Enter the gallery of premeditated patterns by Amir Nikravan. Envision a blank city sidewalk with freshly poured concrete and carefully combed patterns—some resembling giant thumbprints. His paintings create a galaxy of perceptions through repetitious surfaces with hidden fabric, heaped in layers of paint.
Deceivingly flat from a far and pickled close to the eye. This illusion is demonstrated through his use of photorealism in combination with painting and photography; his muted color palette supports this physical illusion.
Primarily delicate shades of whale gray occupy his paintings, along with earthy tones including sapphire blues and burnt siennas—walking into a space of pieces by Amir Nikaven might feel like San Francisco on a beautiful foggy day. A softness and mellowness exudes from the rough textures he perfects in his work. This mix of harsh contours and subdued color present them with a bittersweet perception.
Korean artist Sung-Myung Chun creates eerie sculptures of young boys wearing his face who are usually in a situation that revolves around drama. He works with his life experiences through these sculptures of himself, and presents it to us cinematically by freezing them in moments of great reflection, violence, fatigue, etc – much like in T.V. shows or movies.
Lisa Rienermann‘s Type the Sky series is reminiscent of the big city tourist’s point of view. The tops of metropolitan buildings squeeze in the sky to form a unique alphabet. Rienermann uses the negative space, the small patches of cloudy sky, between roofs to as the structure of a fun typography. The font has been understandably popular. The series received an award from the Type Directors Club New York. It was also used by Mercedes and Renault for respective advertising campaigns.
The work of Mathew Zefeldt(previously featured here) successfully balances improbable combinations – modern with historical, digital with classical, painterly foregrounds with computer-like backgrounds – all by densely rendering them in traditional painting techniques with oils and acrylics. Having created an advanced personal lexicon of art historical references to classical sculpture, as well as to abstract and figurative painting, these figures cohesively exist alongside more modern glitch aesthetics, shifting colors, garish patterns, and computer-like repetition. Through the combination of these disparate elements, Zefeldt recalls the history of the painting medium, while referencing the potential to represent our new, hybrid reality. Explaining his work, the artist says, “My paintings are still-life arrangements that take place in my head; they are windows onto a fictional world, governed by rules based in the real world, but bent and broken…”.
These still-lifes exist in another improbably capacity, that of using both illusionistic depth and perspective, but on two-dimensional plane. This use of the flat-plane is more often found in collage, as is Zefeldt’s tendency to repeat (almost) identical imagery. When asked by Beautiful/Decay why he chooses painting to construct his explorations of a variegated contemporary visual culture, Zefeldt replies, “It would be a million times easier to collage or photoshop rather than paint. But paint forces you to slow down. Painting the same thing over and over again is almost meditative. Painting can be subversive too. Everything is getting more digital, movies etc. I think its important to keep making things manually, by hand.” This attention to craft highlights a uniquely human quality, where each sculptural bust appears exactly the same, but holds its own standard of flawed beauty upon closer inspection.
The Minneapolis-based painter will be featured in the group exhibition Figure Ground(curated by Gideon Chase – previously featured here) at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, CA. The exhibition (which opens January 10th and runs through February 8th, 2014) features work which explores the relationship between the figure and the foreground, testing different styles of background, illusionistic dimensions and a flat plane’s ability to contain both subject and context in a search for meaning.
New York based artist William Steinman creates sexy and raw pieces that carry a strong undertone of their source of inspiration: street culture and Pop art. Growing up, he kept himself busy by exploring downtown Phoenix on his skateboard. In doing so, he was introduced to the graffiti art that populated his surroundings, and fell in love with it. Though William was initially inspired, he started to notice how increasingly redundant graffiti was turning out. He decided to focus his artistic endeavors elsewhere, and started to study painting. But first love is always the strongest, and William found himself charmed by the bold lines and appropriated imagery of Pop art.
Observing William Steinman’s paintings and sculptures is the equivalent of trying to stay perfectly still inside a hurricane of motion. He constantly plays with adaptation and reconstruction within an environment of deconstruction. Using found materials, store bought objects, comic books, and finishing them off with industrial glue, the end result is what he likes to accurately describe as “the dark side of Pop.”
William is currently an MFA student over at Queens College in New York City. In a few weeks he will be presenting his bold, raw, and sexy portfolio of work at his MFA Thesis show. Unfortunately, I live much too far and will not be able to attend. However, anyone out there who will be in the area should definitely indulge themselves! Go!
Great video with M.I.A. protege Rye Rye by our friends at Coolhunting.com. This video visits the rising star in the studio working on her yet as unreleased album and at a WWD Daily photo shoot. The 18-year-old Baltimore native shares the story of how she came up, a few dance moves and what she likes to rap about.
It’s amazing how kids that are still in highschool are making such big waves w/out major record labels. You can thank the internet for that!
Crystal Wagner‘s immersive installations are attractively textured, instantly eye catching, elegantly dramatic, and undeniably wonderful. She carefully arranges pieces of paper bought from office stores into organic explosions of florescent color. She invites visitors to walk through and navigate her neon universe of oceanic waves, throbbing bubbles, and swollen mountains.
Wagner’s work is not only aesthetically organic, bu so is the very nature of her process. She talks about how each complex piece is created:
Each installation, and each drawing is a different conversation I am having. The gesture is the introduction, the first impression, and everything else tumbles out. (Source)
Wagner uses her time spent in the many National Parks of America as a lot of her inspiration. Aspects of Yellowstone and Joshua Tree National Parks find their way into her work. The scale of her installations do make you feel as if you are standing in front of a gigantic cliff – dwarfed and in awe. But she is also a child of the modern world, living in an urban jungle, and is very familiar with plastics, paper, and concrete. Wagner explains the importance of this dichotomy in her work:
My latest installation titled Urban Kudzu explores ideas related to people and their disconnection from the natural world… In my own experience with the world, I have a deep rooted understanding of what the plastic feels like, of what man made materials and spaces feel like, and tend to perceive the natural world through a very exotic lens. (Source)
Her work reminds us that although nature is wonderfully powerful and can annihilate anything at any given time, the modern world can also be just as destructive. In both situations we are reminded of our smallness and how easily we can loose control of that around us. (Via Sweet Station)
Joe Diebes is one of those guys who is so smart you can feel the smartness coming off them in waves, like heat on blacktop. I don’t pretend to understand what he’s thinking, but like Potter Stewart explained hard core porno by saying “I know it when I see it,” it’s easy to see something intense happening in Diebes’ sound and video collage. He created a recording of a musician, the cellist Rubin Kodheli, and then sort of collaged it back together using a mathematical algorithm. One interesting conceptual aspect of this video, Scherzo, is that it never repeats. And I don’t mean that it doesn’t repeat in this little one minute snippet, I mean that if you played it for one hundred years and sat there – it wouldn’t repeat the same sequence twice. I told you, this guy’s smart. You can see Scherzo at Paul Rodgers 9w gallery until December 2nd, and at the Liverpool Biennial until November 28th.