involvement in the Middle East. So far he has focused on a series of isolated incidences, such as US soldiers urinating on dead Afghan bodies and the US Embassy’s guards in Kabul’s hazing rituals. The content of his paintings raises many questions: were these soldiers inherently immoral individuals, or did war make them that way? Is it possible to be in a situation so far from normal reality that anyone in that situation will lose their sense of morality? Does the context of these soldiers’ surroundings allow for them to believe they are partaking in acceptable behavior? The show-off behavior of these soldiers is perplexing; they are not at all compelled by the presence of the camera to hide their face in shame. Instead, they embrace the exposure.

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Rodrigo Torres’s Currency Collages

Brazilian artist Rodrigo Torres creates intricate collages by combining bank notes collected from around the world. Beautiful and painstakingly detailed, they are visually arresting and require a closer look. The ones I find most interesting single out common themes found within a variety of notes, such as crowds, portraits, and buildings/architecture, and showcase unexpected similarities between multiple countries’ approaches to currency design. In Rodrigo’s portrait collage, he positions heads to the right or left, with those silhouettes facing directly to the side seated at each respective end. The majority of head positions are in varying degrees of ¾ perspective; very few bank note portraits seem to face directly forward. Most notes are monochromatic, but differ on the single color used; this in turn creates an aesthetically pleasing rainbow effect. It’s uncanny to see a multiplicity of notes side by side in this constructed context. Despite countless cultural, historical, and environmental differences in nations around the world, their money appears strikingly similar.

Torres’s has been selected by Art Basel Switzerland to be featured in the month’s Art Feature sector in Switzerland, which runs June 14 – June 17. Read More >


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Federico Lombardo

 

Italian artist Federico Lombardo’s portraits are washy, delicate, and often straightforward, yet in their best moments they possess qualities that are strange and askew. His subjects look distinctly Angelo Saxon or Scandinavian, light skinned and fair, and are conventionally attractive. Their faces, bare and plain, stare straight at the viewer with the knowing look of being gazed upon, often smiling or glaring in response. He has series of women and men, as well as couples and children made with oil, watercolor and by digital tablet, but by far, his watercolors showcase his best efforts. The way Lombardo applies his paint is mostly very controlled, yet in crucial areas he gives way to the fluid nature of the medium and in effect produces subtle, bizarre deviations in his otherwise bland looking subjects. In this sense, these instances of surrender are reflective of the work of Marlene Dumas; however, Lombardo’s work is wholly different in that it stays safe in its uncontroversial directive.

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Unexpected Underwater Inhabitants by Jason de Caires Taylor

 

Located under the sea off the coasts of Mexico, Grenada, and the West Indies, Jason de Caires Taylor’s realistic sculptures of people morph and evolve over time with the proliferation of colorful sea life that inhabits them. Stony human faces are obfuscated by coral, barnacles and seaweed; fleshed out and breathing with new life, the resulting ecosystem textures and transforms these ever-changing, ephemeral bodies. Created with environmentally friendly materials that promote coral growth, the sculptures contain inert, ph-neutral properties designed to last hundreds of years, and to house the creatures that distort and transform them. Taylor’s magnus opus, The Silent Evolution, located in Cancun, Mexico, consists of 400 life-sized casts and forms a permanent artificial reef. Taylor’s body of work provides both an artful method for addressing environmental concerns and the spectacle of witnessing true buried treasure.

Taylor is currently based in Cancun, Mexico, where he is the founder and Artistic Director of the Museo Subaquatico de Arte (MUSA). Read More >


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Jimmy Baker, Revisited

Jimmy Baker was featured on B/D in 2009 back when his work consisted mainly of realistically rendered portraits. Since then, his paintings have dramatically changed and, as of recently, moved away from direct representation – from photorealistic landscapes on slick resin coated surfaces from 2010-2011, to abstract figuration using oil and UV ink on canvas.

Baker draws from various contemporary media, mashing news, government conspiracies and political events with celebrity and social media dribble. His process of creating “synthesized content” is researched and extremely labor intensive; as described in an interview with Cincinnati Magazine:

“…you paint a rendering of a digitized sketch, then print a digital image over the painting, then paint the digital print that’s on top of the painting that is itself a version of the original digital image.”

His process sounds rigid, and induces one to envision a cold, obsessively constructed piece, but improvised, thick, painterly strokes contradict this notion.

The contents of the work appear identifiable in parts, but attempts to mentally construct from them a whole proves difficult due to the pieces’ alternating, detailed layers; the fleeting glimpse of recognition compels one to further inquiry.

Baker is represented by New Galerie in France and has exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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