It would be too easy to suggest that Grace Mikell Ramsey‘s work only illustrates moments of science fiction or fantasy. This is not what draws us into her narratives. Instead, it’s her ability to capture subtle anticipation– insular moments of contemplation where reality gestures goodbye. Her characters stand on the precipice, holding their breath, surrendering to dreamy whims only young children or covens of three are capable of conjuring, unable to shake a certain heaviness of the pending trade and what is at stake.
The figurative drawings and paintings of Pasadena based artist Ching Ching Cheng are remarkably captivating to me. She uses members of her family often as subject matter but continually chooses to portray them in a conceptual way embracing different ways to illustrate a memory of that person in her past more so than the realistic representation of them. Ching uses sculpture and installation mediums in her work, such as her vintage polaroid and mm camera sculptures made of found books & maps. Each camera sculpture has tremendous amounts of character to them feeling to me as if they are alive beings or the “true” soul of whatever camera they are embodying. Ching’s work is thoughtful and personal slivers of her life past and present. Her primary influences include nature, and psychology.
Recent MICA grad Andy Vible makes “life-size sculptures of human bodies whose heads have been replaced by everyday objects”.
Straightforward enough. Or maybe not. By decapitating his sculptures he makes us feel slightly uncomfortable. In a way, we’ve lost our heads too, and that’s a good place to start. Without a head (without a brain), we are left fully subject to Vible’s will. He has our attention. And that’s where the “everyday objects” come into play. Vible inserts these elements (cctv cameras, loudspeakers, reference globes, birdhouses, etc.) into his works in order to “communicate in a type of language that everyone understands”. In common language and without our personal projections, the works are able to come across clearly. Click the link and hit your bookmark button. You know what to do.
Brazilian artist ALMA has been getting up a lot lately with these haunting, stark, sometimes figurative pieces that move in and out of decaying urban environments in an incredibly natural way. I like that he mixes it up between extensive, symmetrical work that kind of reminds me of Richard Colman, and flat black stuff that’s really hard to define but affective nonetheless. South America is always killin’ it.
Jason Shawn Alexander illustrates and paints beautiful people who are bent and crooked from the struggles of life. However, he does it in a way that’s still appealing and uplifting to view. So, when you stand in front of his work you begin to feel up and contemplative, rather than ominous and down like you’d initially imagine from the darker pigments and conditions of his subjects. Originally from the south, Jason now resides in Los Angeles and interestingly enough, besides being a figurative painter, he worked for years as a draftsman at all of the top-dog comic publishers like Dark Horse and Marvel…(via)
With a display of dominating opulence, feminine vice, and diamond dust, Lauren Gibbes’s paintings masterfully deconstruct traditional romantic narratives and flourish as examples of modern Rococo. Born in the south and currently working out of Ashville, NC, Gibbes draws influence from beauty pageants, magazine ads, exhibitions of decadence, and the legacy of southern charm and chivalry. Her work is both beautiful and confrontational. Lauren Gibbes is represented by Galeria Bickar.
Dylan Rabe is a fellow artist and friend and colleague of mine. His illustrative works contain all things one could hope to see in a painting. Executed with bold colors and painstaking attention to detail, they fuse together theatrical narratives with assemblages of eccentric subjects, symbolic props, aged furniture, and elaborate décor; he successfully fits all such things into a single painting, typically creating medium to large-scale works. Dylan derives influence from a variety of sources such as 1950’s pulp art, soap operas, science fiction and romance novels. His work is enigmatic and enchanting, and I hope to see Dylan’s work gain further recognition in the future.
Anders Oinonen, of Ontario, Canada, just opened “People people”, a solo show at Cooper Cole in Toronto. For a while now, Oinonen has been pushing the features of the face to new bounds in his paintings. The artist has removed familiar eyes, noses, and mouths from their intended plane, and inserted them along the lines of an Expressionist landscape. Such a presentation of the face -associated with communication of our inner life more than any other part of the body- in tumultuous states of despair and incredulity as stimulating blocks of color masterfully applied to canvas arranges a statement which is hard to miss and extensive in depth.
You can also read a copy of Beautiful/Decay Issue: Z to read an in-depth interview with Anders.