These awesome’s just opened at Whitecross Galleries new salon exhibition in London. Phototoxins: Straniero’s ongoing series of manipulated photograpic images (fried in oil, dipped in hot lava). Stay tuned. The next series is film AND digital manipulation. Please fry your computer in hot oil. ;D
Enter the gallery of premeditated patterns by Amir Nikravan. Envision a blank city sidewalk with freshly poured concrete and carefully combed patterns—some resembling giant thumbprints. His paintings create a galaxy of perceptions through repetitious surfaces with hidden fabric, heaped in layers of paint.
Deceivingly flat from a far and pickled close to the eye. This illusion is demonstrated through his use of photorealism in combination with painting and photography; his muted color palette supports this physical illusion.
Primarily delicate shades of whale gray occupy his paintings, along with earthy tones including sapphire blues and burnt siennas—walking into a space of pieces by Amir Nikaven might feel like San Francisco on a beautiful foggy day. A softness and mellowness exudes from the rough textures he perfects in his work. This mix of harsh contours and subdued color present them with a bittersweet perception.
Giant monochrome webs of constellation materialize from a charcoal black wall, leaving the imagination floating, thinking we can envision anything we’d like. By connecting the dots, an image appears; it’s a gorilla, a fox, an owl or a hippopotamus. Philippe Baudelocque tames the stars on buildings’ front walls throughout the city of Paris, creating poetic packs of animals.
“I prefer the experience of art rather than the final piece of art. That explains why, drawn out of chalk, the illustrations are ephemeral. A risk the artist is willing to take, because that’s how he started his series and that he would like it to end.
The contrast between the black and white colors, the empty wall and the countless strokes bring another dimension to the illustrations. As if the artist wanted the animals to come out of the wall and talk to us. And they are, by the way they honestly stand, asking for nothing; confident that they are being understood. The stars and the animals represent unattainable immensity, identifiable to a lot of us. The combination creates a fantastic scene where the possibilities of interpretations are infinite.
Through the stillness of the black and white animal bodies, a feeling of compassion and kindness speaks to us. That’s the intention of Philippe Baudelocque : his illustrations gently suggest simple emotions to everyone.
Paul Sloan‘s simple marker drawings seem all the more intimate as a result of minimalism – as if they’d been ripped from the pages of Sloan’s personal sketchbook. They have an unfettered ease about them that suggests they went from conception to paper in a matter of moments, preserving Sloan’s original ideas without editing or alteration.
What artist Francesco Spampinato lacks in interweb presence, he makes up for on his canvas. Francesco feeds us a kaleidoscope explosion of psychedelic decorations that pulsates in waves from the focal point of the canvas-to the deepest center of the viewer’s brain.
The morbid sculptures of Caitlin T. McCormack would fit right in at your next Halloween party. She creates beautifully intricate skeletons of fictional creatures – rodents, seahorses, insects and animals. Not only do they look fragile, macabre, antique, precious and ghoulish, but you would probably be surprised to learn what they are made from. The artist actually discovered that covering crocheted cotton string in PVA glue stiffens the material, producing a bone-like effect.
Her dark, heavenly creatures are usually displayed, sprawled out and pinned to a dark board of some sort. They look as if their skin and meat has been carefully dissected and discarded, leaving their skeletal remains to be gracefully displayed for all to delight in their discovery. Not only does McCormack craft these intricate alien-bone-forms, but also delicate lace work, dramatic dresses that look like they were worn to a ghost’s wedding, and charming little illustrations and plasticine characters that usually reference a well known horror story.
The busy artist doesn’t stop there – her work will be also feature as a part of the group show Opus Hypnagogia: Sacred Spaces of the Visionary and Vernacularat The Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York. Exploring states we experience between waking and sleeping, the show is a journey into altered perspectives, dark thoughts and unknown visions. A combination of historical, ‘Outsider’ and Visionary art, the show promises to be enlightening and entertaining. Running from July 18th – October 15th, be sure to explore the show and bring out your own black magic.
Tomás Saraceno is an Argentine artist who creates pieces that explore alternative, sustainable ways of viewing and interacting with the environment. Previous works include floating iridescent and geometric installations that affect the way we perceive the relationship between the earth and sky. In this project, titled “Becoming Aerosolar,” Saraceno has woven together a patchwork of plastic bags into a massive hot air balloon. Trapping the heat of the sun in a greenhouse-like effect, the plastic canvas lifts majestically into the sky, transforming stigmatized, non-biodegradable waste into a work of liberating beauty.
Exploring the creative crossover between environmentalism, history, art, and human perception, Saraceno notes how the hot air balloon “came about as a means of escape and protection in the late 18th century, during the time of the French Revolution. It is significant that during these times of uncertainty, people looked to the sky to escape the reality on earth” (Source). As an innovation deriving from crisis and a longing for freedom, the plastic bag balloon takes on a contemporary significance: in an age of environmental turmoil, when the planet we inhabit verges on irreparable damage, the sky (and beyond that, outer space) becomes the frontier of hope. However, beyond signifying that upward glance of salvation and survival, “Becoming Aerosolar” optimistically reminds us how repurposing our materials and shifting our perspectives could lead to changing our trajectory on Earth.
Stefan Glerum is a Dutch artist known for his playful and eye-popping illustrations. He spent four years studying illustration at Academy St. Joost and also worked as an assistant to Joost Swarte, a celebrated comic book artist. His work is characterized by clownish figures engaged in various dynamic acts. Described as “a melting pot of illustration heritage,” Glerum’s style draws on the Art Deco, Russian Constructivist, Italian Futurist, and Bauhaus movements, infusing this creative mash-up with popular themes (Source).
Recently, on the wall of a housing complex in Amsterdam, Glerum designed a massive and unique work of site-based art: two stained glass windows installed on a housing complex that depict a cartoonish collage of the location’s history. Located on the front and back of the building, each window is 60 feet high. Heren 5 Architects built the complex, and Atelier Schmit fabricated the stained glass. The AFK supported the completion of this project.
The longer you look at this stunning work, the more you’ll unravel about the surrounding location. First and foremost, the windows are aligned like a chimneystack, referring to a Oostergasfabriek (a nineteenth-century gas factory) that once stood out in that area of Amsterdam. Following the abandonment of the factory at the beginning of the twentieth century, the area hosted other industrial and public spaces. The front window shows a swimming pool, an animal shelter, and the Don Bosco School; the back depicts a public bathing room for factory workers, the laboratory of Professor Ernst Laqueur, and musicians of the Red Fanfare who formerly rehearsed there. You can read a more thorough description of each window on Glerum’s website, and there is a video about the construction here.
What makes the windows so spectacular is the artist’s seamless combination of historical periods and human environments. From military maneuvers to the coal industry to animal care, his loony figures crash together in a time-transcending and spirited symphony. Glerum’s art is not unknown to B/D; he is included in our Book 7: Class Clowns, and even designed the cover art. If you enjoy Glerum’s work—and, furthermore, are curious about artists who use similar styles of humor to engage and challenge us—you can purchase a copy of Book 7 on our shop page. Limited copies are still available.