Check out the smoky, goth-tinged new video by Los Angeles’ own Cold Showers that premiered earlier this week on Noisey. “BC” directed by Brian Davila is “an homage to films such as The Hunger, Society, and Night Of The Comet”. Their debut LP Love and Regret is out now on Dais Records and they’ll be heading out on the road with Veronica Falls starting in March of next year. You can also catch them in Los Angeles with Black Marble at the Echo for Part Time Punks on Feb. 24th, 2013.
Jeff Soto recently opened his newest exhibition, “Turning in Circles” at the Riverside art museum last weekend. Many of Soto’s works include references to the natural world and organic phenomena, whether in his titles such as “Cold Ice Age,” “Butterfly Swarm,” “Wild Growth,” or within visual iconography, ranging from plant-like root tendrils curling around the frames. Yet within these seemingly pastoral suggestions, Soto overlays a grid of human technology, destruction, violence. Highly influenced by graffiti, illustration, murals, comic book art and other forms of non-traditional visual expressions, Soto creates a fanciful hyper-colored world that playfully examines the age old battle between man, machine and nature, played out through technicolor characters and settings.
One of the most highly acclaimed contemporary artists from the Philippines, Ronald Ventura has garnered enormous international attention in recent years. He is noted for paintings featuring complex layering, combining images and styles raging from hyper realism to cartoons and graffiti — as well as for a significant body of sculptural work.
Ventura takes the layering process in his work as a metaphor for the multifaceted national identity of the Philippines. Over the centuries, the profound influences of various occupying powers – Spain, Japan, and the United States – along with the underlying indigenous culture, have produced a complex and at times uneasy sense of identity. Ventura explores this historical and psychic phenomenon through a dialogue of images evoking East and West, high and low, old and young – seen, for example, in allusions to Old Master paintings or Japanese and American cartoons. He draws our attention to the “second skin” of cultural signifiers that each person carries with him, however unwittingly. Ventura views skin as an expressive surface – written on with tattoos, concealed under layers of imagery, or exploding outwards to reveal an inner world of fantasy and conflict.
Peter Pincus is a New York-based ceramic artist whose relatively simple forms are punctuated by blocks of color. The clean and modern pots, urns, and cups are mostly gray with accents of blue, yellow, salmon, and more that are laid side by side in thin strips. Occasionally, gold lines the edges.
The forms are very structured, as are their designs. Colors are evenly portioned and thin lines, contrasting-colored divide gray sections of the ceramics. If we were to remove the surface designs from the clay, they could stand alone as abstract paintings. And, that’s partially the point of Pincus’ work. He writes in an artist statement:
I produce three-dimensional paintings out of pots. The studio challenge is to determine a way to create containers that belong not only on the dinner table, but also elsewhere in the home. Many of my pots are status symbols saved for special occasions, generally deemed distinct because of the value of what they hold rather than for what they are. But to me, in between such occasions, they become canvases that visually illustrate the defining spirit of the times, despite their being utilitarian and made of clay, not canvas. They still need to do their job; to be genuine, they must be functional as well as opulent. But they can be so much more.
Multimedia artist Alex Kiessling works with different ideas of how the future can be. He combines the ideas of fine art and high technology. He has used robots as painting assistants and exhibited it through a live stream to a worldwide internet-based audience. This series of paintings give the impression that they were made with digital help. Their colorful layers are overlapped just like a screen print gone wrong, but of course this is intentional. But despite appearances, Kiessling has achieved this striking effect by painting acrylic on canvas – by hand.
The series, titled Shift, ties in with his larger ideas of augmented reality, simulation, hybrids, and the existence between reality and dream. He explains a bit more:
In the static scenes of my paintings, the protagonists remain mostly resident between the glaring colorfulness of virtual realities and darkness, which is inherent in most of our dream sequences and memories. Both of these worlds are paramount due to their systematic character, which is connected to the simulative, and are projection surfaces of the human psyche. (Source)
His paintings have the affect of dreaming – you feel like what you are seeing isn’t really right, and maybe you should look a little harder. He has a beautiful way of describing his work:
In my work I concentrate on dreams and all kinds of dreamlike structures and explore its borders and bridges to reality. I try to visualize the “no men`s land” between the absurdity in our existence and the concrete concerns that come with our human mind or spirit. I am fascinated by the interacting vibrations between virtual reality, dreams and the basic common ground of our world`s so called reality. (Source)
Kiessling is interested in fragmented identities, and the fact that most of us now-a-days live our lives out in many different spheres or realities – in the physical as well as the digital. His painting series Shift is just another visual exploration of the theme that is becoming more and more relevant to this generation. (Via SuperSonic Art)
I first met Juka Araikawa during my stint at UCLA as a teachers assistant for a drawing class. She was a quiet girl who had moved across the world to LA to study art. Even though she didn’t say much her work always stood out as some of my favorite in the class.