Something is not quite right with Nandan Ghiya‘s portraits. Indeed, several are titled Download Error. Ghiya’s antique portraits of upper class men and women from the past seem to be physical manifestations of garbled JPEG files. Each portrait is collaged and each frame carefully modified in a ways that resemble corrupted digital photographs. The now forgotten subjects of these portraits may have sought posterity through these images and the artist seems to communicate this in a familiar visual language of the digital. He uses life documented through JPEG’s, glitches, and error messages to reflect the modern plastic identity.
Artist Marion Lane creates almost otherworldly abstract paintings. Her peculiar style and use of acrylic on panel seems to belong to an action other than painting. Lane’s shapes appear to grow organically, emerging more from cell division than brush stroke. However, the inorganic nature of Lane’s medium isn’t lost on her. Rather, she seems to exploit the plasticity of acrylic paint, making it plain in the shape and sheen of her fantastic subjects. Lane’s pieces at once explore abstraction and figuration as well as the natural and synthetic.
Painter Troy Brooks creates curious and unsettling canvases. Painting in a Pop surrealist style, Brooks depicts scenes where something terribly strange has just occurred or is about to unfold. Each piece is dominated by a female figure, all similar in appearance but clearly different in personality – some bored, some subversive, other outright violent. Brooks makes use of a sort of symbolism transforming each setting into an allegorical scene.
Artist Steve Spazuk creates drawings with a medium usually reserved for destroying things: fire. Using a candle or torch Spazuk works the flame much like a pencil drawing with the soot left behind on the canvas. In a way akin to automatic drawing, he doesn’t direct his hand but accepts the chance images that appear on the surface. Spazuk then “sculpts” the soot left on each canvas into its final image. Speaking about his unique flame drawn process he says:
” This in-the-moment creative practice coupled with the fluidity of the soot, creates a torrent of images, shadows and light. Fueled by the quest of a perfect shape that has yet to materialize, I concentrate in a meditative act and surrender to capture the immediacy of the moment on canvas.”
Artist Kristen Schiele produces vibrant paintings and shadow boxes. Schiele richly layers her work both in her medium – paint, thread, collage – and in narrative. Her work merges indistinct structures and landscapes with rays and patterns of color as well as collaged human figures. Each piece seems at once to be about stories and tell one of its own. Speaking about the sources for her layers of images she says:
“I do keep a sketchbook. I also have a library of images printed out, some scanned in from libraries. They are from years of collecting. I get ideas and start folders of images for different paintings. I narrow the folders down into a show.” [via]
Spanish artist Javier Riera produces what he calls “light and geometry interventions” on landscapes. Using powerful light Riera projects geometric patterns on to natural vistas. The projections can appear to transform a treeline into a two dimensional plane. At other times the light seems to add strict geometric shapes to the wilderness. The light and patterns disrupt the perception of the view they cover. Riera’s transposing geometric patterns onto natural scenery partly alludes to language, matter, and the way the two interact.
Artist Allen Hampton‘s drawings are foreboding as they are. The medium for this series, though, makes them especially grim: blood on paper. Obscure texts, doilies, birds (both flying and dead) fill each sinister landscape of the Blood Drawings series. The blood at once references itself as splatters in its liquid form and a versatile ink staining each yellowed page. Hampton also turns his attention to the portrait, ironically drawing the human body with the fluid that animates it on the page and biologically.
Finnish illustrator Konsta Ojala‘s new drawings are large and frightening. Seriously, nearly measuring at five feet on each side, Ojala works the aesthetic of disturbed (and perhaps drug induced) doodles expanded to obsessive sizes. His drawings often feature familiar cartoon characters taken to their logical misanthropic conclusion. From a syringe-clutching Mickey Mouse to a bleary-eyed and violent Bart Simpson the characters seem to be reappearing after spending a few years on the streets. Rendered in harsh black and white and imposing sizes, the drawings are unsettling while still strangely nostalgic.