New Levels, the title of John Chae‘s new series of work, captures its dual nature succinctly. While the phrase New Levels may partly refer to higher levels of perception or consciousness, you may likely have had the same first impression as I did: video games. Chae’s paintings use both elements of fine art history and throw-away pop culture imagery – he visually cites Magritte and Escher alongside manga artists. Chae moves beyond the highbrow/lowbrow juxtaposition of our pop-art grandparents. Rather, his paintings are for and from a generation that doesn’t consume images as much as it puts them to use as a recyclable tool of self-expression.
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.
This Thanksgiving, let us be grateful for the delicious imagery of “the master of voluptuousness” Jonny Negron. Not since Tom of Finland have I witnessed this caliber of graphic plumpness, and once your eyes fall upon these beauties you’ll be hooked. I really wish those two dudes could collaborate, unfortunately Tom of Finland is dead, but luckily, Negron and Jesse Balmer collaborate often, yielding plenty of awesome finishes. You can catch both of these men in CHAMELEON and DEMON GOD GOBLIN HEAVEN, and after that check out Jonny while he flicks, tumbles, and sells wonderful shit at these hyperlinks. Do enjoy.
I have never heard anyone utter a word of dislike towards Yuichi Yokoyama‘s work, and for good reason. Personally, I have never come across a comic artist this flawless and complete. His style is immediately recognizable, but never tedious, and his works are as spectacular as Hollywood action films, yet they can be about visiting a garden, traveling on a train, or building strange forms of shelter. He reinvigorated my interest in comics, and I hope he can do the same for you (if needed).