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Will Cotton Paints Katy Perry For New Exhibit at Mary Boone Gallery

Will Cotton’s new show at Mary Boone brings together the artists signature imagery of cotton candy and frosting with pop singer Katy Perry. This seems like nothing more than a cheap gimmick to sell a few paintings but I’m sure Mr.Cotton isn’t losing much sleep over my opinions of his hugely successful career. I wish that there was a moment of tension in these works or that they weren’t just pretty paintings of pretty things but for me the work falls flat. Each masterfully painted work looks like another precious thing to hang over your designer couch, and that’s not a good thing. Read the below press release and see additional images from Cotton’s Katy Perry paintings and decide for yourself. Is this interesting art or just extravagant illustrations of a mediocre pop star that will soon fade away?

“Conjuring his signature land of plentiful sweets, for the touchstone of this group of new works the Artist depicts Katy Perry (Cotton served as Artistic Director for her 2010 California Gurls music video) as the reluctant queen of an imagined Utopia. In Crown, she stands before a palisade of pastel cakes, holding the headpiece as if wary of its obligations and consequences, realizing that a reign of opulence and profusion will inevitably conclude in decline and decay.

Cotton evokes the memory of a time before this awareness in Candy Forest, an idyllic landscape that merits bright color but is instead painted in the monochromatic palette of an old sepia photograph. Yet even in that distant past this Utopia harbored an underside – a truth underscored in the paintings Landfill and Trash Pile. Here, doughnuts, pastry, and tarts are nothing but layers in a garbage heap, their allure diminished in a realm of infinite riches.”

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How A T-shirt By OMOCAT Made Us Question Sex And Controversy In Art

Omocat Shota Shirt

Omocat Shota Shirt

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What’s in a word?  That’s what the prolific and internationally known Asian-American artist Omocat has been faced with lately.  In the midst of her recent “shota” t-shirt release (pictured here), the artist’s intentions have in instances been taken widely out of context.  Embraced by Japanese fans that understand the context, some others have used it as a brutal platform for Western backlash.  In this instance something got lost in translation between hemispheres, and it is increasingly important that we explore the context and origin of the Japanese word shota and, above all, what this illustrates about western views on sexuality and gender.

Omocat’s continuum of work includes illustration, comic-books, clothing and merch with her designs.  Her imagery and content is often based on shota (which loosely translates to mean “pretty boy”) or loli (an expansive style and sometimes fetish originating in Nabakov’s Lolita). All of these artistic expressions stem from Otaku, an umbrella term for the Japanese manga-centric subculture that also informs the work of artist Takashi Murakami.   It is important to note that Omocat is quite vocal and literal within the work on her feelings towards social justice and self-empowerment in gender and sexual identity, with a strong personal stance against bullying.  This is illustrated fully in her comic “Pretty Boy,” featured here.   Omocat is even working on a collaborative artistic effort against bullying set to launch later this fall.

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Studio Visit: Ryan Schneider

ryan schneider top imageRyan Schneider was making some cool paintings when I stopped by his studio.

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Mathieu Lefevre

Mathieu Lefevre’s multidisciplinary practice, encompassing sculpture, painting, and photography use humor, irony and cynicism to test the fragility and the flexibility of the mediums he employs in his work.By seeking to rearrange and disrupt the relationships between viewer, creator, commodity and context his work raise questions as to what art can be, what it is worth and what is its role in a cultural and commercial framework.

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The Lusciously Detailed Colored Pencil Drawings Of Joe Sinness

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Sinness-Joe-13

The lush, vibrant colored pencil drawings of Joe Sinness portray screen and stage stars, queer icons, and online erotica submitters, combining them with antique or thrift store items, flowers and jewels to create carefully constructed tableaus. The technical ability of the Minneapolis-based artist is what one immediately notices, and it is only after that the viewer must attempt to make sense of the laboriously drawn scene before them.

Sinness creates each still-life by hand before photographing and then meticulously executing them with Prismacolor pencils.  “I want each still life to have a visual richness or lushness to highlight and celebrate the figures or kitsch objects presented (and I use the term ‘kitsch’ with the utmost seriousness)”.In works like the Shining Indiscretions triptych (seen above), Sinness created a loose mythology which the work is based on, but does not depend upon. Titled from a Tennesse Williams quote (“All good art is an indiscretion.”), Sinness built hundreds of scenes imagining what a queer,flamboyant spirit such as Williams might physically look like, eventually settling on a triptych of shapes formed from gold lamé. The triumph of this triptych is that the viewer most certainly does not need to know this backstory to enjoy the work, because the images are so visually striking and meditative that they speak for themselves. However, they also have a strong conceptual intention and purpose which informs the work for those who wish to dig deeper.

Sinness continues, “I am interested in how objects and people seeking fame become consumable products, a paradox that sees their artistic endeavors pursuing immortality become disposable and commodified. My imagery and subjects are first looted and then loved… In mining these subjects and devotedly recasting them together in shrine-like still lifes, they are given new life in narratives which mirror their subject’s original aspiration and desire for fame and immortality.”

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Andy Smith

British illustrator Andy Smith’s bold posters and illustration employ a variety of printing services and techniques to create electric colored work full of quirky character and playful typography.

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