Kyle Bean’s sculptures are made out of everyday objects such as straws, baked goods, jello, and even matchsticks. His latest eggshell sculpture doesn’t necessarily answer the question “What came first the chicken or the egg” but it sure is beautiful.
Never were there lovelier tortured souls. Wisconsin-born and University of Wisconsin at Madison-trained artist Melissa Cooke works primarily in powdered graphite and often casts herself as the subject of her drawn musings. Striking in both subject matter and detail, her creations explore themes of violence, sexuality, and identity. The nuances of story and emotion evoked are powerful, often unsettling. All of this is made by the artist’s skillful hand, guiding her dry brush across thin layers of graphite on sizeable pieces of paper.
Li Jikai is a Chinese artist who makes wonderfully melancholy sculptures and paintings. And even though he is well known in Asia, I had never seen his work before visiting Dialogue Space Gallery’s booth at the LA Art Show – a massive art exhibition being held in the convention center downtown. His piece “Daydream” of a young boy laying on his back and holding his legs against his chest drew me straight towards it, so I battled the waves of artwork at the convention center to get a closer look. And after inspecting the piece and meeting the gallery’s director, I turned the corner and became totally entrenched in Jikai’s world full of lonely characters and heavy symbolism. Especially one piece that I found most interesting of a boy sitting underneath a giant mushroom, because it existed as both a sculpture as well as a painting. According to some online sources Li Jikai is a member of the Ego Generation – a group of Chinese artists born after 1970 who deal with personal matters in their work as opposed to cultural ones. However, it doesn’t really matter if he belongs to that movement or not, since his work is so powerful at expressing its intentions that it doesn’t need to be lumped into a group.
UK-based artist Alexander Heaton dives into the surreal and profound through a variety of mediums. His strong body of work stems from exploration and cultural awareness within small esoteric stories of myth and folklore of various European backgrounds. Exotic dishes and their colorful representations give a small glimpse into the madness of the creative mind. More after the jump.
Derek Albeck has a magical way of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Using only pencils, a bit of paint, and masterfully honed traditional portrait techniques, Albeck creates pieces that are anything but traditional.
Frequently working from snapshots taken in his daily life, Albeck amplifies the expressions and motions of his subjects, revealing the completely comfortable, unguarded, and usually hilariously unflattering parts of ourselves that manifest most intensely in candid photos taken seconds too soon, or when chemically compromised. In fact, much of Albeck’s work is characterized by a sort of “magic brownie effect,” turning mundane, common symbols, people, and objects into mesmerizing sources of irresistible humor. His eye for details — like the logo on a beer can, the crinkle of a flag, or the cover of a book by Aleister Crowley – capture escapist fantasies, moments of carefree bliss and rebellion that appear at once precious but fleeting, intensely personal but universally familiar. In Albeck’s world, a pile of dirty laundry becomes an eerily expressive smiley face, a cheeky rainbow forms the frown of an aptly titled “Sad Murderer,” and a skull with hypnotic eyes, comprised of the floating heads of the happiest, goofiest people you’ve ever seen, leaves you giggling in a trance-like state for hours. This happiness proves contagious as you find yourself smiling back at the bearded, flannel-clad man collapsed in a joyful stupor beneath a rainbow in a drawing called “Have a Great Day Forever.” And with an attitude that makes us want to do just that, Albeck’s work provides a fresh viewpoint with which to view, and laugh at, everyday life.
Benjamin Marra, perfecter of awkward angles and radical tangents and exploding heads and 80’s boobies, recently re-visualized American Psycho in a crisp Pettibon-ish series of drawings. They provide a nice contrast to the way Marra often works his comics, which tend to be explosively high-speed and feverishly paced. He excels at both approaches, and further proves why he is one of the best action comic artists out there. Get deeper, read his blog, visit his website, frequent his webstore, and amazingly, you can buy a bunch of his comics, released from his very own Traditional Comics, for only 16 bones. I bought ’em. You?
If ever a designer could be labeled Cult Couture, Aoi Kotsuhiroi would be it. Kotsuhiroi’s “body objects” blur the line between fashion and fine art, with each handmade, one-of-a-kind piece embodying a sense of primal energy, like relics of an ancient gothic warrior tribe. Through her juxtaposition of precious materials like cherry tree wood, phantom crystals, and pit-fired porcelain with once living, borderline grotesque elements like human and horse hair, lacquered horns, and elephant, buffalo, and crocodile leathers, Kotsuhiroi breathes animalistic life into her wearable sculptures, imbuing the wearer with a spirit of strength, mystery, and a little bit of danger. Her most recent collection, entitled “Exotic Regrets,” is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece, featuring talon-shaped rings that could double as primitive weapons in an end of the world showdown, and a pair of sinewy, scorpion-like shoes which give new meaning to the term “killer heels.”