Kate Smith, based out of Melbourne Australia, was raised on a farm and makes work where everything feels precariously balanced, built on her experience with struggling on her parents’ farm. Art tries to grow like plants, which makes the work feel alive – or – depending on your perspective, emphasizes its deadness. There’s a dystopian element to Smith’s project, but there’s also a smeared, warm-hearted vulnerability. Kate’s got a way with words too – her compact, slippery, and foreign use of the English language reminds me of the ultra-violent punks, the “droogs,” in Clockwork Orange – read her artist statement after the jump.
Today I was reminded of one of the coolest sculptures I’ve ever seen, Matt Johnson’sThe Pianist (after Robert J. Lang). I saw this piece at the Hammer Museum a couple of months ago and was completely floored. Have you ever seen something you thought was truly amazing and your face starts to get all big and bug-eyed, and you feel tingles running down your back, and you start saying things like ‘whoa, dude, oh man!’ Well that was me at the Hammer that day, and maybe I looked like a fool, but it was totally worth it. Johnson’s work is full of warmhearted humor, and when an artist is able to rekindle that sense of childhood wonderment in your imagination, you just have to stop and savor the moment.
It takes some serious skills to make photorealistic watercolors, but that’s exactly what Christopher St. Leger has going on in his work. He’s rendered a series of skateboarders kick-flipping and cruising which are particularly fluid, along with a range of impressive cityscapes. Like a looser, more colorful Richard Estes, St. Leger will trick you into thinking your looking at the real thing.
Brent Harada and Rusty Jordan have a bi-coastal collaboration going where they make zines by alternating panels. Their pages are a cartoon documentary of a gnarly, drug induced mystic state where everything veers unpredictably from panel to panel, and there is isn’t a story – it’s more of an experience. I like the 60′s underground comix meets Monty Python’s Flying Circus animation vibe, and feel that these two put their own stamp on it.
Jeff Sonhouse creates the most tripped out jester-saint psychedelic pimps who are all standing on the verge of getting it on. Fly tinted shades, canary top hats, tight pin stripes, righteous afros, bow ties, fox pelt stoles…you get the idea!
Swedish artist Leif Holmstrand’s oeuvre is filled with crocheted and knitted sculptures, terrifying performances, washing line installations and dangling babies. He also writes excellent poetry- an artist and writer who puts Malmo on the Sweden Maps and in the very near future on the world map!