Jeremy Willis had me over to his Brooklyn studio and we hung out and talked about his paintings. Willis describes the paintings anthropomorphically – as wanting to be doing something human, like giving birth, hugging you or selling you illicit substances. The majority of the paintings are big and surround you with saturated colors and chaotic space. They do feel like they have an overwhelming emotional content, and the paintings reflect the messy nature of life. Look for more from Jeremy soon.
Michael Mallis, former candidate for Pittsburgh mayoratorial race, is now a devout scientologist. He makes sloppy drawings, comics, videos and animations that rely on toilet humor. His work has been screened on every continent except Australia. You’ll weep, you’ll laugh, and you’ll knit your eyebrows in ecstatic confusion. His video Natural Selection, in particular, sort of reminds me of Fantastic Planet…and that story I read as a child about some big man lost in in the sea who woke up being strapped down by midgets.
Although references to animation and manga can be found in the large sculptures of Japanese artist Keisuke Tanaka, the artist’s main themes revolve around life and death, as he considers one of his main motifs, mountains, to be a magical place where life begins and ultimately ends. Each hand carved sculpture is built out of solid wood with so many miniature details so that we may get a sense of the view that the gods might have of the imaginative world of Tanaka.
Here’s another parent and child collaboration (recall yesterday’s post). However, this one does not deal with the heart-warming ways of an autistic boy, rather it involves a sleeping baby, teddy bears, and tons of imagination… Queenie Liao, mother and photographer, creates Wengenn in Wonderland, a compilation of photographs that depicts a mother’s exploration of what her baby’s dreamland could possibly be like. Liao photographs her son, Wengenn, in his sleep- her sleeping son, however, is not the main focus point here. With a little creativity, some clothes, sheets and teddy bears, Queenie crafts a myriad of endearing scenarios in which her sleeping son participates in. Is little Wengenn dreaming what his mom thinks he is dreaming? Although we can never truly know what babies dream about, this little gem of a collection projects what we wish it to be: flowers and butterflies, colored trains, towers of books, bunnies and castles, and trips to the moon. Let the whimsy of this collection take over you; it feels good. After all you might just go to sleep tonight hoping to dream just like little Wengenn does in these photographs! (via My Modern Met)
Kris Knight’s portraits are presented in such a settled and graceful manner, yet underneath the surface of the subjects in question, he is able to portray various feelings of awe and mystery. Who are these characters who candidly stare back at the viewer? Such hidden emotions are portrayed through a muted color palette and calculated brushstrokes, giving the viewer plenty to look at, yet with a feeling of wanting to know more.
Amanda Manitach’s drawings of skinny girls in t-shirts plays with gender roles and feminism in a thought-provoking way. The sparse style of these ink drawings, sometimes painted over with watercolor, offers an intriguing aesthetic.
Fair haired women standing, sitting, or walking their pet unicorns with nonchalance and a hint of lethargy. Their faces wear little more than ennui, but their black t-shirts, adorned with sardonic statements, pack a punch. There is one thing they all have in common: PENIS. Ranging from wanting penis to not wanting penis, having a penis, the problems with penis, and boner jokes, she has it all covered with wry humor. Seattle-based artist Amanda Manitach is well known for these figures, which almost remind you of Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls, on a heavy dose of xanax. Some of the girls have male genitals, which in combination with the t-shirt sayings, seems to imply a sort of hermaphroditic independence, or is it just a wet dream?
Either way, these women sure don’t seem to give a damn about having a man.
Emerald Rose Whipple captures innocent moments and transforms them into large-scale oil paintings. The result is a modern dream-like landscape reminiscent of Monet’s Impressionism. The subjects are the artist’s friends and models she knows from her former career in fashion. The loose strokes applied to the color scheme chosen by the artist create a tie and dye effect around the portraits, creating an eerie atmosphere.
Looking like photographies, the pixel paintings combine the aesthetic of classical 19th century paintings with modern snapshots taken by an smartphone. The purpose of Emerald Rose Whipple is to stay away from any medium that’s disposable. To perceive and project the essence of each individual on a canvas is an intense process requiring the artist to meditate before a painting session. She doesn’t want to inject any negativity into her work as it would translate immediately.
She is inviting the viewer into a world of reverie and to let go of any misconception. Obsessed with the painter Balthus and especially with the painting Thérèse Dreamingrepresenting a young lady sitting in a nonchalant pose, she is fascinated by the original non sexual intention of the painter. She is suggesting that the viewers, when looking at her artwork, disconnect from their reality to dive into the reality of her paintings; reflecting from far and coming up with their own interpretation and visualizing natural beauty.
The art of Christopher David White seems like it could be found decaying in the forest at the end of your street. However, the gnarled wood, patina copper, rusting metal is all meticulously worked ceramic. White’s work is at once quietly peaceful and playful dealing out a subtle surrealism. He offers curious find on objects that would normally be passed over. Regarding his ultra-realistic style and themes of deterioration, White explains:
“Through the use of trompe l’oeil, we look closer; we rediscover the amazement, joy, and tranquility that come from our environment…Neither good nor bad, decay is simply a natural process of our world that at times can produce deeply moving and beautiful effects.”