In the current state of Reality TV and backstage blogs, we as a world have lost our sense of wonder. And it’s because of one brave artist, Jon Bernad, that we will get it back. He was part of the Venice Art Walk AUCTION, not just as himself, but as an offer for an experiential possibility that attendees could bid on for a good cause, since the money would go directly to The Venice Family Clinic. What that means was that he fearlessly walked up to strangers with a bid sheet around his neck, as opposed to on a table or wall like the other artworks in the auction, and pitched to each new person a different adventure he felt they would want to go on. Everything from skydiving to dinner came up and during his time there he was offered to join unfamiliar faces on white water rafting trips and treks in the Amazonian Rain Forest. I like to say that Jon takes people on Art Adventures, but it’s really so much more than that. He is the only artist that embodies the ultimate truth. For he is only but himself, but his self is great.
I recently ran into Dan Sabau‘s haunting and ethereal abstract-figurative watercolors at YES Gallery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I was immediately drawn to the dashing bright colors and the flow of lines that maintained a definitive form despite allusive strokes of paint. Faces and figures are distraught and aloof, some hidden and others morphed into voluptuous loops. There’s a confounding element of ghastly transparency and confrontational forwardness that makes them disturbing and addictive.
Designer Felipe Caprestano has recently launched himself into a project he titles “Face Couture”, an experimental project in which he designs, patterns, and sews clothing… for your face! His blog chronicles his creative process, successes, and failures, and there you can watch his ideas grow form concepts into fully functional masks, (if masks can really be said to be functional). Check out this video that summarizes Caprestano’s works!
Sammy Slabbinck’s surreal collages disassemble the world and construct a surreal place of strange happenings. Taking portions of found imagery, the artist builds compositions in which women are out of proportion and larger than life. They are integrated into the landscape and dominate the scene, while others in the frame barely seem to notice these beauties. There are other bizarre events happening in Slabbinck’s artwork, such as men carrying sections of the galaxy, buildings sprouting out sexy legs, and people at a dinner party watch a bomb go off while appearing unaffected. It almost seems like that the only people that seem aware of their surroundings are the giant women. These are the characters that confront us as viewers, looking right back at us.
Drawing inspiration from vintage books and magazines, Sammy Slabbinck’s collages have a classic feel to them with a modern twist. The composition he creates tends to be both humorous and seductive, as different elements that were once normal now become bizarre through distorted scale and strange juxtapositions. Everything should seem out of place, but Slabbinck’s perfect placement and imagery combinations make everything appear perfectly balanced. You can see more of Sammy Slabbinck’s work on his site or at Saatchi Art.
Mark Alsweiler, an emerging artist in Sydney, just finished one of his exhibitions over at Nine Lives Gallery in Brisbane. He gains inspiration from his personal interests (immediately you can notice the influence of American Indian, Western, and Mexican imagery) to create a symbolic body of work. I am really enjoying his skull paintings and his love of pattern making.
Kirra Jamison has a new site and a new series. This Australian artist creates works in series that are visually striking and unexpected. Her series of gouache drawings on paper are reminiscent of intricate Chinese paper cuts to a monumental scale. She is an artist to watch, continually moving forward and diversifying her body of work through new mediums and new series, each even more intriguing than the last. Her past works explore themes of mystical narrative, isolated places, and decorative patterns.
Through Cleon Peterson’s paintings, we encounter a world riddled with anxiety, corruption and savage ferocity, where deviance and violence equal the usual state of affairs. Peterson describes his bedlam as “a gray world where law breakers and law enforcers are one in the same; a world where ethics have been abandoned in favor of personal entitlement.”
Peterson depicts life as war between displaced individuals in a dystopian world. Acts of brutality, abuse and perversion serve as rituals of power, revealing narcissistic indulgences in violence, sex, religion and drugs. In exploring the tension between the individual consciousness and unconscious psyche, Peterson’s paintings bring to light the resulting possibilities when varying moral schemes are personified. When faced with the dilemma of fight or flight, it’s fight. We observe an ongoing struggle in the thick of a contemporary world, where the instinctual desire to survive through primitive actions takes reign.
See the above works and more currently on view in San Francisco at Guerrero Gallery. On view until April 7th, 2012
Phil Hale, a London based illustrator, knows what to do. His illustrations are incredibly rich with disjointed movement, explosive energy, and raw masculinity that which all combines into an overwhelming visit to drama itself.