French artist Gregory Chiha’s gripping and curious works conjure dark, imaginative inquiry. Realistic backgrounds are populated by vague, distorted figures depicted with thick, abstract, primary-colored strokes of paint. Dense forests and calm interiors stand solid and immortal in stark contrast to the fleeting vision of denigrating souls that vaporize amidst forces unknown. At times they seem aware of their morphing physicality, holding up their hands as if to shield their faces; other times they stand with arms loose and at their sides, giving in and letting themselves be overtaken by this unstoppable force. Some subjects appear to be participating in everyday motions when the event occurs: lounging in the living room, playing in a room strewn with children’s toys, staring into a mirror; others are roaming through sylvan groves – perhaps they went outside to address an unnerving sound or vision? One figure sits at the kitchen table staring at a loaf of bread; the subject ignites, though the bread, indissoluble, withstands. Are these figures ghosts trapped in limbo? Are they in the midst of taking their own life, or victims of an unspeakable tragedy such as a modern day Pompeii? Could these paintings be the depiction of the exact moment of death? Whatever is the nature of their contents, Chiha’s paintings lead to an abyss of theories subjective. However, their immediate intuitive impact stands inarguably emotional and compelling, dark and disturbing.
Chiha is represented by The Lloyd Gill Gallery.
With funny fake titles that satirize the real thing, Harland Miller paints a colorful collection of paperbacks which function as a shrine for predictable literary personalities from Waugh to Hemingway . . . and he doesn’t stop there. He also gets personal, implicating his own self-titles into the mix, adding a whole other autobiographical subtext that is both playfully light and familiarly bold.
Michael Steele lives and works in Australia. He utilizes familiar elements from cartoons and films such as Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Masters Of The Universe, and Star Wars to create pop culture cluster paintings. Typography, characters, weapons, landmarks, and other recognizable objects are consolidated into one large iconographic mass. Deciphering what the objects are sourced from allows for a dissection and assimilation of pop culture while also commenting on the bombardment of entertainment and advertisement.
PUTPUT is a Swiss/Danish artist duo based in Copenhagen who explore the perceptual effects of putting everyday objects in surprising contexts. In an installation called “Fruitless” at Lust and the Apple Gallery in Temple, Scotland, they have created a “greenhouse” of faux plants. From a distance, the glass structure appears to be brimming with verdant life, but upon closer inspection, the pots are filled with “dead” objects, such as toys, grooming products, and other household goods. Arranged together in their pots, the objects take on a new meaning; suddenly their design supersedes their banal utility, allowing the viewer to appreciate and contemplate the various shapes and textures that otherwise go unnoticed.
In the above video, the artists ask a compelling question: can an object dream? And if it does, would it dream of being something entirely different? Empowered by their new “purposes,” the items take on an illusory life; two recorders, placed in dirt, seem to channel the energy of young bamboo, while elsewhere, bag clips appear to sprout with an eager vitality. The pseudo-consciousness of the objects arrives through a radical shift in our perception of them, but just like the barren materials that compose them, the faux plants’ dreams are “fruitless”: “We tried to fulfill that dream of an object to be something completely different—which it never will be,” the artists explain. Nevertheless, PUTPUT has arranged a fascinating exercise for transforming everyday objects into something more beautiful and profound.
Spanish artist Alica Martin’s dynamic installations of books flowing out of buildings is the perfect example of how a pile of mundane objects can be transformed into a powerful installation. Creating a wire and aluminum structure with thousands of books attached to the outside frame, Martin’s creates a waterfall of literature that spill into the streets as if a crazed librarian turned on the mother of all book faucets. Pages and book jackets flap in the wind mimicking the spontaneous and erupting movement of water materialized in solid form. (via mymodernmet)
Using up to 30,000 volts of electricity, artist Dries Ketels tries to capture a quality usually unseen in most portraits. His latest series, called Our Souls Captured in the Electromagnetic Field is an exploration of the human condition. He says by using a unique combination of different chemicals, painting materials and electricity, he is able to capture something more about his subjects. He wants to go deeper into their psyche, and to reveal something about people that is usually unseen. In the process he has come up with some pretty striking images.
He raises some pretty interesting questions while trying to reveal the working of our inner selves:
What is this soul or this character of an individual other than a bunch of electromagnetic interactions in the brain of that individual? What is the most important thing that a portrait should grasp? Are our actions, that define us as a human being, more than electromagnetic interactions? (Dries Ketels)
Ketels also makes the connection in his images between the patterns formed from the lightning and veins in the body, or synapses in the brain. He links the macro-world to the micro-world; the external universe to our internal one. The young artist is interested in new, exciting and innovative methods and ideas:
For a few of my series around realism I leave the traditional realism behind and present the reality of realism. One of the most important attitudes that helped me developing a relaity of realism and becoming what I am is the simple act of going left when everybody else is going right. It’s the only way to discover the new and push the boundaries forward. (Source)
To see more of his boundary pushing art, see here.