Michelle MacKinnon‘s photorealistic portraits use the human face to investigate secrets and their relation to the idea of public/private. The artist explains:
“The series is a combination of a list of exposed secrets, and with no direct link to them, portraits of the sitters expressing their emotions/reactions to their listed secret. Provoked by the idea of confession, this series will explore the public/private relation of people and the exposition of their secrets. By anonymously submitting secrets to the artist and later posing for a portrait depicting their secret, this series strikes an interesting note of juxtaposition between the public and private sphere of secrecy. Publically, these secrets, and therefore their keepers, have been indirectly exposed. Out of instinctive human nature, curiosity drives the viewer to either intuitively match the portrait to their secret, or become empathetic to the portrait deriving from relation to their own secrets. Privately, the confession becomes an outlet for the sitter; a chance to formally acknowledge and confront their secret, yet knowing that, though it may be assumed, no one but themselves will be entirely accurate as to which secret is theirs. It becomes a veiled breach of the private into the public and a connection without fact; after all, we all have secrets.” – Michelle Mackinnon
Katie Scott is an illustrator and printmaker from England. Her works are equal parts 19th century science illustration and tarot card mysticism. Once you look at them long enough, all plants, and living organisms in general, start looking like inspired sculptures. Check out everything on her website, then go to the park and look at the plants!
Ryan Samuel Carr is a native artist/illustrator of Ventura, California. Ryan’s beautiful line work and dreamy figurative elements remain a constant reoccurring theme throughout his extensive body of work. When I look at Ryan’s work, even if the subject matter is just the roots in a pile of weeds he always seems to capture a rare and very sincere moment only hinting at whatever secrets the particular root, or bed of flowers have to say. Ryan’s unique line work evokes so much feeling and emotional manifestations. Ryan shares a bit of his mark making process in this direct quote from the talented young artist himself:
“I think a lot about the ‘immediacy’ of drawing (with ink and pencils), and the individual mark in a moment of time; what that all says…it’s very mystical and meditative for me.”
Mikie Poland does what he wants, and that is awesome. Some might read this and think that it’s juvenile, but in a world where most people play a passive role in their own lives – I’m truly inspired by someone who is willing to pursue their passions with everything they have at their disposal. Poland is on the road about half the year touring with one of the two bands he plays in (Giving Up or State Champion), and spends much of his remaining time working odd jobs and helping to promote Sophomore Lounge Records in whatever way he can. As the web manager, primary art director, and right-hand-man of the label’s creator (Ryan Davis) you might wonder where he finds time to do much else. As it turns out, there is a good amount of “downtime” in the van in between gigs, and Poland often spends this time productively. Whether he is drawing posters for upcoming shows or clever illustrations referencing everything from Jazz to Dracula – Poland stays busy.
The nature of his practice could force a comparison to Raymond Pettibon, but Poland’s aesthetic is very much his own. There is certainly a gritty quality to the work, but his quick wit and keen understanding of texture and mark making have an intentionality to them that belies the crude manor in which many of his illustrations are fashioned. Having a fine arts degree from a conceptually oriented school like the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (where Poland received his undergraduate degree) often leads one down a path of pretention that can be hard to escape, but Poland manages to keep things in perspective. His observations are honest, the tone is real, and I enjoy looking at the work. If you scroll through these drawings and at least one of them doesn’t put a smile on your face I think it might be time to re-evaluate how seriously you take yourself. Giving Up will be on an east coast tour this June, and if you like what you see below I encourage you to check out their shows and pick up one of Poland’s expansive zines at the merch booth.
Two of my favorite upcoming artists, Timothy Bergstrom & Denise Kupferschmidt recently opened up solo shows respectively @ Halsey McKay in East Hapmton. Tim brings a new suite of his gluey material paintings that visually imitate sounds, while Kupferschmidt shows a series of studies surrounding a sculptural installation, as well as a lovely mural. Good stuff, more after the jump.
Sarah Weber is a Chicago based artist that is making some really nice work right now. Aggressive graphite mark making, cutting ,burning, layers of of vellum and globs of gold coalesce into really physically engaging drawings. Bouncing between subtle reference and pure abstraction,and producing a lot of work, this is an artist to keep your eye on…More after the jump
Mark Hunter Brown is a truly dynamic individual. I have known Brown for the better part of a decade, and I am relatively positive that I will never meet another person quite like him. With each day functioning more like the next chapter in a bizarre novel, his zest for life is infectious. Luckily, Brown is also an amazing artist, and has managed to document his interests and experiences through countless drawings and paintings. Though he gains inspiration from his travels, the work is not limited to the places and people he has actually interacted with. Brown is also heavily influenced by the written historical accounts of different cultures and people, but the work is not about visually representing his source material. Instead, he chooses to focus on the importance of the moments recorded history has chosen to ignore. There is this dead zone in between the great scenes of history that also warrants consideration, and Brown is keenly aware of this. When asked why he is drawn to this type of situation Brown replied, “because life doesn’t look like a Delacroix painting – it’s just people walking around and eating sandwiches. These moments seem more real to me…they’re equally compelling.”
While these scenes are not infrequent in his work, Brown’s practice is not limited to this type of subject matter. There is far less literal material in Brown’s oeuvre, and his vivid imagination becomes readily apparent when looking at paintings of huge figurative fortresses or anthropomorphized coo-coo clocks snorting bones off of a table. When viewed in context these paintings start to function as some sort of bizarre allegory, but their meaning is never explicitly stated. There is such a rich diversity in the distinctive worlds that Brown creates, and no piece is less detailed than the last. Whether he is teaching at Columbia, backpacking through Morocco, or boar hunting with monks in the Italian countryside – the need to process the world into visually compelling images has remained consistent within Brown’s life. Lucky for us, his mind seems to function like an endless supply of Google image search results that I have no desire to stop looking at any time soon.