Artist Gina Ruggeri skillfully plays with perspective and spatial illusion. Her work often takes the form of painted Mylar cutouts employing trope-l’oeil techniques. Natural objects such as logs, stones, and smoke seem to float off the wall and into the gallery space. In other work the white walls give way to rot, decay, and caverns. Though Ruggeri’s work is eye-catching a definite and clear painting tradition stands out in her work. She frequently forgoes the traditional canvas for plastic film but her composition and techniques is reminiscent of past styles. The background landscapes of Renaissance portraits appear to have outgrown their frames (and conventional physics for that matter) and now unfold directly on the gallery walls.
A highly traditional artistic activity, portraiture is given new perspective through the eyes of the four artists below. Each of these artists seeks unconventional means to create a subject’s likeness.
Vik Muniz incorporates quotidian objects and materials, such as diamonds, sugar, thread, chocolate syrup and garbage into his works to create unique portraits. Often the medium will imply something about the subject, as with his iconic portraits of catadores, self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz photographed the catadores in Jardim Gramacho, which is the largest garbage dump in the world, located just outside Rio de Janerio. He photographed them and then re-created their portraits out of garbage. This process is documented in the film Waste Land.
Ben Durham creates portraits of alleged criminals, all of whom attended the same high school as him in Lexington, Kentucky. Knowing none of the subjects personally, Durham ignites a viewer’s imagination by offering no clue as to their alleged crimes. The images, sketched on paper Durham handmade, are composed of text and titled after the subject’s name. Streams of gibberish, the text captures contours and texture impeccably.
Laguna Beach-based artist Andrew Myers creates distinct, expressive and tactile portraits made of mixed media, mainly screws. In the displayed portrait, Andrew depicts filmmaker Benjamin Pitts using approximately 8,000 screws, oil paint, and phonebook pages. The piece was an experiment in expressing movement with static objects.
Christian Faur’s interest with art lies in the idea that the medium can become the message. Intertwining form and function Faur’s more recent work incorporates crayons to create mesmerizing portraits. Three-dimensional and abstract up close, the portraits flatten and emerge the further away from them a viewer gets.
Perhaps one of the best street-art interventions of the year comes at the very end. Daniel Siering and Mario Shu developed a unique strategy for their site-specific public project in Potsdam, Germany. By wrapping a tree and covering the wrapping with incredibly detailed spray-paint, the duo manages to perfectly capture a stunning sinhle-point perspective which gives the illusion that the tree is bisected, with the top half mysteriously floating above the fields and horizon in the background.
As this is a developing story, there are precious few pictures to properly show the project (including proper links to the artist, or previous works) but check out this video (which as of now has less than 300 hits) to see the simple yet effective trompe l’oeil the two artists created, and hope that the two release more pictures, and more fantastic public projects, in 2014. (via streetartutopia)
Painting something like Lolita crossed with David Lynch crossed with a crude porn site, the works of Lisa Yuskavage seem to have people divided. Her luscious images of nude women and girls have been described as both vulgar and earnest, affectionate and alienating. She has developed a unique style that blends Renaissance techniques, landscapes, still lifes, cartoon-like figures, porn and religious iconography that both delights and disturbs viewers. Yuskavage’s world is full of innocent yet flirtatious vixens parading around in their undies and getting into mischief in meadows or apartments. Her characters seem a bit narcissistic, and self loving, and in some cases maybe even self loathing. Yet they are definitely interesting and magnetic; a commentary on the complexities of the modern woman and her sexuality.
Drawing on her own childhood experiences, Yuskavage explains her encounters with, and understandings of sexiness and power:
As a little girl, in Catholic school, they were the first feminists I met. It seems counterintuitive, but these women rejected the normal system of life. The ones that taught me were quite smart. When I came to my senses, I realized it would actually be awful for me to live that particular life. I guess I liked the idea of a calling, the intensity of it. (Source)
Works from the last 25 years of Yuskavage’s career is now on show at The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Be sure to visit and make up your own mind if you love or loathe her style and content. Her solo show Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood is on display from September 12 to December 13, 2015 at David Zwirner Gallery in NYC.
Paul Cherwick approaches his subtractive wooden sculptures with the spontaneity of drawings, treating them as quick, multi-sided one-offs. Employing a carving technique, he chooses an art that runs the gamut, unchanged between folk art material, and the stuff of priceless antiquities. Cherwick creates his figures as allegories, each with an absurd background story; they show the classical grace of the commoner, rather than his or her banality. His cast of personal folklores draws from Classical Greek mythology, in which individuals serve as tropes, created to personify human qualities in ways that are often very literal. Though he is drawn to wood for its classical nature and inherent morality, his translations of the material often verge on Pop.
Emilia Brintnall lives and works in Philadelphia where she is a member of the Space 1026 art gallery and co-op. Her paper-mâché sculptures revel in the vibrancy of the animal kingdom as well as everyday objects. Snakes, Dinosaurs, Foxes, Fruits and Ghosts are simplified and minimally painted. Small yet mighty, Emilia’s spirited figures are a buoyant reminder of the merry and oftentimes silly world we inhabit.
New York City native photographer Steve Schapiro documents what it means to be a hippie in 2015. Originally known for his photographs of and participation in the original Haight-Ashbury scene in San Francisco in the 1960s, Schapiro’s new aim is to explore where today’s hippie energy lays. From 2012 to 2014, Steve Schapiro, teaming with his son Theophilus Donoghue, traveled throughout the country following various “free-spirit movement” festivals such as Burning man in Nevada, Shasta festival and Rainbow Gathering in California, and others of the likes. Here what they found is that the “neo-hippie” generation “has more to do with meditation, yoga, fellowship, good vibes, and a search for the divine than it does with the mind-altering substances of its 60s predecessor.” Through images of mass nude meditation, men covered in mud in what looks like states of pure euphoria, group circles of shirtless people forming hand hearts with their neighbors, Schapiro sheds light into a community deeply rooted in finding their happiness through channels of love and nature.
“In Bliss, Schapiro captures the multitudes who come to commune with nature, other like-minded souls, and all that is divine and inspirational in the multi-hued spectrum of human spirituality. He focuses on a subculture of the current hippie counterculture known as “Bliss Ninnies” — individuals who embrace meditation and dancing as a way to reach ecstatic states of joy. The book provides an overview of a new contemporary hippie life within America introduced to Schapiro by his son who began his own journey into Bliss at age 23.”
Steve Nishimoto lives and works in New York. He creates large pieces that approach abstract painting with a sense of humor. His paintings frequently examine modern subject matter such as the anonymous character featured on the display of generic ATM machines spread throughout the city or the word “Time” written as if it were a CAPTCHA on the internet. Another trademark is his magnification of the mundane and overlooked, from the security patterns within envelopes to 99 Cent Store tags Nishimoto reminds the viewer that anything can inspire.