Landscapes are alive in the paintings of Siobhan McBride. Different locations mesh into a single scene. Memories and colors delicately surface in the foreground. McBride’s paintings aren’t so much surreal scenes as they are subtly collaged images in paint. Speaking of her work McBride says:
“I have come to think of my paintings as views of a place where magic reveals itself differently than it does in this world. The scenes are tense with anticipation or blushing in the aftermath of an unseen event. Paintings combine disparate yet familiar fragments into spaces that are still, anxious, and temperamental.”
Christian Stearry is great example of what happens when one spends their entire youth skateboarding- it begins to permeate every aspect of your life. His illustrations are focused on the tongue-in-cheek jokes found in growing up “bad,” whether it’s through graffiti, drinking, or being that guy that brings his bong everywhere. Lucky for us, it works.
French artist Gregory Chiha’s gripping and curious works conjure dark, imaginative inquiry. Realistic backgrounds are populated by vague, distorted figures depicted with thick, abstract, primary-colored strokes of paint. Dense forests and calm interiors stand solid and immortal in stark contrast to the fleeting vision of denigrating souls that vaporize amidst forces unknown. At times they seem aware of their morphing physicality, holding up their hands as if to shield their faces; other times they stand with arms loose and at their sides, giving in and letting themselves be overtaken by this unstoppable force. Some subjects appear to be participating in everyday motions when the event occurs: lounging in the living room, playing in a room strewn with children’s toys, staring into a mirror; others are roaming through sylvan groves – perhaps they went outside to address an unnerving sound or vision? One figure sits at the kitchen table staring at a loaf of bread; the subject ignites, though the bread, indissoluble, withstands. Are these figures ghosts trapped in limbo? Are they in the midst of taking their own life, or victims of an unspeakable tragedy such as a modern day Pompeii? Could these paintings be the depiction of the exact moment of death? Whatever is the nature of their contents, Chiha’s paintings lead to an abyss of theories subjective. However, their immediate intuitive impact stands inarguably emotional and compelling, dark and disturbing.
Multimedia artist Alex Kiessling works with different ideas of how the future can be. He combines the ideas of fine art and high technology. He has used robots as painting assistants and exhibited it through a live stream to a worldwide internet-based audience. This series of paintings give the impression that they were made with digital help. Their colorful layers are overlapped just like a screen print gone wrong, but of course this is intentional. But despite appearances, Kiessling has achieved this striking effect by painting acrylic on canvas – by hand.
The series, titled Shift, ties in with his larger ideas of augmented reality, simulation, hybrids, and the existence between reality and dream. He explains a bit more:
In the static scenes of my paintings, the protagonists remain mostly resident between the glaring colorfulness of virtual realities and darkness, which is inherent in most of our dream sequences and memories. Both of these worlds are paramount due to their systematic character, which is connected to the simulative, and are projection surfaces of the human psyche. (Source)
His paintings have the affect of dreaming – you feel like what you are seeing isn’t really right, and maybe you should look a little harder. He has a beautiful way of describing his work:
In my work I concentrate on dreams and all kinds of dreamlike structures and explore its borders and bridges to reality. I try to visualize the “no men`s land” between the absurdity in our existence and the concrete concerns that come with our human mind or spirit. I am fascinated by the interacting vibrations between virtual reality, dreams and the basic common ground of our world`s so called reality. (Source)
Kiessling is interested in fragmented identities, and the fact that most of us now-a-days live our lives out in many different spheres or realities – in the physical as well as the digital. His painting series Shift is just another visual exploration of the theme that is becoming more and more relevant to this generation. (Via SuperSonic Art)
Mark Rubenstein has spent the last 6 years developing his multi-part series Common Place. A personal testament to the emotional challenges inherent within his “coming of age” narrative – set in a surreal world that uniquely encompasses what it means to grow up and examine life in a new way. The series presents a cast of characters that seem to manifest themselves as one being, uniting to embark on a grand journey.
Beautifully framed visual deposits from the American heartland, courtesy of NYC photographer Jordan Sullivan.
Just when I thought Ryan McGinley had cured me of all need to see a collection of road trip photographs ever again, Sullivan’s stark, highly involved compositions draw me back into the familiar subject matter with a mixture of guilt and elation.
Sullivan is currently showing at Clic Gallery in SoHo with an exhibition entitled ‘Roadsongs’.
Our friends over at Strange Attractor have launched an interesting new interview series entitled “Still Life.” SA sends the artist a lomography camera and a roll of film, and the “interview” becomes conducted entirely through artist-created images. The above interview with Denmark based artist Kim Høltermand is a beautiful look at his life, through his own eyes.
Cradle of Mankind is the newest series by Canadian-born photographer, Joey L. Shot in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, and featuring portraits of the various tribes that inhabit the area. The photographs are a deeply moving, visual homage to the tribal peoples of Ethiopia, the birthplace of Homo sapiens.
The photographs from Cradle of Mankind, along with Joey L.’s documentary film, Faces of a Vanishing World (watch the trailer after the jump)– which first aired on Ovation TV in September 2010, chronicle the artist’s deep interest in Ethiopia, and the rapid transition of it’s oldest cultures. During his time in the country, Joey L. lived with various tribes in the region, learning the different customs of each while capturing individual portraits. Though these tribes may seem untouched by time, they are in fact in constant danger of disappearing forever. The artist states in a 2010 NPR interview that he is interested in anthropology and likes photographing different cultures, “but the ones I’ve been paying attention to lately are the, I suppose what you’d call vanishing ones, … the cultures that are on the verge of extinction, tribes that are threatened by progress and losing their language and losing their ways of life that they’ve sustained for thousands of years.”
See a selection of Cradle Of Mankind from June 21st-August 4th 2012 at Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles