Nicholas Chistiakov moved with this parents from the Soviet Union to New York in 2003. While it was a difficult transition, after Chistiakov found inspiration in the found he found in museums in galleries. His first works were impressionistic in style, but shortly after these, his work a took a more photorealistic turn. After more inspiration from staying in Germany in 2005, Chistiakov had produced enough work for his own show in 2007, but the accumulated stress after this exhibition necessitated a stay in a psychiatric hospital. After this experience, his artwork changed to a more figurative style, reminiscent of Francis Bacon, and what he describes as deconstructivism. His work is abstracted and glitchy, and sometimes features iconic figures. Chistiakov currently lives in Brooklyn.
With his paintings, Adam Miller recontextualizes baroque and Hellenistic style elements by placing them within a modern futuristic landscape. Miller implements mythological, ecological, and humanistic themes in order to address ideas of technology and progress and “the struggle to find meaning in a world poised between expansion and decay.” His dreamy and angelic compositions reflect contemporary concerns with a classic and realist style. Imagery that might at first appear dated and inaccessible becomes relatable and modern upon closer inspection.
As a child, Jonathan Latiano found his artistic inspiration in the displays and dioramas at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. Latiano uses his understanding of biology, astronomy, physics and geology as starting points for the creation of his work and the way he contextualizes his physical world. Created with a variety of materials, his work evokes tensions of temporality and permanence, physicality and ephemerality, destruction and creation, stasis and kinesis, and fragility and strength. “I find the poeticism and concepts of the physics of our universe simultaneously fascinating, beautiful and horrifying. The pieces that I create contrast abstracted human intuition with the reality of our natural environment. I strive to emphasize the areas that exist in-between the boundaries of defined regions. My work, in many ways, is my own personal attempt to understand my place in the physical universe.”
Joan Cornellà’s comic designs are clean and simple but pack a raunchy and provocative punch. His illustrations are light-hearted yet darkly humorous, relying more strongly on visual clues and gags as opposed to textual elements to indicate a simple narrative. Out of a simple bright color palette, Cornellà creates strange and uncomfortable images that can be weirdly funny and a bit gruesome. You can follow him on Facebook, where he updates frequently and has already amassed over 300,000 fans. Cornellà currently lives in Barcelona.
Ángela Lergo is a Sevilla based artist specializing in sculpture and set design. Much of her work is centered around the human body and its evocation and relationship to its environments. Her background in set design has allowed her to play with the way space, lighting, and sculpture arrangements contribute to a particular atmosphere. Though the works are sculpted and stationary, they evoke a hint of performance in their presentation. Using human figures as a mode of expression, Lergo creates dream-like landscapes and resonances that are both poetic and emotional. Lergo uses a variety of materials for her installations, including ground stone, polyester resin, epoxy resin, wax, LED lights, video, sandstone, aluminum, feathers, industrial containers, and black oil.
C. Owen Lavoie’s (better know as C. Owen) series of photographs entitled Trophies captures the emergence of exotic creatures out of darkness. Because they are shrouded in so much darkness, these portraits at first seem to be taken in close proximity to live animals, but Lavoie is able to get so close to these beasts because they are taxidermied. This creates a haunting and mysterious effect that reflects on ideas about preservation, death, and hunting. The lens captures the preserved expressions of the creatures’ vulnerability, creating a sort of double preservation of the dead animal that stares right back at us. Lavoie says that she considers the series ”a way of bringing the animals back to life for the public eye. It’s sort of like a third generation; first the animal was born, then hunted and handed over to a taxidermist so it can be displayed and finally in the end, modified by my lens.”
Spencer Tunick designs and installs nude human bodies into landscapes and photographs or films them. The blending of the color and texture of human skin with industrial or natural landscapes is stark and effective; the bodies themselves become their own landscape. Tunick has traveled the world staging photographs and videos of these large nude installations, and uses anywhere from a handful of voluntary participants to tens of thousands of them. The end result is a beautiful combination of art forms, including design, sculpture, performance, photography, and video. According to his website, Tunick has been arrested 5 times since 1992 while performing in New York City, and has gone to court to defend his First Amendment rights, which he won, but was still denied a permit from the city to practice his art. As a result, he creates his work abroad and has not performed in New York City in over 10 years.
Mark Manders‘ sculptures seem to be driven by a poetic narrative, and the fact the he used to practice the linguistic form of poetry should then come as no surprise. His meticulously constructed figures are assemblages of furniture, metal, human and animal shapes, and other ephemera. Engaged in an ongoing project since 1986 entitled “Self-Portrait as a Building” that has come to define his practice, the form of language mediates his work in that his pieces are structured in a manner that replicates sentences. In this way, he creates physical spaces that mirror his mental spaces. At once fragmented, balanced, poignant, and resonant with the ineffable, Manders’ work evokes a personal poetic sentiment that is meant to provoke the viewer.