Robert Jackson is a contemporary still life painter. But don’t let the genre often associated with morbid colors, candles, skulls and wine bottles leave the wrong impression. This painter’s canvases are littered with bright colors, clean compositions and a healthy amount of humor. Jackson’s comical paintings feature assemblies of cakes, water balloons, candies, apple boxes, toy dinosaurs, cactus plants, and balloon dogs.
Jackson actually assembles his scenes in his studio, and is then able to accurately capture the playfulness of the mood – creating something that looks like it came from the Toy Story movies. He paints moments where we sneak a look in on the action figures setting up traps for each other, or skateboarding around the room, crashing into the other toys.
Eager to create moments full of narrative, Jackson develops a simple idea that will either pique your interest, or at the very least being a smile to your face. His balloon dogs go fishing for lobsters; the panda bear toys set up daring tight rope adventures for each other; the dinosaurs all fight over a slice of chocolate cake; and apples mischievously balance water balloons on their head, waiting for the impending disaster.
Jackson uses his whimsical, absurd and post-pop paintings as a tool for people to expand their imagination. He says by using mundane objects as stand ins for people, he can talk about deeper subjects without being too confrontational.
It’s like Star Trek addresses racism, but the audience doesn’t realize that until after the show is over. I have a couple of apples fighting and it’s not until a couple minutes after looking, that the viewer realizes that ‘Oh! This is talking about war!’ (Source)
Chicago-based illustrator Deb Sokolow is a conspiracy theorist. Or at least that’s what her work seems to suggest. Creating long, linear, installation-based drawings which look similar to the kind of thing your typical movie serial killer has on his wall, Sokolow pays tribute to the great American tradition that is the modern conspiracy. Her work always has a strong narrative, usually featuring a nameless narrator uncovering some kind of sinister plot; plots which may involve anything from office life to the government (of course) to gangster movies to Barbara Walters.
Martin Eder is a German artist based in Berlin, whose nightmarish and perverse paintings abound with contradicting romantic cliches and infantile desires; his work displays lolitas in pornographic poses that are montaged with skycaps, warm bedroom interiors, and saccharine, girly kitsch that includes oversized crying kittens, giant candy, songbirds, fluffy poodles, puffy clouds, and cuddly white bunnies. Eder works exclusively from photographic references, making full use of high contrast and flat shadows and edging subjects with cyan and magenta. His paintings look imperfect and rushed in places, as if he works on his paintings only until they seem convincingly realistic enough. This slightly unpolished quality facilitates the paintings’ exploitative, creepy aesthetic and especially affects his female subjects, making them feel nondescript; the consequences of this purposeful lack of care in turn references the faceless and aggregative nature of pornography.A recurrent aura of seediness and the slightly distorted proportions of Eder’s subjects are reminiscent of the work of German Expressionist Otto Dix, although the anonymity of Eder’s subjects is a theme not reflected in those of Dix.
As 2013 draws to a close, it becomes easier to see the trends in art, design and visual storytelling that attracted especially popular interest over the year. Among them were the use of superheroes, which only decades ago were confined to a mythology only ‘nerds’ spoke of. But with superheroes becoming ever-more popular and Geek culture no longer a source of shame, comic book and science fiction heroes have become instantly recognizable forms of pop symbolism for many. Beautiful/Decay featured the work of Andreas Englund’s aging superhero paintings, Alex Lukas’ referential superhero screenprints and Antonio Strafella’s comic heroes as saints, all who took these mythologies and blended them with updated styles, forms, perspectives and techniques.
Josh Lane (Ln) took the same cues with his perfectly titled Hero-Glyphics series, combining a variety of classic comic book (the X-men, Spiderman, the Avengers) and sci-fi (Star Trek) heroes, and re-imagining them in the style of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Ln expands on the classic heroes as well, also casting 90’s nostalgia (in the form of the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as well as newer comic and movie characters (Kick-Ass).
Fred Eerdekens’ work combines shadows and and typography to create experimental artworks that lie somewhere between installation and sculpture. Each piece relies on the perfectly lit gallery space to create the visual tricks and the process of the work is revealed as viewers walk around and interact with the work. Not restricted by one material Eerdekens uses everything from artificial cloud formations (pictured above) that spell out “neo deo” to food boxes (after the jump) that are arranged to cast the shadow “Come Home”.
We have featured the work of Brooklyn based Benjamin Edmiston in the past (here). His recent pieces project a heightened confidence in collage making. His work looks as if he utilizes absolutely everything he can find. Scraps and swatches of paper litter his wacky folk art worlds. The viewer is presented with a scene of meticulously constructed chaos. In dissecting the layers one finds zany circumstances presented with precision.
Tony Cragg is truly a master of materials. Moving effortlessly between plastic, wood, bronze, glass, and found materials Cragg as been creating groundbreaking formal sculptures since the early 70’s. Perhaps one of the most skilled sculptors of the last Century Cragg is an artist whose work keeps pushing the boundaries even at the age of 63.