We’ve been posting alot of amazing illustrators from the UK, and Jon Owen is yet another within this category. You can difinitely detect a common stylistic thread from piece to piece, yet, Jon also has a strength for mixing things up and keeping his work fresh. I’m personally fond of his limited color splashes & muted palette, which only increases my curiosity to explore the details of these narratives.
Markus Oehlen’s saturated paintings go back and forth between figuration and abstraction to show us a view into an apocalyptic,black light lit, radioactive future.
You know those silica gel packets? The kind you find in a new pair of shoes or in a coat pocket? As a kid, Amy Santoferraro used to collect them as if they were something precious. She would organize and catalog them, which was a sign of things to come. Today, collecting is the heart of Santoferraro’s sculptural work.
Some interests never die; they just find new ways to reinvent themselves in our lives. Just as Santoferraro coveted tiny packets of poison as a child, as an adult she’s amassed objects that would usually be discarded. She has built a body of work around something that’s her natural inclination. From her artist statement:
Like every toddler, I play with what I am given. Fascinated by numbers, colors, objects, and shiny things, I rowdily rummage through thrift stores and flea markets like toy boxes tearing through objects whose usefulness has been exhausted and awaits deliverance to a new imagined life.
Santoferraro’s series, BaskeTREE, uses cheap, everyday items and transforms them into small landscapes and scenes. She hand picks objects that resonate with her, either because of nostalgia, beauty, or usefulness. She tinkers with them until the sculpture feels right. The result is a transformation and change of context. Because these cheap items went from being discarded (one man’s trash is truly another’s treasure here), and placed in the realm of art object, their perceived value is much greater. These assemblages now exist on a higher level of craft and concept than just a plastic flower, basket, and fly swatter has individually.
Santoferraro describes her work as “silly connections that develop from my making and thought processes.” That’s part of the appeal; they might remind us of childhood. Even if they don’t, the parts of the sculpture reveal a lot about socioeconomic status, and about how and where we grew up. The sum of each sculpture is not only a playful scene, but a snapshot of a society.
Victor Rodriguez‘s acrylic paintings defy the simplistic categorization of the hyperrealistic or photorealistic. His work includes surrealistic, abstract, and cinematic elements, giving a fresh feel to the realist aesthetic. Portraiture is often his style, though he alternates between representations of still-life objects and human figures. Using realistic imagery within a dream-like context, Rodriguez’s work offers viewers a peek into a finely-detailed, deeply personal narrative.
Louise Despont explores drawing as abstract meditations, balancing and integrating symbols and forms to link her art to the inscription of narratives and to mystical or literary concerns. Employing and recasting a vocabulary of elements and constructions found within a set of architectural stencils and compasses, the artist renders her drawings on the pages of antique ledger books.
Despont has borrowed the geometries of Indian labyrinths, gardens, architecture, vessels and ancient Buddhist and Jain caves to offer balanced forms – particularly masculine and feminine principles—that engage past and present as indicators and provocations. While leaning towards strong poetic and lyrical translations, these drawings unlock a spatial perceptual field to reveal the formal qualities of surface, texture, scale and form.
While reinvesting introspection and the metaphysical into tropes of abstraction, Despont’s drawings are notable for their levels of sincerity, intricacy and refinement. Even in her larger works, the artist evokes an intimate experience with fine lines and subtle hatch marks revealing themselves only when viewed up close. The resulting works, charged with alternative legacies of cultural and personal, confront the binaries of abstraction and figuration through their encoded compositions.
Jonathan Payne’s sculptures of remixed human body parts are utterly disgusting. Warty skin and overgrown toenails, a tooth-penis-nipple hybrid, and a tongue with teeth in place of taste buds are some of the highlights of his shudder-worthy pieces. The sculptures evoke a very physical reaction in the viewer. They are extremely life-like, and so it’s easy to project your own senses into the toes and teeth, to imagine what it would feel like to have those body parts connected together. They’re anxiety inducing, but you can’t look away, they’re so horrifyingly real. If you’re wondering what they’re made of to look so realistic, Payne uses super sculpey, polymer clay, acrylic, and human hair.
Payne calls the sculptures Fleshlettes, and in his description says that he’s interested in “bizarre and fantastical surrealist characters”. Surrealism was concerned very much with the psyche, and I think Payne’s work does a good job of withdrawing and exploring some deep set insecurities with ugliness and deformation in his strange body part sculptures.
In an article on the blog Street Anatomy, it’s listed that each sculpture has a kind of name and character. The toothed tongue, for instance, is Tonya, and she’s the mother of all Fleshlettes. The eyeball is named Eileen “for obvious reasons”. This sense of humour is refreshing and also seems to suit the strange though ultimately nonthreatening characters.
Dear “Psychedelic” Artists: It takes more than neon paint and a strategically placed black light to blow one’s mind. Just ask Larry Carlson, visionary multi media artist! I would describe Carlson’s work as Magritte and Dali’s love child if such a child were conceived after the advent of Photoshop. Beautiful yet jarring, welcoming yet otherworldly, Carlson’s work is a true feast for the eye.