Emile Morel creates surreal digital illustrations reminiscent of whimsical childhood fantasies such as The Neverending Story and Where the Wild Things Are. His illustrations depict dream worlds, often with children, and heavily feature anthropomorphic characters rife with bestial and primal imagery. His work is evocative of fairy tales, complete with a dark and foreboding element encapsulated in the “grotesque” nature of some of his figures and human animal hybrids. Intimate and highly allegorical, Morel’s attention to detail, especially in this medium, is impressive.
Igor Eskinja’s simplistic installations are elegant and optical illusory. Using basic and inexpensive materials such as tape, wires, and cords, Eskinja practices his art with precise measurements and an architectural eye. His work straddles the transition between 2D and 3D perception. He thoughtfully uses the space of the wall and floor of his installations, requiring viewers to stand at a particular angle in order to experience the effect given in these photos. The simplicity of his form and the perception between what is visible and not introduce space for interpretation and meaning. Oftentimes, after the installation is over, the work is thrown out due to the instability of his work, drawing attention to the impermanence of the forms he creates.
Whether through painting, illustration, sculpture, or installation, Kenny Scharf displays an aesthetic saturated with bright colors and playful figures. Think: Pee Wee’s Playhouse + Keith Haring on acid. With his work, Scharf seamlessly integrates pop culture into fun and fluid forms. With his pop culture appeal, it’s no surprise that Scharf has been commissioned to do commercial work by companies such as Kiehl’s, Vans, and Swatch. While other artists might have a different viewpoint on commercial work, for Scharf, the opportunity to bring his playful forms into everyday products is of significant cultural value, “One very important and guiding principle to my work is to reach out beyond the elitist boundaries of fine art and connect to popular culture through my art,” Scharf writes in his artist statement.
Kevin Francis Gray’s neoclassicist-inspired sculptures are beautifully minimalist. Most of his work is created with leather, bronze, marble or fibreglass resin, depicting a stunning color palette of white, black, grey, brown, and gold. His subject is the human form and much of his work features shrouded figures. Gray attends to the detail and subtlety of the drapery that contain his figures, sometimes with a shocking element. His work exudes a familiarity and universality that is at once haunting and captivating. His work recently appeared in 2012′s Snow White and the Huntsman as a darker version of the mirror man. Gray was born in Northern Ireland and currently lives in London
Jon Kessler’s installations respond to our current information-saturated culture where the search for the self often occurs within the realm of digital media. His most recent exhibition, “The Web“, immerses viewers in our technology obsessed world. Cameras and surveillance equipment abound, constantly capturing and clicking photos and videos of participants. The installation itself is a conceptual clusterfuck that suggests our importance of ritualistic clicking over what’s actually being captured with the clicks. His other work similarly addresses themes of capture, surveillance, fame, and mass media by using related techniques. These installations confuse us and ask us to consider the nature of reality and the authority we grant to technology and mass media with regard to our own identities.
New York artist James Clar lived in the globalized city of Dubai from 2007-2012 where he was immersed in the arts and culture scene. Fueled by an interest in visual media communication, this experience and the larger themes of globalism, nationalism, and pop culture are apparent in his work. Clar’s light-based installations address the boundaries of technology and the way that it creates and limits new communications within our culture. Some of his work uses light more directly than others, but they all respond to the relationship of light with its surroundings. Clar’s line or geometric-based designs reflect the connections and networks that abound in our culture. His manipulation of this technology expresses the softness of light and the hardness of the forms that contain it.
Something feels oddly luxurious about John Breed’s strange mixed media sculptures and installations. His work largely depicts a capitalistic culture of excess and its relationship with death, the most provocative of which includes the implementation of skeletons, animal and human. In “Goodbye Paradise“, Breed portrays a silver-plated Edenic scene of human and animal skeletons, speaking to the nature of renewal that is perpetually haunted by our eventual decay. His work breathes new life into these skeletons and other found objects by coating them resin,silver, or gold, giving them an effect of purity and newness. Threaded throughout his work is the idea of monetary value and how the value of something fluctuates within a newer, shinier context. Perhaps the work that best encompasses our excessive capitalistic culture is “In God We Trust,” an installation comprised of silver-plated pig skeletons labeled with the names Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and citi bank. Breed lives and works in The Netherlands.