Diana Chryzynska’s photoshop-ed female faces seem surprising natural upon first sight. With most of the pieces of a normal face present, the viewer’s brain mashes them together to make sense of them, when actually they’re quite reworked. It’s fascinating how well your brain is able to reconcile two noses and two mouths sandwiched between two hands with eyes on top. Somehow, it takes a few seconds to realize what you’re seeing is completely surreal. Of course you realize what you’re looking at isn’t quite right, but it takes a while for your brain to sort out exactly what that is.
Maybe what makes the images more consumable is the appealing features: big eyes, luscious lips, unblemished skin. I don’t think it’s that, though. It’s like when you read a word like baeufitul, and your brain is able to organize it into beautiful (with some coaxing). The see-through hands over the faces are the most interesting in terms of theme. They feel like veils, hiding the strange faces from view, though not entirely. It feels like the women are hiding their mixed up faces, but some are peaceful while others are confrontational. Most close their eyes, but the confrontational ones stare out from behind their hands, self-consciously aware of their strange arrangement.
Hassan Rahim lives and works in Los Angeles. He has just concluded a solo exhibition at HVW8 in L.A. entitled The Air Above This Ground. Rahim has a knack for transforming childhood memories into conceptual work that pays tribute to the past while relaying thoughts on the present and future. His photography, collage and mixed media pieces are heavily rooted in 90’s NBA nostalgia. Themes of fame, struggle, life and death are all explored with re-appropriated and combined imagery. From the press release: “…Conversant with pre-existing works–Rahim’s “The Big Three” owes as much to Wallace Berman’s “Untitled” (hand holding a cassette) as it does to Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and Scottie Pippen—his pieces build a bridge from art-historical zones to realms of culture that are usually entirely claimed by advertising. There is a reclamation of imagery happening, the sports Hero comes back home to art. One is reminded of classical sculptures of discuss throwers, or of the fact that Nike was originally the Greek Goddess of Victory.”
These may look like your grandma’s needle point but they are in fact made entirely out of paint! Mixing a pixilated kind of neo-impressionist pointillism with the idea of textile weaving, Caroline Larsen‘s paintings are beautifully simple and yet hard to figure out. Her technique with oil paint is so expertly peculiar her viewer can be tempted to spend their time simply trying to figure out how she does it; this however, is a mistake, because her technique, impressive as it is, is fused to her subject matter in an inseparable way. Although her work balances formal interests with subjective ones, she invests fully in her imagery, culling series from her lived experience and most tenacious memories. Her current exhibition at Angell Gallery, P.A.N.A.M.A. R.E.N.A., records a strange and
menacing number of massive cargo ships, seen by the artist on her travels, notably in the Panama Canal. Reduced by her painting to pattern, surface and color but sacrificing little in terms of ability to reference the world (with all of its implications of economic and
environmental issues), these works are finally, simply of transportation machines hugely beyond our human scale. What they are about is the way those things affect us when we confront them.
Danny Quirk creates elaborate and accurate anatomical paintings using the human body as a canvas or the subject of canvas paintings. After the frustration of facing rejections from multiple medical schools, Quirk decided to combine three things he loves – anatomy, art, and education – using this very direct approach. He seeks to change the creepy or morbid perception of the body’s anatomy by revealing its delicate beauty. “Having spent time working with cadavers and creating illustrations for medical publications, I got to experience first hand just how complex yet delicate the body is, wonderfully illustrating beauty is more than skin deep.”
Tom Fruin made his solo debut at Mike Weiss Gallery with quilts made of drug baggies. 11 years later, his sculptures maintain reference to that mosaic, but have taken on a different form as colourful plexiglass architecture. The baggies for his earlier artworks were found on the street and sewn into a pastiche. It actually seems like quite a natural progression for Fruin to go from baggies to plexiglass that imitates stained glass. The baggies already had the feeling of stained glass windows, and the choice to use plexiglass instead of glass allows the work to maintain that plastic durability or roughness that regular glass would not.
Fruin’s most recent sculpture is installed in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The structure has lights installed on the inside, so that at night it is lit up. Whether lit from the sun during the day or at night by the artificial lighting, the colourful shadows cast by the installation are totally enjoyable. It’s interesting that stained glass and drug baggies should come together so coherently in Fruin’s work. From his rather turbulent beginning as a divisive artist, Fruin is cooling it down with this work. Still, as stained glass belongs to a religious symbolism, the invocation of the baggie configuration remains a mildly daring one.
The swirling, layered paper and acrylic sculptural pieces posted above are meticulously carved and layered by the hands of paper artist Charles Clary. The works possess a precise, graceful movement that is made even more alluring by the tart, punchy color palettes Clary selects. Going one step deeper, these colorful clusters reveal that they have roots in a slightly scientific direction.
From the artist: “I use paper to create a world of fiction that challenges the viewer to suspend disbelief and venture into my fabricated reality. By layering paper I am able to build intriguing land formations that mimic viral colonies and concentric sound waves. These strange landmasses contaminate and infect the surfaces they inhabit transforming the space into something suitable for their gestation. Towers of paper and color jut into the viewer’s space inviting playful interactions between the viewer and this conceived world. These constructions question the notion of microbial outbreaks and their similarity to the visual representation of sound waves, transforming them into something more playful and inviting.”