Ralph Pugay‘ is a Portland artist who makes awesome, lighthearted paintings. His colors and content is all comic, but his style reminds me of a combination of Waldo and Pieter Bruegel–a million things going on with lots of different characters all in one big flattened space. One of the thing i love about this, Waldo, and Pieter, is that you can spend a whole afternoon staring at and finding new, funny things in them. Confused hunters, dancing office workers, spiritual gymnasts; I can’t get enough. Check out the rest after the jump, then go look at the other 42 on his website!
Seattle based artist Casey Weldon’s newest series of work is a bit unsettling. He’s painted a series of cats, each with four eyes. While the premise sounds simple enough, the product is more jarring than one might expect. Upon first viewing the paintings the animals don’t appear as mutated creatures or monstrous as you might expect. Rather, the paintings seem to be making it difficult to focus. As humans we have a sensitive awareness of faces, eyes being a primary reference point. Perhaps because of this the two sets of eyes don’t seem as much like a defect in the cat as a defect in our ability to focus on the painting. Also, Weldon’s choice of exclusively depicting cats clearly references the internet. The animal’s unexpected rise to the top of internet meme-dom, nearly makes cat’s a symbol of internet culture itself. The gallery statement for his current exhibit at Spoke Art further expounds on this by saying:
“Ranging from internal commentary on the state of contemporary culture to a satirical analysis of the internet in general, Weldon has deftly created a body of new acrylic paintings that humor and appall. Through his thematic commonality of quadruple eyed animals, Weldon intentionally disorients the viewing experience by juxtaposing a subject that is impulsively attractive yet eerily disturbing. With this subtle manipulation the viewer finds themselves drawn towards these subjects, yet can’t quite focus on them, akin in many ways to the eye fatigue experienced by countless hours on the internet, often fueled by the mindless addictive nature of social media. The choice of cats specifically as his subject matter continue on Weldon’s commentary of the internet/social media. The immense popularity of cat culture and viral cat memes is unavoidable in this day and age, a point made all too apparent by the pairing of Weldon’s exhibition with a Lil Bub art show just two doors down this month at Spoke Art.” (via supersonic electronic)
Jessica Stockholder’s work first caught my eye when I saw images of her Color Jam, a word play on “traffic jam,” installed in a downtown intersection in Chicago in 2012. The installation included sidewalks, streets, buildings, windows and doors. It was a three-dimensional painting, of sorts, incorporating color and texture. Beyond that though, the comings and goings of Chicago’s inhabitants, yellow taxicabs, blue buses etc. augmented the effects of the work.
Stockholder seeks to undermine the preciousness of art. By occupying public spaces she forces interaction and engagement with the work. Visitors, whether they want to or not, become a part of the process and installation. For another work, Flooded Chambers Maid, 2009-10, Stockholder re-imagined a portion of Madison Square Park. Enthused park visitors, environment and weather all interacted with the installation, giving life to an otherwise static work.
Danish-icelandic Olafur Eliasson has done it again! “Your chance encounter” is showing at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan. His intent to make his work engaging and relevant in the tailored museum space brings the institution to life. The rooms and corridors are transformed through his use of light, mirrors, shadow, color, wind and fog. Eliasson re-proposes the idea of the art museum as not just simply a building we go into to see art removed from society, but as more of a public space with the potential to engage society and the urban environment. If you’ve had the “chance encounter” with Olafur’s new installation, let us know what you think- was he successful in doing so?
Walter de Maria’s Earth Room, permanently installed at 141 Wooster Street in New York since 1980, is nothing but 250 cubic yards of black soil filling 3,600 square feet. As Jerry Saltz describes it, it is a “majestic work that gives us bodily confirmations of the power of scale, material, natural phenomena, and art.” Indeed, Mother Nature’s material can provide a profound art experience that other artists have also experimented with. Gabriel Kuri uses familiar, everyday materials like newspapers and slabs of grass to focus attention on contemporary consumer culture and the circulation of things like money, information and energy in our global economy. Ruben Ochoa’s works, specifically his “Overturned Foundations” currently installed at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, alter our relationship to the ground and the wall by shifting our perception of space. At The Carriage House at The Islip Arts Museum in 2011 Olivia Kaufman-Rovira installed a watering system that grew giant grass chandeliers over a six week period. The grass chandeliers were interspersed with others made of discarded plastic bottles. The sculptures were meant to comment on resources needed to keep up lawns, how non-biodegradable materials pollute our environment and how important our water supply is. Phoebe Washburn is a New York artist who incorporates organic matter such as sod or plants into her installations, which act as attempts to exert control over the chaotic. Mathilde Roussel’s works, often suspended in mid-air, are grass sculptures that represent the growth and decay of life. Representations of gravity, time and the fragility of existence the works are poetic and beautiful. Sean Martindale replaced cracked city tree planters in Toronto with grass, making it appear as though it had spilled out over the planter. A kind of street art, the planters brought beauty and attention to an otherwise damaged part of the city. Mylyn Nguyen is an Australian artist who gives form to imaginary figures by sculpting natural materials such as moss, pebbles dirt, twigs etc.
Photographer Rachel Hulin’s photographs of babies floating through the air remind me of every classic painting ever made of small rosy faced babies floating through space with big lush white wings. Are these contemporary counterparts modern angels with invisible wings or is NASA training toddler astronauts? We may never know.