Walking the line between fine art and craft, Brent Owens has a characteristic style of woodworking that he incorporates with a somewhat irreverent sense of humor and applies to a myriad of subjects. Conspicuously hand-carved, embracing the flaws and all, Owens enhances his imperfect look by selecting wood with notable imperfections. The casual woodwork is not a comment on Owens’ talents. Rather it is done to emphasize the fact that the human hand has influenced the material. Conceptually, Owens works from the notion that humans have a tendency to render nature amenable to their own agenda. Describing this “healthy disrespect for nature” as a “shameless manipulation of a gorgeous natural material,” Owens considers his woodworking to be “imposing his own desires on the material” in the name of progressing culture.
Owens’ exploration of craft takes him in several directions. His “Turkish rugs,” for instance, are carved freehand and modeled after Googled images. These works are juxtaposed with carved paintings of appropriated text of medical queries and responses, which have been translated from Chinese to English. The results are a mix of park signage and conceptual art exhibited as a confused mix of words that have lost the nuance of human translation. The works becomes symbolic of how epically the human desire to understand and control everything so often fails.
Both funny and frightening Owens’ works are ultimately a representation of the fact that craft as fine art becomes a commentary on fine art itself. Thereby becoming commentary on culture, and human nature at large.
Michael Shapcott is an emerging artist from Connecticut. His paintings and illustrations take traditional portraiture and add elements of folklore and dream imagery, his main source of inspiration. His work is nothing less than powerful, inspiring, and emotional.
Peter Cross makes pencil drawings to salivate over, precise and delicate, they bear witness with photographic verisimilitude to times and places that have never existed but seem weirdly deja-vu-ish. Cross worked for over twenty years as an art handler and then as a registrar in Manhattan galleries. Much of that time was spent with Leo Castelli, where he worked with artists like Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenburg and Roy Lichtenstein. When I first got to NYC Peter hired me to install shows, and despite my being nosy and persistent, has always been extremely secretive about his drawings. I finally got him to email these. Peter doesn’t have a website just yet, so if you want to contact him – leave some way to be reached in the comments section.
Alberto Sevesos creates turbulent digital images of nude female figures. Colours swirl inside the elusive bodies that appear and disappear with a hint of nipple or goose bumps running down a torso. The movements within the nudes are so compelling it becomes difficult to bring yourself out to view the images as a whole. The viewer’s eye becomes lost in the gestures, especially as you try to make sense of the forms. In parts the figures seem as though they are glass, filled with swirling paints, but then they fade into nothingness where just beside is a definitive form.
The positions of the bodies themselves also create movement in the work. They bend, extend and caress in a dancerly manner. Sometimes the bodies are surprising, as they seem only to be deconstructed and not reassembled. A hand appears without sense, transforming the texture of the swirls that are like liquid in one moment, and smoke in the next. The hot and cold oranges, blues, and whites add an elemental aspect to the work, complemented by the natural skin tones and clean bright lighting of the original photograph. The work is airy and also haunting as the tantalizing figures ghost in and out of existence in plain sight. (Via Illusion Scene 360)
Matthew Cusick is known for his paintings made with maps that we have featured here in the past. Cusick is also creating a body of work he calls “Defacements”. Pages from vintage schoolbooks are found, scraped and sanded to remove all but the page number, an image, and a few chosen words. The artist removes in order to reveal. The result is work that comments on the human condition, the environment, politics, and the physical act of delicate deconstruction.
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and accessible with just a few clicks and no coding. This week we bring you the desolate and eerie landscapes of Colette Robbins .
New York based artist Colette Robbins’ intricate works on paper lie somewhere between the medium of drawing and painting. Colette painstakingly creates each drawing by dissolving graphite powder with water to create thousands of transparent layers of graphite in a technique borrowed from old master glaze painting. She then takes various erasers and even a Dremel sanding tool to the surface to add highlights and other details. The result is a wondrous world of imaginary landscapes with monolithic heads that may remind you of Easter Island or some other ancient ruin filled with mystique and awe.
Caleb Brown paints real things — sharks, diving tigers, track stars — in a realistic manner. Deviation lies in the implausible situations he inserts his subjects into. Brown uses what he calls “elements of contemporary life” to set the stage for a bigger, more interesting angle on current events.