The Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Daniel Turner just finished a group show at Photo Epicenter in San Francisco.Turner uses a number of nonconventional materials, including camphophenique, tar, vinyl, umbrellas, and life jackets and in so doingquestions fundamental ideas of beauty and utility.
Joshua Petker has taken a leap of faith so brave that most artists would rather cower at their easels for an infinitum than ever attempt. Yet, he has not only landed successfully, but also staked his claim on an entirely new ground of possibilities, which proves that one can always reinvent themselves whilst still staying true to their initial spirit. After roughly 4 years of painting the exquisite portraits of women he has come to be known for, he has almost entirely exchanged it all for a deeper, richer, and much more personally satisfying subject matter. So, when you walk through the gallery doors at LeBasse Projects in Culver City, you’re not greeted by a woman, but rather a shipwreck. A metaphor that ignites your imagination into so many realms that it’s impossible to choose simply one, since your eye will follow the ship as it circles round a blackened sphere with a rim of color — entrancing you into a deep meditation. However, the most awesome and powerful piece to me was that of a monster storming out from behind an apple tree. It’s face, drafted in an impressionistic rendering of fat colored lines bursting from a beige canvass. Joshua Petker has done what many would consider to be the impossible, so bravo Joshua, bravo!
Masaya Kushino‘s high heel designs are chimerical, fusing organic textures and materials with the manmade. He utilizes luxurious fur and lush jungle moss alongside meticulously stitched leather, creating works of art that are quirky and beautifully imaginative.
It’s fitting that the form he chooses to play with is the high heel: the height of artifice; impractical; undeniably evocative. It’s a choice that is brimming with meaning and possible interpretations. They’re an everyday item but commonly elevated by haute couture into something fantastical. To some people, they represent an unobtainable ideal, one that is rife with sociopolitical meaning and controversy. Whether you approve of the existence of stilettos or not, they’re admittedly architectural, intriguing in their contours and elegant curves.
Kushino emphasizes a number of these qualities, borrowing the jeweled swoop of a peacock’s tail feather and a bouquet of flowers to highlight the theatricality. In his latest work, called “Bird-Witched,” he incorporates an element of the grotesque: Three shoes that seem each an embryonic stage in the development of a chicken. The heel of the shoe is a gnarled claw, sharp-toed and grisly.
Saya Woolfalk draws from dreams and desires, imagining fantasy lands, such as in her recent 3D work, “No Place.” She worked with an anthropologist to create her utopia, “No Place,” to explore the nature of humans and their capabilities for the future.
Othelo Gervacio’s Horror/Skate/Metal ink wash work is where it’s at. Gervacio’s technique renders skeletons, reapers, and ghosts just softly enough to mix up the whole graphics game. With a nice mix of controlled bleeding and tight line work, this is a prime example of how this stuff should be done. Where Neckface might parody, Gervacio comes in and celebrates, proving that imitation is not always a form of surrendered creativity.
The photographer Sarah Anne Johnson snaps shots of the most intimate kind, asking friends and acquaintances to sit for her while engaging in sexual activity: intercourse, foreplay, kissing, masturbation. Later, the artist enters into a new kind of dialogue with the erotic photos, covering her portraits in glitter and gold plate or scratching away their emulsion in strategic places.
The form of Johnson’s series, titled Wanderlust, brilliantly echoes its content. In penetrating the materiality of the photographic medium by altering its surface, Johnson makes as much of a statement about artistic or creative lust than she does about human sexuality. The gently cracked, ashy layer of a burnt chromogenic print mirrors a lover’s tender caress; similarly, a halo of scratches parallels a couple’s orgiastic pleasure.
Despite Johnson’s unconventional process—perhaps even because of it—Wanderlust seems a powerfully honest rendering of sexual intimacy. At times, human closeness becomes cosmically infinite, a moment of love solidified in gold plate or starry glitter. But many of the photographs complicate the notion of what it means to be truly vulnerable; often, her collage work obscures and flattens one lover, leaving his or her partner alone, isolated in the frame and utterly naked.
Johnson’s work relies on this tension between connection and isolation, a theme which serves to imbue the series with a palpable sense of sexual tension; for instance, two bodies are deconstructed in Puzzle Pieces, formatted to appear unified under one complex and paradoxically disjointed aesthetic. Simultaneously penetrating the viewer and and leaving us to gasp for air, the body of work is a must-see. It is currently on view at Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery. (via Art in America and Feature Shoot)