Seattle artist Robert Hardgrave creates swirling, abstract mixed media paintings. Sometimes a figure or structure will appear, but you can never be too sure of exactly what you’re looking at. Any element of order in each work is shrouded beyond most comprehension by beautiful chaos. Things are better off that way. And Hardgrave’s work is so textured and effortlessly intricate that all you want to do is swallow each painting whole. Who cares what a single brushstroke might mean? There’s too much going on not to take it all in at once. When you do get the chance to examine detail though, Hardgrave’s insane skill level is undeniable.
Chewbacca is a Wookiee. Bipedal and furry, a “big walking carpets,” Star Wars Wookiees run and fight and shoot. In Mako Miyamoto’s photo series, found on his website Neon Werewolf, Wookiees do much more: yoga on the lawn, roller skate in knee socks and satin jacket, swim underwater, water the lawn. In fact, Miyamoto’s Wookiees could be your next-door neighbor…in a furry mask.
“Masks have always intrigued me; being born near Halloween may have had something to do with it. I’ve always been fascinated by how they hide the person behind them while at the same time bring forth pieces of [their selves] that at first glance were shadowed by their expressions.” (Source)
This whimsical series alternates between mash-ups of TV Shows and movies (Star Wars and The Heist; Star Wars and Game of Thrones) and everyday scenes with a twist (salad bar and Wookiee, ping pong and Wookiees, wedding day and Wookiees). Funny and slightly alarming, the masks’ staring eyes, fixed grimaces, and cascades of fur make the scenes bizarre mimicries of life. Each image is individually titled, and they include “Kiss My Ace II”, “Stop Blocking my Fist with your Face”, and “Corndog Airplane.” The series is ongoing—idea after idea, Wookiee after Wookiee. Miyamoto says:
“I get my inspiration from all over; thrift stores, books, movies, open spaces, the coast, clouds, Stanley Kubrick, Portland, John Carpenter, the golden hour, the way that reflections create an unreachable reality, things that are orange, and the ocean. But not necessarily in that order.” (Source) (Via Feature Shoot)
I’m really shocked by how life-like (and well-dressed!) these plaster figures are– what a great art and fashion combo. He also balanced a taxidermied elephant on her trunk, proving something that seems outside the realm of possibility by what we think we know about gravity.
The site specific installations Reconnected 1 and Reconnected 2 by artist Philippe Handford can be found on England’s Pendle Sculpture Trail. The pieces are a sort of memorial to the area’s gruesome past. In 1612 Pendle Hill was the site of a witch trail that ended with the execution of ten people. Handford began his work with illegally felled tree. He reconnects the trunk each tree to the stump supported by metal hardware. The trees, though fallen, don’t seem entirely dead or gone. They strangely bend to the toward the earth as if resting.
Aleksey Kondratyev‘s series Fabricated Adventures is all about adult escapism–making what we want from what we have. Whether you take it as a cynical critique of materialist make-believe, an homage to the capacities of human industry and imagination, portraits of American vacation culture, or none of the above, they’re an interesting series. Here’s what he has to say about them:
“The photographs in this series are of locations which emulate a natural environment for the purpose of recreation. As humans live in their present environments, their experience is determined and limited by their time in history, climate, and physical location.The recreational spaces in this body of work provide a temporary escape from these limitations and from the reality of one’s present physical and geological surroundings.” – Aleksey Kondratyev
Michael Anderson has been busy, since the studio visit Beautiful/Decay did with him in August he’s prepared two major solo shows. Anderson makes large-scale collages from street posters, sometimes measuring 12 feet across. Anderson’s newest show promises to a be visually mesmerizing cultural stew of optimistic, reverse advertising, aka subvertising. I talked with him about “She’s Okay,” the above collage, and he compared the golden lattice structure to the complexity of the girl’s thoughts and experiences. The exhibition, Equal Opportunity Destroyer, is opening April 8th in Copenhagen Denmark at Gallery Poulsen.
Brooklyn artist John Breiner never seems to pin himself down to one medium. Whether he’s using watercolor or ink, he always brings a lot of humanity to the table without sacrificing any aesthetic value. Breiner creates work that is really full- both in composition and technique. He’s also pretty heavily involved with music as well. Seems like he’s got too much going on creatively to really be pinned down in any one place. Definitely not something for us to complain about.