Ebony G. Patterson constructs immense and elaborate installations filled with everything you can think of. The artist creates intricate work both attractive and kitschy, using mannequins, sunglasses, beads, beer bottles, and lots of gaudy jewelry. Interested in mixed media tapestries, video, and photography, she often incorporates one or all of these different techniques into her work, creating a complexity of objects and imagery. Exploring racial and gender politics, she uses photographs, mannequins, and clothing to make reference to ‘popular black’ culture in her art. Her work, so filled with patterns and flashy objects, is highly satirical, commenting on race, questioning stereotypes often associated with the culture she is representing. Concepts on beauty are also questioned, as the figures in her work are adorned with jewelry, bright colors, and flashy clothing. Although the mannequins appear to be making an attempt to look attractive, they inevitably look over-the-top and ridiculous.
When you see Patterson’s installations, there is an overwhelming sense of color and pattern inviting you to examine every last detail of the chaotic mass of objects. You get lost in a see of mismatched clothing and clashing patterns, all shown like a department store display. Transforming her mannequins into striking objects participating in her art, their individual genders are often blurred, pointing out pre-conceived notions concerning the masculine and feminine. Her installations not only have mannequins, but also still humans that appear to be inanimate until they spring to life, turning her installation into a performance piece. This talented Chicago-based artist creates confrontational work that, due to content and appearance, is not easily ignored
When you first witness Francesca Dimattio’s work you forget post-modernism and pummel head long into post-apocalyptic armageddon. Strongly resembling totems ingrained with furniture design, their melting quality give off surreal messages but ultimately speak to something totally present. There’s a mystical side to their nature akin to religious artifacts. A link to the distant past where certain angles become figurative channeling idols you might come across on a hike through an enchanted forest. Their formal aesthetic fuses pieces of ceramic together and creates organic patterns that zig zag through collage-like patches of cracked elegance. The tiny shards of porcelain build a narrative out of tea cups and plates a metaphor to the memories of one life lived.
The unusual technique Dimattio uses eventually manifests into porcelain-laden structures which ultimately resemble chairs and chandeliers. These account for the title “Domestic Sculpture” her latest exhibition at Salon 94 in NYC. Dimattio’s history in painting comes across when viewing these magnificent pieces in person. Up close the work has a thick impastoed paint quality which make them come alive in another sense. Whereas her paintings referenced architecture and collage, her sculptures embrace all of the above including ceramic traditions.
Artist Alessandra Maria uses tools like graphite, gold leaf, and black ink to produce her intriguing portraits. In addition to these traditional materials, she has an unconventional surface that she works on – coffee stained paper. The dark brown ground offers an entry point for these characters, and the gray pencil adds a soft touch to her realistic-looking figures.
Gold leaf is seen here as an accent for the butterflies, flowers, and intricate details. Their drawing style and symbolism conjure fairy tales and other fantastical stories. While there’s a lot of luscious, life-like drawing, the characters often have a blank stare. It’s hard to determine what they’re thinking, which makes Maria’s compositions all the more alluring. Here, beauty is a facade for a deeper, potentially darker below.
In an increasingly global world, it seems that more is spreading than just information and culture: pollution, for one. Alejandro Duran creates site-specific art out of this manmade resource, staging hauntingly beautiful installations that draw awareness to what he calls “colonization by consumerism.”
“More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament,” Duran says in his artist’s statement. Called Washed Up, the project has seen debris from all over the world and, though the colors can be stunningly lovely, the message is unmistakably grim. Swirls of color and organic-seeming patterns and shapes are shaped out of plastic and artificially neon bottle caps.
Duran’s statement describes the way he has mapped the relationship between the world of man and the world of nature, as well as the toll it’s taken on us all:
“Over the course of this project, I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an. I have used this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures. Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.”
What started out as a simple past time, has now turned into a full on project viewed by thousands of people on social media each day. Frankfurt-based, Brazilian designer Andre Levy first started collecting coins during his travels and with a steady hand and a great imagination, has been turning them into mini artworks for a few years. With a layer of enamel and a bit of patience, the portraits of Kings and Queens long passed away are transformed into colorful cartoon figures, or heroes from comic books.
The ongoing art project is called Tales You Lose, and features tons of familiar pop cultural faces. Levy paints Marge Simpson, The Fantastic Four, Rorschach from Watchmen, Cinderella, Papa Smurf, Amy Winehouse, Apu, Princess Leia, Albert Einstein, David Bowie – you name it, he’s painted it. Levy says this about his coin series:
We are constantly surrounded by pop figures – in films, in music, comics, and even in gossip magazines. They are sometimes our escape from reality, our fantasies. Coins portray something opposite: the real, the everyday.
This project is about individual expression in opposition to massified [sic] thinking, about how our personal passions are more worthy than things that are imposed to us. The paint brings to the faces of kings and presidents borrowed narratives from other famous characters and unleash individual alternative stories.(Source)
Make sure you check out his Instagram account to see new and old miniature paintings and see how many faces you recognize. (Via Honestly WTF)
Like melting wax drips and forms new shapes, so does Januz Miralles’ digital manipulations mold his once recognizable subject. The artist digitally applies paint and illustration to change photographs of faces and bodies into otherworldly beings. The figures in his work are left partially untouched, some with only a mouth or an eye peaking through, while the rest is covered by stunning, organic strokes of paint traveling up and across the composition. Although the women in his work look conventionally beautiful, they look even more alluring with globs of thick, digitally applied paint covering most of their faces. Miralles’ highly textural technique alters each figure’s state of being, as if they are ascending to another world or perhaps disintegrating completely.
His captivating, multilayered work shapes form, personality, and identity with his amazing techniques, created mostly digitally on a laptop. His art is quietly beautiful, as you can get lost in the many swirls of color and texture that he integrates into his work, completely transforming the mood. As the artist digitally breaks down his figures, the structure and details seem to break down as well, as if chemicals have been poured over each face. There is a sense of torment and melancholy that surrounds his subjects, like something is being extracted from them, leaving their bodies through the seeping paint. The deep, psychological effect that Miralles’ work holds draws you in to further examine what it is you are looking at, leaving you in mystery.
Do ever wish that you could take a little piece of the earth with you wherever you go? Well, Colleen Jordan allows you to do just that with her tiny, adorable wearable planters. This seed of an idea started while studying Industrial Design as a student. Naturally having a green thumb, she was inspired to construct creative and convenient ways for people to carry around plants. Now, this is exactly what Jordan has created! Fusing together jewelry design and gardening, she creates small pots in a variety of shapes and colors filled with dainty flora, which are attached to a cotton cord so that they can lie safely around your neck. Other vases function as magnets, fashionable pins, or decorations that attach to your bike.
Jordan’s wearable planters range in style, as some of the pots are a more organic shape with earthy tones, while others showcase a more modern, geometric style with pastel colors. Amazingly enough, all of her miniature plants are generated from a three-dimensional printer. This 3-D printed nylon plastic is later hand embellished and dyed by the artist. The question is, how long can a tiny plant survive while being carried along during your travels around your neck? Although you have to supply the plant, Jordan supplies her customers with what kind of plants grow best in the small vases and also how to keep them alive and thriving. Her unique and beautiful accessories are perfect if you want to keep a little piece of nature close to your heart! (via Ignant)
Using a Cabinet of Curiosity aesthetic, Femke Hiemstra creates a carnivalistic fantasy world. In her oeuvre the roles of humans and animals are blurred placed in odd scenarios which offer humorous and dark tales of sacrifice, war and performance. Taking references from classic novels such as Gulliver’s Travels and ancient folk tales, it’s obvious that these should be made into cinema because the images are so fully animated. However, their 2D nature turns them into fine art illustration and allows the viewer to look further and take a lasting moment to linger in their imagination.
Hiemstra’s play on words further enhance the narrative in her paintings. One called “groupies” is especially humorous showing a female singing apple watched in awe by her grouper audience. It’s a classic example of the type of work Hiemstra makes which combines the bizarre with popular culture to tell stories which recall nursery rhymes and absurdist commentary. Her style brings to mind an artist I was very fond of years ago called Elizabeth Albert. She also used animals in odd narratives to tell stories about human behavior and circumstance.
Hiemstra’s illustrations are created using a light acrylic paint and water. She often tops her work with colored pencils which give it that extra definition. She mostly uses paper or panel but occasionally will paint on old books and wooden antiques like clocks or religious objects. She sells prints of her original artwork at a very reasonable price of 100 euros on average. (via hifructose)