The multitalented, Berlin-based artist James Reka uses striking colors and organic shapes to create his unique style of painting. Known as “REKA” as a street artist, his large-scale murals steal the spotlight in any setting, whether it be the railway lines of Melbourne, where he is originally, from, or the alleyways of Berlin. Heavily influenced by pop-culture, cartoons, and illustration, his work possesses a pulsating rhythm that brings the streets alive. His abstracted figures take on new shape and form in psychedelic waves that weave back and forth. With a palette reminiscent of the 70’s, Reka’s curved lines swirl around his compositions, creating a sense of depth that is both flattened and rounded, forming incredibly unique aesthetics.
Reka uses influence from his logo design background, integrating a pop-surrealist style into his murals and paintings. The sharp style of shapes and design used in his work creates a harsh contrast to the gritty walls and abandon buildings where his artwork often lives. His smaller paintings can be found in a more traditional environment, like on gallery walls, or in an even more unconventional place, on discarded, found objects. Reka’s newest body of work can be found at Avant Garden Gallery, located in Milan, Italy. The solo exhibition of the artist’s work, titled Olympus, exhibits paintings of Reka’s that pulls inspiration from ancient Greece. While still using his signature style, Reka renders scenes of bathhouses and Greek columns. This exhibition is on view now until July 10th.
It’s a girl’s world in these scenes of playful mischief created by an eclectic array of delicate materials by Amanda Michelle Smith. Rendering tiny girls full of energy and angst, the artist uses oil paint, golf leaf, and ceramic pieces to construct her highly textured work. Smith’s talents in painting spritely girls are only matches in her ability in ceramics. Her light and airy palette combined with the rich glazes of the ceramic creates incredibly eye-popping aesthetics. The surface texture and detail in each leaf, tree, and flower jump out at you as they are formed from ceramic, creating a relief.
Although Smith’s work is full of little girls in dresses and bows, things are not always giggles and tea parties. Except, when there is actually a tea party, there are strange ghoulish guests dining in front of a black sky. Each scene has a bizarre flare that is both whimsical and somewhat dark. These are places where grumpy girls hide in a house while tons of little people seek to get inside. Proportions are skewed, size doesn’t matter, and little girls have a mind of their own. These feisty young ladies get into peculiar situations that are so beautifully and intricately constructed. Smith’s use of clay is flawlessly blended into her painting style, creating finished pieces that are begging to be touched. This California based artists creates three dimensional ceramic pieces as well, make sure to check them out on her website!
(via The Jealous Curator)
Adam Friedman celebrates the unchanging mystery of nature in his surreal, hybrid paintings that dissect landscapes from the real world. His newest body of work is bold in color and line, as he portrays scenes of glorious mountains and unwavering glaciers. His unique style depicts scenes of tremendous natural beauty, transformed them into something even more stunning. Plates of the earth seem to shift and glaciers are mirrored in a reversed world that Friedman so skillfully creates. The artist experiments and warps perspective in his paintings, like an M.C. Escher drawing toying with our mind. Sections of mountains are divided and manipulated into geometric patterns and shape that make you question exactly what it is you are looking at. Friedman describes his artwork’s intent.
“Millions of years are compacted into a single instant and rocks become fluid. I strive to present a moment that defies human intervention in the landscape, and pays homage to the potential in the inexplicable.”
Friedman explains that his work celebrates the unknown that the natural world possesses. Society attempts to explain, examine, and make sense of our environment, but there are some things we cannot understand. The beauty in the unknown can be felt in Friedman’s powerful series that radiates with intensity. Mirus Gallery in San Francisco, California currently has a solo exhibition of Friedman’s work on view until July 11th. If you have the chance to see this exhibition, titled Into the Aether, make sure to check out his compelling paintings in person.
Hasn’t everyone wanted to be a superhero at one point or another? If you have, then be jealous of Sandra Chevrier’s skillful paintings of stunning women covered in superhero. These women she depicts may not be superheroes themselves, but they are covered in iconic imagery of our favorite heroic superhero characters. The French artist creates these incredibly realistic women with paint and vintage comic book pages collaged over sections of their bodies and faces. Some of the women sport clothing made out of these comic book scraps, others display superhero stories across their faces, covering their eyes or mouth. Familiar icons can be seen sprawling all over Chevrier’s work, with images of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman morphing into one mega narrative. The images seem to multiply, creating an almost overwhelming mash of pop-culture, swallowing up each woman’s body.
Chevrier often uses specific story lines and series associated with specific characters to convey a message of social perception. She explains that the imagery is a comment on the high expectations society gives us to surpass even that of a superhero. One comic series included is The Death of Superman, which reveals the weakness of the world’s ultimate hero. This revelation of failed expectations explores the imperfect nature all humans have. Even the artist’s immaculate and beautiful women are often missing facial features due to the comic book pages transforming their features. Although Chevrier’s women exhibit astonishing beauty, they communicate an important message of living up to your own expectations.
With his work engulfed in geometric shape, the artist known as “Moneyless” creates infinite patterns of triangles and circles that seems to multiply endlessly. The Italian artist having talent in both two and three-dimensional work, his murals and paintings on wood are cosmic bound, mesmerizing and hypnotizing you with its fluid shapes. Originally a street artist, his influences from graffiti is apparent in his work on walls, with their bold color schemes and intense movement across the spaces they inhabit. This breakdown of text based graffiti into more non-representational, abstracted forms and shapes allows for more contextual freedom.
These murals and wall pieces are reminiscent of a kaleidoscope or a Spiro graph, with repetitive circles turning his compositions into large-scale Slinkies. Moneyless’s works on wood contain the same depth and intricacy created from his geometric perception, with an excellent eye on negative space. Staring into these works will have you lost in their unbelievable intricacy and rhythm. Each line is so thin and delicate, but make up a larger part of the stronger whole. This series is brilliantly symmetrical, forming a central focal point that pulls us into the space. The artist sees the triangle shape as the root to life, making up our existence along with everything around us. The reoccurring theme of geometry represents the foundation of life itself.
The artwork of Audrey Kawasaki is completely irresistible in its portrayal of stunning technique and beautiful women. Her skilled illustration using ink, oil paint, and graphite is a sharp contrast to the natural grain of the wood panel in which she paints on. The warmth of the wood combined with the reds and oranges found in her work create a soft glow that radiates from her work. Each of her women contains an iridescent aura that invites you in, pulling you closer into the frame. There is an unmistakable seductiveness in their eyes, or in one case, the third eye, that is both intriguing and mysterious. As you examine Kawasaki’s work, something begins to feel peculiar. The beauty of her women blinds us before a strange, bizarre element creeps up on us. We slowly realize something is off, when we see things like pink, glowing rabbits circling around the figures or even a snake skeleton sprouting out of the roots of a woman’s hair.
Kawasaki flawlessly offers us women of quiet beauty that leaves us questioning each situation. She pulls her inspiration for her gorgeous paintings from both the distinct style of Manga comics and the swirling, elegance of Art Noveau. The enormously talented artist will have work up at a group show starting this June on the 26th at the Long Beach Museum of Art. Her work is included in the exhibition, Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape.
Scottish artist Sarah Muirhead creates mesmerizing, nude paintings that are masterful in more ways than one. Her work is masterful in that it is very skillful, but also in that the subjects of her paintings are in control of their audience. Wanting to steer clear of creating nudes that are submissive to our gaze, Muirhead creates tension filled situations where the nude subject is staring at right back at you. Her subjects are not passive, but instead embody an incredible strength that challenges their audience. Each subject has a somewhat inviting stare, but still holds a control over the situation in their powerful, contorted stances and positions. In the artist’s new paintings, many of her subjects are bound by rope or string; others have intriguing elements like white, chalky substances all over their bodies.
Muirhead’s paintings are both unique and impressive, with an incredible eye for detail and color. However, her work is not entirely photorealistic. They explore this texture of the body in expressive ways. Muirhead is interested in patterns and textures, which you can see on her subject’s skin and hair. In one painting, the hair texture is emphasized by a woman grabbing her own hair and attempting to bite it. In another painting, skin texture and color is further explored and manipulated by depicting a nude posing with digital images projected onto her body and surroundings. Each subject is in mid motion, adding another dynamic element to Muirhead’s already multifaceted work. You can see Muirhead’s wonderfully tactile paintings on view now at Leyden Gallery in London until June 27th.
Artist James Bullough channels the spirit of graffiti and street art in his incredible figure paintings. He combines a realistic style with a geometric twist that breaks his paintings into fractured imagery, creating an additional element of line and shape. Each image is close to Realism, as his figures look like they are out of a photograph. However, Bullough creates a disruption in the rhythm, like a glitch in the painting that alters its shape. He dissects his figures into different segments, dramatically cutting right through the composition in carefully placed segments. If the artist does not slice across the painting with shifting fragments and splashes of paint, then he creates patterns from the missing pieces. In several of his paintings, Bullough leaves out pieces of the figure’s body. These precise chunks of the composition that he leaves out create different patterns and shapes sprawling across his work.
Although Bullough’s paintings are created in oil paint, the artist is also known for his skills with spray paint. He is not only a talented painter, but also an unbelievable muralist with works all over the world. Originally from Washington D.C., Bullough now resides in Berlin, Germany, home of a plethora of talented street artists. In a city filled with amazing murals, Bullough’s work stands out, as his combination of hyperrealism mixed with elements of fractured imagery certainly demands your attention. Influenced by urban graffiti, the artist creates work that embodies the flavor of the streets while still harnessing incredible technical skill.