Gil Batle is an American artist who spent over 20 years in Californian prisons for fraud and forgery. He endured some of the state’s most infamous facilities, including San Quentin, Chuckawalla, and Jamestown, living in racially segregated conditions under the constant threat of gang violence. During that time, Gil’s astounding ability to draw and tattoo with extreme precision gave him an esteemed reputation among the inmates, thus protecting him from harm and intimidation.
In an exhibition titled “Hatched in Prison,” which will be featured at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in New York from November 5th–January 9th, 2016, Batle presents viewers with a fascinating, sensitive, and detailed glimpse into the hardship and abuse endured in prison by carving these experiences onto the surfaces of ostrich eggs. Brutal images of isolation, beatings from security guards, and chain gangs cover the delicate, ivory-colored surfaces. Barbed wire, gang symbols, and shivs create an ominous symmetry.
In this unique medium, Batle reveals scenes that are usually hidden away from the public eye. There is a special significance to carving trauma onto an egg—an object which Ricco/Maresca’s press release describes as “nature’s most perfect creation and manifestation of life and birth” (Source); Batle’s creations seem to convey vulnerability as well as a sense of hope, renewal, and redemption.
Melbourne-based photographer Biony Ridley describes her work as an adventure or a fairytale, saying that her lack of organization when it comes to shooting images helps lends her work an element of chance.
Ukrainian illustrator Vasya Kolotusha has a great eye for pattern, texture and color. Taking inspiration from fashion blogs and models, she captures a playful essence in her sketches and animations. With a clean aesthetic, and a slight 80s twist, her images are cool, stylish, classic and quietly humorous. Illustrating for magazines, bands, and posters, Kolotusha’s lux style is a popular one.
Her latest experiments with adding neon light tube details to her sketches are a good match. They are reminiscent of 80s hairdressing signs, a piece of art from a time when sign writing was champion. She has a very simple yet effective technique of isolating her subjects and placing them inside a very graphic background. Her drawing style is so detailed and rich, they succeed in being intriguing, and translate well into animations.
Experimenting with the GIF format, Kolotusha is exploring the process of sketching – making visible to us viewers the preliminarily lines, the building up of color. We can almost see her hand adding background detail and extra flair and then continue on to edit everything we have seen her create. By exposing the whole drawing exercise, she captures our attention, rather than boring us with fussy detail.
Following on from her previous series of people wearing helmets, this series of illuminated girl portraits are a promising sign of things to come. This illustrator is one to watch!
New York-based photographer Oliver Wasow works mostly with digital photography, having taught it at Bard and SVA. He creates hyperrealistic, crisp landscapes that at times can look like portals into another world. And while he’s refrained from it recently, his composite work from the late 90s is my favorite.
New Zealand-based artist Karley Feaver creates assemblages that involve a mixture of stuffed birds and various costume-like adornment ( human hair, gold plated metal, wood, and more). The artist claims that the animals she uses are ethically sourced and have died of natural causes.
Through her grotesque yet beautiful sculptures, the artist explores the idea of transformation and adornment, as her current interests rest in nature’s ability to survive in different forms by adapting, adjusting, and mutating into an increasingly man-made environment.
She intends to make these birds look other-worldly. Interestingly enough, she is successful at doing this by using materials that we are very familiar with (human hair, gold, and wood). She makes an interesting juxtaposition between the natural and the unnatural, the familiar and the unfamiliar- specifically to make a point about the unnatural efforts animals (in general) have to make in order to survive in a man-made environment.
Through the ages people have made beautiful things for themselves and others by using materials from their nearby environment. Birds are known to do the same, especially when seeking to attract a mate. Feaver’s new works bring the image of beauty almost to the edge of absurdity, their appearance is both bizarre and extraordinary, unlike any other creature on earth.