A message from The Savants Collective: There are images found in the human unconscious that mean similar things to all of us. By understanding these images, it is possible to analyze our dreams and to learn from them. Our life experiences influence our interpretation of these images and as a result each person’s dream is unique to them and can only be truly understood by them.
LA-based photographer Jeff Burton shoots mostly gay porn. Okay, that’s a bit of a misnomer. He shoots photographs on the sets of gay porn films, though the resulting work is far from pornography. Burton seems more concerned with displaying the nude human body in a traditionally artistic, non-erotic way, rather than using it to titillate. The intersection between art and porn is an interesting space.
While combining realism and expressionism, Mao Yanyang new works surprises the observer with very audacious paintings. Using daily broadcasted images he appeals to the spectator’s collective and individual memory shaped true years of media confrontation.
But there’s a very big difference between those known images and Mao Yanyang’s Works. The audacity of the artist’s ideas is expressed true the constant presence of several microphones in every single one of his paintings. This presence might seem kind of irrelevant and surreal, certainly when the artist is depicting war scenes, but they symbolize in fact the transformation of our world into an image consuming universe.
Something strange is happening in the food chain in Josh Keyes’ new paintings. He renders powerful animals dominating the land; living among other species that they would otherwise never see in current times. A polar bear and a deer swim with the sharks in this artist’s surreal world where creatures run wild. His previous body of work featured the same majestic beasts, but in a sort of diorama display that has you feeling like you are a bystander looking in. Keyes’ new paintings immerse you right into the scene, creating a whole new atmosphere. The environments created are surreal, yet they seem familiar due to the common iconography included in the compositions. Although there are no humans present in any of Keyes’ paintings, we do see remnants of human life. Abandoned traces of civilization remain in the artist’s dystopian world. Street signs exist, but the roads are no longer there, now covered in plant life. Broken down, rusty cars are now trampled by wild fauna and vacant building’s are now part of their playground.
Josh Keyes’ work leaves us asking, what has happened to this world? More importantly, it asks, is this world better or worse than our own? There is a strong sense of environmental politics in the paintings, as the images could possibly be a warning sign for our not so distant future. The natural environment has been changing for some time at the hand of humans. Could this bizarre world be where this path is leading us? Living in Portland, Oregon, Josh Keyes feels a strong affinity with nature and the beautiful, natural environment around him. His incredibly realistic paintings are intriguing as they pull you into both their surreal beauty and their environmental urgency.
Seoul native Eunjeong Yoo is an illustrator who now lives and works in New York City. In addition to Eunjeong’s strong conceptual approach, the quality I admire most in her work is her use of color; its placement has a haphazard feel and her palette choices both emphasize the narratives and instill a sense of in-the-moment movement.
Gabriel Moreno does beautiful work with such basic materials: a pen and a brush. His illustrations begin in black and white, upon which Moreno builds, adding layers of color and images of other places and people tattooed into their skin. Flowers, birds, and faces organically expand from his subjects, as if a rush of creativity, or a dream, is escaping them.
Peter Bowen, a London based illustrator, creates detailed works that carry a whole lot of raw energy and humor. A wide range of influences put a hand into his work, as he derives inspiration from lowbrow counter-culture to dense Victorian engravings.
When I walked into KAI’s solo show at Guetta Gallery I was taken back by the magnificent frames surrounding his pieces. Not to distract away from his paintings, but it’s just rare to see frames like the ones in his show on contemporary works. However, it was also fitting that they were around them at the same time, since the aesthetic of his exhibit “Now Royalty” is a mash-up of rappers and classical portraiture.
KAI has demonstrated a mastery of technique throughout all of his paintings. Whether it was Will Smith and his wife or of Biggie Smalls in the most elaborate of fashions, they all retained the subject’s signatures. It’s especially incredible to see, considering that KAI is better known as a street artist in the Los Angeles area – whose MORONS parodies of Marlborough ads and stop sign stickers literally cover all of Hollywood.