John Chae’s digital illustrations are suffused with bright colors, provocative images, and pop culture references. These digital worlds are odd and labyrinthine and reflect a pastiche of influences. While strangely captivating, his use of patterns and repetition is quite hypnotic. His work feels like a hybrid of Charles Burns’ and early mimetic internet styles. From his website:
안녕하세요! My name is John (희택) Chae and I was born in the year of the dragon (1988), but I’m technically a rabbit. My birthday jam is Tiffany’s Could’ve Been and my blood type is B, but I’m not sure whether I am B+ or B-… I was born in Boulder, Colorado but I grew up in Seoul, Korea. I graduated with a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. I currently reside in Jacksonville, FL.
“My most recent sculptural installations are constructed with discarded electronic materials: computer, telephone and electric cables, thousands of burnt-out bulbs, meters of videotape, old slot machines, celluloid, DVDs, etc. The installations explore the short life expectancy of the technologies we cast off and their relationship to organic mortality.
These installations also seek to reanimate the lifeless. Light animations projected onto the installations appear to free the energy stored in the electronic waste, awakening in it memories of its past.
Through my work I try to bring dead materials back to life, reveal their secrets, revive the collective memory they contain to construct an accurate portrait of a society and an age.” – Daniel Canogar.
“Candace Couse is a visual artist exploring issues surrounding space, place, and the body. Her work examines the basic human need to acquire territory as a prerequisite to identity, as well as the loss of security and anxiety that comes with disorientation. Functioning on the assumption that orientation is primary to all other human experience, the body plays a central role in her art practice as both a mechanism for experience and as the principal terrain that we all initially acquire. Her work eagerly engages with the idea of personal geographies as intimate approaches to orientation and identity that are profoundly detached from collective knowledge and public geographies. ”
Romulo Sans creates a dramatic aesthetic using political and cultural iconography. Sans’ photographs address issues of dominance, passivity, aggression, capitalism, and sexuality. Also of note are his blends of Western and Eastern imagery, asking viewers to consider the various absurdities within these contexts. Sans’ background in art direction and interest worldwide politics ground his work. These photographs convey Sans’ attempt to understand disparate cultural elements through a visual medium. Originally from Barcelona, Sans spent some formative years in Cuba, where he admittedly watched the Al Jazeera news outlet regularly, as it was one of the only available news outlets.
Thomas Robson defaces paintings. The elements he introduces into these paintings deeply contrast with the aesthetic of the initial compositions. Robson uses bright colors and stark images to create new contexts. His work directly addresses ideas of appropriation, inspiration, and originality, as well as reflecting our current media saturated culture. These hybrid creations also resonate with remix culture while reflecting on how we think about media, design, and traditional forms.
“Over the last decade, Nina Surel has been developing a unique series of mixed media portrait-landscapes that offers a vivid portrayal of what it means to be a modern woman, in a way that is witty, provocative and honest. Ironically enough, she uses the visual language of early feminist literature and the aesthetics of 19th Century Romanticism to make statements about repressed desires, complicated lives, and the interactions of women with their own selves and their surroundings, that are absolutely modern and of-our-time. They are scenes that can only happen deep in the understory of the most primeval of forests, under cover of the bountiful canopy, and they have their genesis even further below, where the oldest roots of these trees are.
Surel employs a wide range of media, such as photography, painting, collage and assemblage. The conceptual underpinnings of the work are in Surel’s own childhood stories, fairytales, and romantic literature.” – from the artist’s website
Rosa Verloop creates sculptures out of nylons. Eerie and captivating these malleable forms capture the density and lumpiness of a fleshy existence. They’re soft and cuddly and evoke a tangibility. These malformed sculptures speak to bodily fear and vulnerability and what we perceive as normal and abnormal. Nylons are supposed to cover skin, creating a smoothness that Verloop undermines by twisting and stuffing these nylons into bulky lumps.
Scott Lickstein’s surrealist pop culture infused paintings are ethereal and witty. He combines seemingly disparate imagery into one canvas evoking both a sardonic and dreamy aesthetic. The layers of reference are reminiscent of collage work, something he also dabbles in, in addition to photography and video. Lickstein: “Robert Motherwell declared collage as the most important discovery of the twentieth century. He wasn’t referring to the idea of cut and paste. He was pondering the exploration of infinite potential. Contemporary life is ocular bombardment. Content is overlapped beyond the veil of the conscious mind. Control and manipulation of this data is the game for now and for the foreseeable future for this artist.”