Japanese artist Junko Mizuno’s candy-colored works draw us into a world full of dark and erotic food fetishes. Meant as a metaphor the female sexual appetite and power, Mizuno’s illustrations feature women enjoying eggs, bacon, noodles, and more. Her maximalist style weaves geometric shapes, naked creatures, and luscious patterns into each composition. Coupled with the strong presence of a female character, it results in artwork that’s simultaneously grotesque, cute, playful, and alluring.
Mizuno’s inspiration comes from a range of historical and cultural influences, as well as traditions found in both Eastern and Western worlds. Fairy tales and the works of Aubrey Beardsley and Eric Stanton are also visible. Narwhal Contemporary writes about her paintings, stating, “One reoccurring image is that of the iconic multi-armed goddess cloaked in symbols of life and wisdom, surrounded by fleets of devoted minions and enveloped in flames that will never consume her.” They relish in their unapologetic gluttony.
Mizuno currently has work in a solo exhibition titled Ambrosial Affair at the Narwhal Contemporary in Toronto. This is the second in a three-part exhibition series titled Junko Mizuno’s Food Obsession. It’s on view until March 15 of this year.
The exquisitely carved sculptures of Willy Verginer are carved with precision out of a single piece of wood. At times painted and/or covered in ornate floral patterns Verginer’s sculptures capture the human form in moments of silence, thought, and quite contemplation. (via)
Phoebe Washburn’s constructions, built from found or discarded objects such as plants, plywood, cardboard, or fish tanks, to name a few, have been gaining critical acclaim and momentum since 2008, when she took part in the coveted Whitney Biennial.
Of her craft and salvage, in W Magazine, Washburn states: “I’m not green; I’m greedy . . . There’s definitely an aspect of hoarding that drives this, absolutely! If I see someone walking down the street with a nice piece of wood, I’m like, Where did they get that?”
Her approach to discussing art is as playful and humble as the structures themselves, or their titles, which range from “Nunderwater Nort Lab” (above, top) to “Baby Brain (Not Safe for Use as Jacuzzi)” (above, below).
Michigan based installation artist Michael McGillis’ creates incredibly saturated alterations in nature with a diverse range of materials from paint to electric tape to fluorescent colored grocery bags. The result is an electric manipulation of the natural world that is shockingly beautiful. (via)
The work of the street artist known as 108 is much like his pseudonym: simple and mysterious. Often large black masses of abstract street art inhabit walls. Devoid of most or any detail, these masses are frequently punctuated by bursts of color. In a way the colorful abstractions feel like offshoots or biological growths on the larger black masses. There is a larger flow to his murals that are somehow familiar. The shapes, the way interact with their surfaces, and the way in interacts with itself feels organic. 108 explains this idea in a 2006 interview saying:
“Usually I work in public spaces, you know, and the background is the most important thing. I must find a good shapes for that place, usually I prefer old walls and abandoned places, and my “thing” grow by it self, as a tree or moss did, but I know nature do that really better than me! It’s very hard for me to work on a blank white surface… in that situations I must find a good inspiration elsewhere, maybe in another work I did before or working with a good friend with good ideas.”
Other times his abstract murals almost hint at an iconography, symbols, or recognizable shapes. Like much abstraction there is a lot of room for interpretation. Still, he goes on to say:
“Most of my works come from my unconscious and are totally irrational. You can see the abstract, soft and gloomy shapes… My works are also very symbolic. The same old example of the wheel, I found it in my unconscious, it was a big fixation for me… usually I have drawn it with 8 rays inside… In fact it was the sun wheel, one of the most important symbol in ancient Indoeuropean cultures (you can find it in a lot of Indian and Celtic stuff). This is just one example.”
Matthew Woodward’s large scale drawings are truly examples of “beautiful decay” with violently drawn, torn, erased, and collaged decorative motifs that one would find on old industrial buildings of yesteryear. These floral and elaborate patterns and flourishes are taken through an intense process of aging where Woodward attacks the surface like an artistic jackhammer mining the paper for undiscovered imagery. The result is a brutal and rich surface that is continuously falling apart, being built up, and of course beautifully decaying.
The artwork of Justin Bryan Nelson has this folk-like quality with minimum colors and symbolic imagery that not much is needed in the drawings to appreciate its symbolic and rather mysterious illustration. What I like about them, it’s just how delicately done the pencil and ink marks are on the illustrations but also how the artwork revolves around one main subject, without cluttering the audience.