Virginia Wagner’s paintings stem from real life events that she manipulates and distorts through lenses of fantasy, dream and theater. The ponds, rock fields and tangled forests in her work are her internal wilderness projected onto the external world. The glass walls, grids and concrete bunkers are attempts to erect something permanent and keep the wild at bay. The clashes that occur at this juncture illuminate the conflict between progress and nature inherent in my state of mind as well as in our contemporary state.
We have featured the work of Brooklyn based Benjamin Edmiston in the past (here). His recent pieces project a heightened confidence in collage making. His work looks as if he utilizes absolutely everything he can find. Scraps and swatches of paper litter his wacky folk art worlds. The viewer is presented with a scene of meticulously constructed chaos. In dissecting the layers one finds zany circumstances presented with precision.
“Compassion,” Arabic calligraphy, Issé – France (2014).
In a stunning series of images that blend photography, calligraphy, and performance art, Nantes-based artist Julien Breton (aka Kaalam) uses light and dance to “paint” beautiful and fleeting characters into the air. Inspired by a combination of Latin and Arabic writing styles, each piece is captured on long-exposure film while the artist creates his inscriptions using colored lamps and careful, intention-filled movements. As a living, artistic response to the environment, the designs are matched in compositional harmony to the surrounding backdrop, be it an underpass in New York, an abandoned building in France, or a magnificent hall in India. Each performance lasts several minutes and is then transformed into a single frame, transcending the boundaries of time and our perception of light.
On his biography page, Breton is quoted as explaining his choice of medium, which is rooted in a synchrony of bodily and spiritual practice: “a white sheet is too limiting. To paint on a canvas, however large, means in any case a limit within which I do not feel myself free to express my whole being. Only light is really infinite. The only limit is the air” (Source). Exploring infinitude, Breton’s images demonstrate the seemingly contradictory nature of light; it is bright and endless, yet also fleeting and enveloped by darkness. Both presence and absence are at play in the photographs; the artist disappears while his physical, expressive “trace” (the writing) remains behind. In these pieces, subjectivity and self-expression become greater, geometric portraits of universal energies.
A Reason to Live Lowbrow Art Exhibition opens this Friday, June 4th, at Coalition in little old San Luis Obispo, CA. The DIY-style event, intended to inspire future collaboration & support for this small but thriving local art scene, will exhibit the most “interesting and provocative” artists from the area. The Lowbrow show is part of the city’s Art After Dark gallery walk – held the first friday of every month – and will certainly be a stroll off the beaten coastal-landscape painting path. Featured artists include Lisa Harrison, Steve Taggard, Gary Ellsworth (a.k.a. Sawdust), Joshua Jesse, Brittany App & more. Local art, live music, great company and some good old fashioned lowbrow fun!
The paintings of artist Benjamin Björklund unearth and obscure the emotional states of his subjects. Working from a rustic, nineteenth-century farmhouse in Uppsala, Sweden, his muses are often those around him: family members, Solomon (his Great Dane), his pet rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs, as well as the wild animals outside. Faces are painted in soft colors, seeming to reflect the pale light of the northern sun. However, everything seems a bit out of focus; eyes and hairlines and skin meld together, giving the portraits an impressionistic style. Dual forces are at play as the figures shift imperceptibly between reality and abstraction, presence and distance.
Ben’s project is to interpret and convey the inner worlds of his subjects. This is a compelling concept, given that portraiture is traditionally a desired projection of someone—a veneer of their character. Ben’s work, however, is more honest in that it connects the physical surface to the intangible swirl within. His about page explains his approach further:
“Ben’s figurative and portraiture work can, at times, depict scenes bordering on the surreal with characters influenced by those around him existing in various physical or emotional situations. These are usually emphasized through the use of abstracted light and darts of color. These, Ben refers to as ‘happy mistakes’ being borne from spontaneous actions and serving to focus the viewer’s attention whilst adding to the emotional impact on the viewer.” (Source)
In their abstraction, Ben’s subjects become deeply individualistic, while also exploring the metaphysical depths and complexities of human identity.
Ben’s paintings are held in private collections in many cities around the world, including LA, Melbourne, and throughout Europe. You can explore more of his work on his website and Instagram. (Via Hi-Fructose)
Zahir Batin’s delightful series of photographs is sure to get you excited for the upcoming release of Star Wars: Episode VII. When the artist bought a Canon EOS 1000D in February 2012, he had no idea that he would discover a passion for shooting miniature Star Wars scenes, but sure enough, he has since created a whimsical body of work cataloging the misadventures of Jedi, Sith lords, clones, and droids.
Batin’s work is certainly humorous, serving to decontextualize the often fearsome characters. A pack of clones is shown to be comically miniature beside a group of adorable ducklings; one even kindly offers a leaf to the giant baby animals. During their time off, they play with their vehicles like a group of rowdy teenage boys. For a more relaxing evening, they unwind riverside and confide in one another in a language inaudible to human viewers.
Despite the comic conceit of the miniature work—and perhaps even because of it—Batin imbues his imagined scenes with a poignant humanity and deeply-feeling heart. After a day of play, the clones lose a companion, and their heads move toward the sky in despair. After digging a grave, they place the fallen man’s tiny helmet above the moistened dirt and position a carefully-crafted gravestone at the head. In a moment of grief, they press their armored bodies together and embrace. Through Batin’s emotive lens, these small action figures, normally beloved only by children, become sentient beings with whom we can relate and empathize. Take a look. (via KoiKoiKoi)