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Kip Omolade’s Hyper-realistic Paintings Of African Masks Highlights Our Own Immortality

Kip Omolade - oil painting mask Kip Omolade - oil painting Kip Omolade - oil painting

Multi-media artist Kip Omolade paints captivating portraits based on realistic African sculptures. His new series Diovadiova Chrome is a collection of hyper realistic, super saturated, luminous faces that are a result of a labor intensive process. Omolade first makes a mold of each model’s face out of plaster, casts it in resin, adds a layer of chrome and extravagant artificial eyelashes. This final version of the sculpture is then used as a model for the oil painting. Omolade says his paintings are:

historically connect[ed] to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The oil paintings are psychological studies that investigate immortality, the universal masks we all wear and contemporary notions of beauty and luxury.

He goes on to say that his re-imagining of the masks are a conduit between the spiritual and natural world. He has exhibited the actual representations of the masks as well, as a kind of homage to the history of African culture being on display. His expertise in the African Art genre (gained from working at The Center for African Art in NYC) has fueled his passion for promoting awareness of the indigenous culture. To see more of his impressive images, see after the jump.

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Liz Maw Paints Friends And Celebrities As Kitschy Glowing Deities

Liz Maw - oil on boardessiahLiz Maw - oil on board  Liz Maw - oil on board Liz Maw - oil on board

Raised a Catholic, and using obvious religious iconography, Liz Maw like to paint other-worldly and sublime beings. By combining the faces of celebrities or people she knows and admires with pseudo-mystical relics she glorifies them. Maw draws on many different periods and styles, mixing contemporary symbols with techniques from the Old Dutch masters, her subjects in poses akin to many Renaissance works. It is this mix of old and new; mundane and divine; hyper-realism and fantasy; sacred and profane that makes her work at once beautiful and comical. As one critic said:

“Her sleek paintwork resembles air brushing in its precision, offering a surrealism somewhere between Salvador Dali and the kind of hot-rod paintings which stretch across panel vans. Liz’s paintings are drenched with a sense of desire, beauty and power.” (source)

Her “Colleen” painting features a beautiful naked woman perched on a cloud surrounded by floating seashells and in a glowing sky illuminated by lightning. Intentionally referring to The Immaculate Conception painting, Maw manages to rework something old and accepted with a kitschy, slightly erotic spin. Talking about what is “distasteful” and what isn’t, Maw likes to challenge people’s standards. She says she doesn’t understand why some people will accept a painting of a figure with one breast covered, and others would think it to be inappropriate.

“I think that female sexuality is a very mystical thing… I don’t think that romance goes seamlessly into sex for women really. Maybe it can, maybe it can’t. A lot of women disconnect romance from sex. I don’t know why that is. “

She wants to paint to encourage more warmth and softness, and less judgement. And I think one painting at a time she will.

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Shelley Reed’s Black And White History

I adore Shelley Reed‘s paintings. I love that she paints them in black and white, which remind me of the reproductions in old art history books.

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Eric Timothy Carlson

Eric Carlson - Figures From Life

Eric Timothy Carlson is a renaissance man interested in all forms of art and design. His “Figures from Life” illustrations are some of the most beautiful I have seen today. Carlson reinvents already existing images by integrating simple, but bold forms that obscure or transform the subject. Also lovely are his print and typographic projects that he does in collaboration with Michael Cina. Make sure you check out his work in our upcoming book Supernaturalism!

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The Xerox Fuzz of James Payne

The artwork of James Payne is a visceral microcosm of xerox fuzz and highlighter smears.  He is currently the co-curator of the seminal midwest noise space and art gallery; Skylab, has had a chap book of his poetry published by Monster House Press entitled “Austerity Pleasures”, is the lead singer of the punk band Lose the Tude, and continues to self publish a myriad of zines, comics, and exhibition catalogues.

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Graham Caldwell’s Prismatic Hand Blown Glass Sculptures Mirror Myopic Organisms

Graham Caldwell - glass Graham Caldwell - glass  Graham Caldwell - glass Graham Caldwell - glass

Graham Caldwell sculpts intricate organic-like structures from hand blown glass. His artworks mirror natural life forms on a molecular level. He pulls, twists, stretches and blows 2,000 degree glass into all sorts of shapes, arranging them into globular, spiky, prismatic, concave, convex, and densely myopic configurations. Caldwell uses the hard shiny metallic properties of glass in contrast to the forms he is recreating. He references nature – flowers, leaves, tropical fronds, water drops, fly’s eyes and eyebrows, but chooses to present them in a man-made, futuristic, fractured, cubist fashion.

Using mirrors, metals, steel and epoxy he likes us to reflect on the way we see the world around us. His interest lies in the act of perceiving, the function of eyes, the purpose of lenses, and how sight works.

Much of my work focuses on glass as a conduit or modulating agent for light and its parallel in the functionality of the human eye: using a lens to flip an image of the world, upside down and backwards, into the brain where it is reassembled, through illusion and forensics. (Source)

Caldwell is the ultimate advocate for art as science. His process is all about trying to recreate an organic process through a completely manufactured one. He enjoys the tactility of glass and the bizarre shapes they can inhabit.

Imagine the shape that balloons take on when they’re half filled with water; now imagine them flash-frozen and sticking sideways into space. Glass, says Caldwell, “is a slowed-down, meaty version of water.” (Source) (Via Hi Fructose)

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Sam Moyer

In a recent attempt to find contemporary artists making fresh, black and white imagery, I fortunately stumbled upon Sam Moyer‘s, washed out, subtle abstractions. These images, composed of bleach and ink, are soft and elegant and fair in scale. I want one. Many more after the jump!

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Ai Kijima

Ai Kijima

Tokyo born artistAi Kijima (now residing in Brooklyn, NY) makes elaborate quilted pieces. When I first saw (her or his?) work I thought they were illustrations. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the process. Check them out, the colors are outrageous.

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