Ibon Mainar uses visual multimedia to create whimsical and colorful work. Whether he is creating gifs, torn cardboard designs, Instagram videos, video projections onto foil and tinsel, or sculpting gum and popcorn, Mainar’s aesthetic is contemporary and playful. His interjections into Edward Hopper’s paintings create a curious juxtaposition of modern and contemporary aesthetics. With simplicity and humor, Mainar develops a visual language across various media that feels novel and universal. Mainar lives in San Sebastian, Spain.
We are comparable to moths. This is what I think Bernardi Roig is doing with his mixed media pieces: allowing us to see our own attractions to the glowing lights brought forth with the Information Age. From computers to iPhones to tablets– our desire is instinctual or . . . mindlessly animalistic. I’m thinking here also about near death experiences: going towards the light. Remember that iconic scene from Poltergeist? Carol Ann. This too. It’s not about where our bodies gravitate or evolve, but how we speak to the light and what we leave behind as we travel towards it.
A. Ruiz Villar parcels out space in relation to geometric positions, with minimal pops of color threaded throughout. His subtle gradations of white give special depth and age to the work so imagery doesn’t feel flat, but formed, or architecturally emerging. These vibrant compositions are not easy to visually choreograph– however, Villar makes it look beautifully accidental and organic.
Of his work, Villar’s stance seems like a conceptual mash-up of science, math, and poetry, suggesting it “revolves around the quest for a language akin to the following factors: 1.1.1. Provisionality (doubt): Lack of an evident purpose. 1.1.2. Continuity: There are silences, there’s no rest. 1.1.3. Uprootedness: There’s no commitment to technique, structure, or materials.”
Stuart Haygarth constructs beautiful sculptures out of recycled and found materials. He typically finds large quantities of one object, like eyeglasses, plastic bottles, eyeglass arms, mirrors, or picture frames, and builds large chandeliers or other functional installation sculpture work. Some of his work that is composed of seemingly random objects has been arranged to highlight the myriad of colors and forms that encompass his sculptures. Haygarth’s ability to recontextualize the mundane into the magical is uncanny. In an interview with Design Museum he says, “I think there is a certain ‘power’ in a collection of specific objects. A large grouping of a carefully chosen object – be it by colour or form – gives the object new meaning and significance.”
“Most of my pieces are small sculptural objects often based on found natural materials. I like giving time to the inconspicuous things that surround us and often go unnoticed, paying attention to small details and the tactile quality of objects. Appropriating traditional craft techniques like weaving and crochet as a means of sculpture brings a contemplative element to the development of my work. I am interested in unusual combinations of materials, the experimentation with fragility and strength and the individual stories that evolve and shape themselves in the process of making.” – Susanna Bauer
“Over the last decade, Nina Surel has been developing a unique series of mixed media portrait-landscapes that offers a vivid portrayal of what it means to be a modern woman, in a way that is witty, provocative and honest. Ironically enough, she uses the visual language of early feminist literature and the aesthetics of 19th Century Romanticism to make statements about repressed desires, complicated lives, and the interactions of women with their own selves and their surroundings, that are absolutely modern and of-our-time. They are scenes that can only happen deep in the understory of the most primeval of forests, under cover of the bountiful canopy, and they have their genesis even further below, where the oldest roots of these trees are.
Surel employs a wide range of media, such as photography, painting, collage and assemblage. The conceptual underpinnings of the work are in Surel’s own childhood stories, fairytales, and romantic literature.” – from the artist’s website
Jason Willome uses a diverse array of materials: acrylic, glitter, rayon flocking, archival pigment transfers, and cement, to expose ephemeral palpitations we, as humans, emote from personal experience, art history, or popular culture.
His portraits, for instance, take inspiration from a tabloid shot of glitter bombed Lindsay Lohan. Willome explains, “It was really beautiful because there was this atmosphere of glitter all around the space of the image, and there were these great cast shadows being projected through the glitter onto Lindsay Lohan, by paparazzi flash bulbs. I thought this would be a wonderful way to create a connection between an image and the surface, to kind of soften the painted illusion, but play into it at the same time.”
Likewise, on a similar note, his “Technology Series” (second, above) further investigates “the atmosphere of the glitter bomb and interpreting atmosphere as paint material.”
For both, what emerges is an airy quote lifted from mainstream media, translated with imagery that avoids the weight of celebrity by embracing another more elusive aura: how everyday abstraction beautifully haunts these spaces we build or share together.
According to Ray Kurzweil, scientist & Singularity theorist, “We [as human beings] can ‘go beyond’ the ‘ordinary’ powers of the material world through the power of patterns . . . It’s through the emergent powers of the pattern that we transcend.”
Similarly, these concepts of materiality, patterns, technology, and transcendence haunt the mixed media paintings of Nick Gentry, who hails from the London street art scene and beyond.
As far as process goes, Gentry engages in what he calls a “social art project”, whereas people mail archaic technology (film negatives, floppy disks) to his studio/gallery to help build the base of his work. Instead of just relying on a pictorial image, Gentry allows the “history” and “variety of unique memories contained in used objects” to also serve as the subject of each piece. The result is reminiscent of 1990s Electronica and aches of a strange collective sense of contemporary loss.