John Kissick’s paintings are a colorful explosion of abstract patterns, forms, thick paint, and gooey textures. Kind of like a Piñata filled with paint.
Gestural fluid abstraction and geometric patterns usually don’t well together but Kent Michael Smith has figured out a way to make them live harmoniously on the same surface. By using resin inbetween layers of paint he manages to combine these two disparate forms of mark making that reference Nascar color schematics, hunting gear, camouflage, and graffiti.
While these images might look like strange and surreal landscapes, they are actually macro images of different creatures. Armenian photographer Suren Manvelyan’s series Animal Eyes captures an extreme viewpoint that gives the average eye an otherworldly feel. The crackles, vibrant colors, and individual hairs are all visual in these beautiful photos. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Manvelyan’s handiwork – he’s also shown the human eye in incredible detail.
Manvelyan is not just a photographer, but also holds a PhD in theoretical physics. In these images he combines technology, science, and art to show us something that’s unexpectedly familiar. We see brilliant blue pools, red rings, and crystallized whites; the close proximity makes this work appears as places to go hiking rather than something like a parrot’s eyes. (Via Featureshoot)
In late 1978, an exhibition of cartoonist Chester Gould‘s (d. 1985) art for his strip, Dick Tracy, was held at the Museum of Cartoon Art (now defunct) in Port Chester, NY. In the catalog published to coincide with the show, there is a massive appendix of 200 characters Gould created for the strip over the years. Now I’ve never read Dick Tracy as it was a bit before my time, but I had absolutely no idea it was so weird. The characters have bizarre appearances and names like Flattop, Nothing, and Vitamin Flintheart. Matt Masterson, the man who put the appendix together, says:
When I asked Chet Gould where he got the names for some of his characters, he told me he used to ride the train from his home in Woodstock, Illinois to his studio in Chicago and sketch various people he observed on the train. He would exaggerate upon certain features or characteristics. The name would follow, with he one exception being Flattop, whose name came from the popular aircraft carrier of World War II.
Some of my favorites are after the jump, but if you want to see the whole collection, click here.
Brighton, England’s very own artist Seiko Kato’s work is something you think you’d find at an antique boutique. But looking closer, it’s not necessarily something you would buy for your grandmother’s birthday. Her work is Victorian era meets contemporary design. Kato’s inspiration lies in Victorian medical books, old Victorian drawings and encyclopedias, and Victorian paraphernalia. Kato is also a collage artist and illustrator.
The work of Karim Hamid, as the artist states is “interested in the process by which the female figure is objectified by the archetypal male gaze.” The naked figures are mutilated and leveled to one plane with the background making the main objects in the paintings create tension since they’re all sharing one dimension. The subtle muted colors, and the rough painting manner combined with bedrooms as backdrops, portray an indication of the women’s figure objectification throughout history, as well as today’s media insatiable need of it.
Raffaello Ossola vibrant dramatism and invented landscapes create an exciting space for the viewer to explore and ponder. Each one offers an opportunity to imagine yourself in his universe, wandering through mazes or floating around trees. Although Ossola takes liberties with his compositions, ultimately they retain the verticality/gravity that we are familiar with. Where he leaves the laws of our world more readily are in his pools. They seem to be reflecting a cloud, moon, or other objects in the sky, but the eye reads it more as if the elements mentioned are situated in an environment within the water. The surface of the water appears more like a penetrable glass casing than a body unto itself. It’s mesmerizing to see.
Though most of his paintings don’t contain living creatures, occasionally Ossola will include a part of or even a whole figure, bug, or animal. His ability to render invented landscapes is more convincing than these living subjects, but it’s an interesting attempt. Sometimes the living creatures break the illusion of the scene, and they tend not to engage with the environment in a very natural way. On the other hand, these environments are very barren to begin with, and it may be for this reason that living creatures appear foreign or perturbing in some way. I enjoy the idea of seeing a person trying to scramble up the side of a tilting pool or interacting with the glassy water. I know also, though, that it might set stricter boundaries for my own imagination and experience of the paintings.
Visit his website to see his more recent maze paintings. (Via Melt)
El Gato Chimney is an Milan-based artist who paints imaginative and symbolic scenes that explore the dualisms and crossovers between good and evil, life and death. Populated with anthropomorphized animals, fire-breathing demons, and masked religious-type figures, Chimney’s work resembles the kind of metaphorical, fantastical visions you might imagine on a medieval tapestry, where every detail is interwoven with a hidden significance. Intensifying the scope of his art is the fact that his paintings syncretize spiritual traditions and practices from around world and throughout history, including alchemy, occultism, and folklore. Brimming with wit, insight, and imagination, Chimney’s work is a modern interpretation of ancient art and ongoing philosophic themes.
One of the most compelling aspects of Chimney’s symbol-filled imagery is the apparent moral ambiguity. The creatures inhabiting the vast, melancholic landscapes are unclear in their intentions, with their strange, chimerical bodies appearing both gentle and wicked. Many of them are preparing for abstract duals with one another, the reasons for which remain unknown. In a statement provided on Chimney’s Bio page, this confounding of good and evil, darkness and light is eloquently described:
“The universe he portrays is dual and deceptive, like a good nightmare: a world constantly split between a daytime Arcadia and an inhabited and unquiet night, where the dividing line is clearly visible and easy to cross, both a danger signal and an invitation to disobedience” (Source).
If you look throughout the landscapes, the backdrops are frequently divided by bold demarcations of light and dark, with no apparent barriers between them; one can “switch sides” with a surprising ease. What Chimney seems to be depicting here is a pervasive ambiguity, a hybridic reading of morality and spirituality that reveals there is no singular conception of good and evil; instead, we are all just navigating the joys and misfortunes of existence. As the above statement continues, “the artist wants to assert that celebrating life and escaping death is what joins all beings” (Source).
Visit Chimney’s website and Facebook page and immerse yourself in his dualistic, symbolic visions, the interpretations of which are quite literally endless. His work will be exhibited at the Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn from March 5 – April 30. (Via designboom)