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Cayce Zavaglia’s Incredibly Real Embroidered Portraits That Look Like Paint

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American artist Cayce Zavaglia considers herself a painter.  “Although the medium employed is crewel embroidery wool, the technique borrows more from the worlds of drawing and painting”, the artist comments on her statement.

Manipulating color, especially paint with a brush, is obviously easier than manipulating color with varying wool strings and needles. That seems kind of impossible, don’t you think? Zavaglia makes it looks like a seamless process, laborious but not too difficult to actually achieve.

“Initially, working with an established range of wool colors proved frustrating.”

Painterly portraits demand for loose brushstrokes and intermingling colors, varying tones, and contrasting hues; creating a technique that would allow her to do this with wool strings was something that Zavaglia struggled with. However, with time, she came up with a system of sewing the threads in a sequence that would ultimately give the allusion of a certain color or tone. The system allowed for the threads to mimic the depth,volume, and form that we are familiar with in paintings and color drawings.

My work unabashedly nods its head to the tradition of tapestry and my own love of craft. Using wool instead of oils has allowed me to broaden the dialogue between portrait and process as well as propose a new definition for the word “painting”.

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Art:21 Season 5!

Usually I don’t get too excited about shows on PBS but I have to say that Art:21 is by far the best thing i’ve ever watched on public television. If you’re not familiar with the show, Art: 21 is the only prime time show dedicated exclusively to contemporary artists. Each season follows 14 of the biggest names in the art world as they walk you through their conceptual process, studio practice and share rare behind the scenes footage of work in progress. Some of my favorite episodes from previous seasons include the legendary interview with Barry Mcgee and his wife Margaret Kilgallen and LA painter Lari Pittman. This is a must see show for anyone interested in the international contemporary art world.

I received a preview copy of Season 5 and I’m happy to announce that it does not disappoint with another set of interviews with art legends such as John Baldessari, Cao Fei, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, and many more.

Season 5 premieres Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 10:00 p.m. (ET).
More Art:21 trailers after the jump.

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Sam Green

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Sam Green’s illustrations are a collage of the best of traditional skill and digital embellishments. Though he does often combine two different worlds together (traditional vs. digital, realistic vs. contorted, and serene vs. avant garde,) they are all held together by his consistently fluid style.

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Gregory Ito’s Celestial Installations

When Gregory Ito is not attending to Ever Gold Gallery (which he co-founded and co-owns) or The San Francisco Arts Quarterly (of which he is the co-founder and editor) he produces fantastic mixed media installations. I especially like how he often presents the viewer with a painting and the physical realization of the object depicted in the painting simultaneously. In his own words celestial imagery “…references the humanly spiritual connection to time and the eternal…” Ito’s work evokes a physical representation of time and attempts to initiate dialogue about our search for meaning on earth.

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Analysis Creature

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Inspired by a nightmare, “Analysis Creature” is Wonman Kim (Animabase)’s series full of  weird and strange skeletal and mechanic creatures.  Each piece is like an x-ray of a unique creature from her brain.  He is currently working as a graphic designer, illustrator, and conceptual artist in Seoul, South Korea. 

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Robin Rhode

Robin Rhode
Calling Robin Rhode a ‘street artist’ is a bit misleading. It just so happens that most of his art is made in the street, but this multidisciplinary artist makes his mark in a variety of ways. Much of his work is performance based, not in the traditional sense, but rather through a process in which he acts in a 3D space and at the same time utilizes the illusion of a drawn object… and then the entire process is photographed, leaving the viewer with a consolidated mixture of mediums, spaces, forms and ideas.

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Toni Gallo

Delicately painted portraits by Toni Gallo where the body is stripped away and replaced by the subjects accessories, personal belongings and various forms of flora.

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Gabriel Pionkowski’s Deconstructed and Reconstructed Paintings

Though the work of Gabriel Pionkowski may be constructed like a sculpture, he is definitely a painter.  Pionkowski meticulously takes apart his canvases and painstakingly hand paints each individual thread.  Then, using a loom, he reweaves the thread into a canvas once again.  Painters have deconstructed and reconstructed the concepts of painting for ages.  Pionkowski, however does this in literal sense.  His process of destruction and recreation reveals the literal and theoretical structure behind art and painting.  The reconstructed pieces reveal the typically hidden supports of the canvas while creating a kind of absolute abstraction.

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