Roger Hiorns‘ sculptures and installations are concerned with chemical processes and how these processes affect his materials and forms. I first encountered Hiorns’ work a few years ago when his installation, Seizure, was nominated for a Turner prize in 2009. For this installation, Hiorns filled an entire vacant & demolition-ready ex-London council estate flat with a copper sulphate solution. This created an abundance of bright blue crystals that filled every inch of the space. Visitors to the space had no choice but to crush some of the crystals as they walked through the transformed flat, further altering the construction of the space and his work. Hiorns uses the same copper sulphate solution to transform other objects, but also combines other seemingly disparate materials like ceramic pots with moving foam, metal with fire, steel with perfume, and even glass fiber with brain matter. A crucial component of Hiorns’ work stems from his compulsion to initiate the reaction, but then step back and become an objective viewer of his work as it transforms. Hiorns: “The works are successful if they are self-contained and need nothing else. They exist by their own language.”
“In terms of the logical process involved in making sculpture, which gets its whole shape via the integration of parts, my work, in its piling up of variously colored acrylic boards and shaping them, is made via the orthodox method. However, the stripes of the surface created by such a process deform and delude viewers’ visions when they try to see the shape of the work. Probably no one can perceive the exact form of the sculpture. So here, you can see the contradictory relationship: the consequence of the basic process of making sculpture destroys the viewers’ visions.
In addition, each acrylic board is really well made. It can be likened to a ‘mass of color’ that might confuse the concepts of color and shape. The colors of these stripes on the surface are supported by a dense and solid materiality, in other words, by the very concept of the sculptural.” – Kyotaro Hakamata, from Volta NY
Ryan Everson’s installations speak to longing and loss and the desire for movement and displacement. There is something hopeful and comic about some of his work, accompanied by a tinge of despair as it addresses boundaries of what is and what could be. His work feels perpetually on the cusp of some sort of change or movement, of travel to another place, whether that be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Everson’s work embodies something of memory, though we can’t say of what, but that it definitely exudes a nostalgia for absent events or places. “My most recent work comes from abstract emotional states stirred up from specific self-reflective moments. These moment arise as I become more aware of myself in the present and my inability to control the future.”
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