Tate Ellington, known primarily as an actor, is also a self-taught painter, with an exhibition history that expands from NYC to Los Angeles. Working from doodles, conjured from found magazines, photographs, medical reference books, and/or an automatic sense of line, using mostly oils as his medium, Ellington inevitably focuses in on facial nuances, stating, “It’s what I identify with the most, so naturally, they come more.”
Each portrait carries a sharp bend of drama, as though the artist is implicated or interrupting more so than puppeteering the performance. Likewise, this is what strong acting does. In this way, Ellington seems to connect his two artistic loves, asserting, “In acting you are supposed to look for the truth of a character or of a situation. You can also be called to exaggerate the truth, if necessary. I think this is what I try to do with my paintings. I try to find the person by exaggerating him or her.” Each stroke is not just about the surface, but a discovery, or search for our own sense of play or performance as human beings.
Photographer Julie Blackmon is the eldest of nine and current mother of three. Drawing inspiration from her own life experiences and also the paintings of Jan Steen, a 17th centure Dutch genre painter, she creates rich tableaux of family life.
Bypassing the idea of parenthood as a prison sentence, trapping the adult away from his or her “real” life, Blackmon, instead, reminds us of how valuable domestic life is to our own sense of dreaming– examining the home as a magical place where fantasy and reality merge together to empower community, creativity, and inner exploration. It is a place that we can remember fondly, lovingly, and longingly. Even if our childhood was less than perfect, there are still flashes of brilliance in the everyday quiet interludes that Blackmon seems to address with ease and specificity.
Holding her Nikon Digital SLR camera up to a spotting scope, Carol E. Richards examines a surprising array of feathery emotions akin to her own.
The use of two surfaces or buffers, sometimes three, if shot through a window, create a fascinating ring around each figure, a soft focused vignette of sorts, comparable to that of a toy camera. The result is an ambient deepening, apparent not only in the composition, but also in the subject matter and the artist’s intrigue with trailing or meditating on each flighty movement.
Salvador Dali once said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” On this note, Richards explores the act of bird watching as a certain mirroring, clearly exposing humanity’s inclination to anthropomorphize animals and as she asserts, “project qualities onto them that can be heartbreaking, sweet, or simply intriguing.”
Thus, in the vein of Dali’s quote, Richards shares with us her most recent collection: Birds Have Wings from Nazraeli Press.
Laura Krifka’s work feels both classical and contemporary– a collection of myths that transcend time, stuck on the spin cycle from one era to the next. There is a soft religious quality in each face as he or she slowly responds to pending doom, lurking out of view. Such off stage suspense, feels exactly this way– theatrical.
The dramatic cliche breathes with familiarity, reminding us of our own cyclical head space in relation to history, story archetypes, life, and to our own animalistic emotions or neurotic human obsessions. It’s why we make art and why we repeat ourselves generationally and artistically.
Of her paintings, Krifka states, “I create a world populated with naive and innocent figures acting out their own legend, blind to the dangers around them or those that exist within themselves. In my work the fantasies and clichés of our own world combine and breed, creating a hyperbolic landscape populated by a society lost in their own myth.”
Pablo Picasso once said, “every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” The owners of Oh’ My Neko take this quote to heart, honoring children as artistic masterminds behind some pretty unique dolls . . . and this goes for everyone, not just a select few, as this would negate the purpose: each young vision is valuable and translatable. For only 35€ each, your child’s hipster princess, lunatic lady monster, or clowny bug can spring to plushy life. Check out the gallery after the jump to see some more pretty adorable examples.
Katie Sims, born in 1988, is an emerging British artist gaining strong momentum in the art world– receiving the Jerwood Drawing Award and Richard Ford Award, Residency at the Museo del Prado, Madrid.
According to Pryle Behrman, Sims paintings “pay homage to masterpieces by Mantegna and Poussin, but deconstruct their studied, graceful air through the organic fluidity of her brushwork and the incongruous addition of geometric shapes that further undermine the compositional structure of her source images.”
Additionally, and on a purely guttural level, each piece is paradoxically busy in a faint and strange minimal manner that is truly difficult to execute with a certain consistent visual ease.
Take a stroll along the High Line in NYC and you can’t help but notice Chelsea’s very own eye-popping mural by Eduardo Kobra on 25th and 10th. This towering piece of street art infuses a rainbow bolt of color into Manhattan’s skyline, emoting nostalgic imagery: re-imagining Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1945 classic photograph “VJ Day in Times Square.” Likewise, if you live along the west coast in LA, you might have noticed Kobra’s psychedelic Mt. Rushmore redeux at 1255 La Brea Ave, exposing the art of democracy.
Interestingly, this artist is not from America, but São Paulo, where his passion for blending vintage or classic iconic imagery into contemporary settings first emerged in the late 1980s and has traveled internationally ever since. The intention was and is to pay homage to the parts of a country’s past or remind the city inhabitants of their historical precedents– emphasizing a certain level of romanticism.
Colleen Toutant Merrill works in fiber– from stitching to embroidery; and interestingly enough, it makes sense that she would use such a traditional folk medium to examine contemporary subject matter such as social media, Google, and Google Maps. These Internet resources are, essentially, a modern day electronic quilt of sorts, piecing together not only our societal curiosities or interests, but also our performative identities in a community.
On this note, Merrill explains, “Quilting bees and embroidery traditionally served as social outlets and communication. Quilts and embroidery both have encoded symbolism and explicit messages as do digital communications.”