One of the most highly acclaimed contemporary artists from the Philippines, Ronald Ventura has garnered enormous international attention in recent years. He is noted for paintings featuring complex layering, combining images and styles raging from hyper realism to cartoons and graffiti — as well as for a significant body of sculptural work.
Ventura takes the layering process in his work as a metaphor for the multifaceted national identity of the Philippines. Over the centuries, the profound influences of various occupying powers – Spain, Japan, and the United States – along with the underlying indigenous culture, have produced a complex and at times uneasy sense of identity. Ventura explores this historical and psychic phenomenon through a dialogue of images evoking East and West, high and low, old and young – seen, for example, in allusions to Old Master paintings or Japanese and American cartoons. He draws our attention to the “second skin” of cultural signifiers that each person carries with him, however unwittingly. Ventura views skin as an expressive surface – written on with tattoos, concealed under layers of imagery, or exploding outwards to reveal an inner world of fantasy and conflict.
Berlin based illustrator, Melissa Murillo , better known as “Meyoko” her work reflects the darker side of Art Nouveau. Executed in free hand, with a fountain pen Black China ink and more recently Gold, the artworks by Meyoko are like open doorways to a microcosmic wilderness populated by divine entities and mythical creatures. Forests made of luxuriant hair are inhabited by tattooed flowers and plants ;by ravens and hummingbirds with strange silky bodies in place of feathers. An organic apotheosis executed with extreme minutia and with an endless creative sensibility.
Scott Lickstein’s surrealist pop culture infused paintings are ethereal and witty. He combines seemingly disparate imagery into one canvas evoking both a sardonic and dreamy aesthetic. The layers of reference are reminiscent of collage work, something he also dabbles in, in addition to photography and video. Lickstein: “Robert Motherwell declared collage as the most important discovery of the twentieth century. He wasn’t referring to the idea of cut and paste. He was pondering the exploration of infinite potential. Contemporary life is ocular bombardment. Content is overlapped beyond the veil of the conscious mind. Control and manipulation of this data is the game for now and for the foreseeable future for this artist.”
There is never a dull moment in Jeremy Bailey’s performances – I’d like go ahead the deliveries of his stand-up/software demos/karaoke sessions as the funnier “artistic” Steve Jobs. In “The Future of Theatre” debuting tonight, he plays “this hopeless and foolish slave trying desperately to conjure his machine to do increasingly absurd tasks of questionable use. Computers are the new chauvinist modernists.”
Usually I don’t get too excited about shows on PBS but I have to say that Art:21 is by far the best thing i’ve ever watched on public television. If you’re not familiar with the show, Art: 21 is the only prime time show dedicated exclusively to contemporary artists. Each season follows 14 of the biggest names in the art world as they walk you through their conceptual process, studio practice and share rare behind the scenes footage of work in progress. Some of my favorite episodes from previous seasons include the legendary interview with Barry Mcgee and his wife Margaret Kilgallen and LA painter Lari Pittman. This is a must see show for anyone interested in the international contemporary art world.
Illustrator & art director Julia Kostreva is a lady with many talents—whether it’s working on membership kits for creative co-lo hotspot Makeshift Society, web design for brands like Kodenko Jeans or creating intriguing artwork for The Dirty Projectors. After studying graphic design and printmaking at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Kostreva made the trek out to San Francisco, where she has rooted herself in a multi-faceted creative career. Kostreva has gone on to develop a series of simple, visually striking letterpress prints, notebooks, calendars and cards—in addition to textile patterns.