Portland, Maine based artist Sascha Braunig is a portrait painter of sorts. She uses traditional baroque portraiture techniques with a nod to Op art and a wink at Surrealism. Braunig’s figures seem to barely emerge out of a hypnotic (and nearly seizure inducing) patterned background. Her canvases are striped with colors that contrast so much they nearly appear to glow. The effect is hallucinatory and almost a bit haunting. The gallery statement from her current exhibit describe the various concepts at play saying:
“ Braunig’s geometric figures have a visual fluidity, as if their delicate skins can barely contain their bodies. Subject and background merge, creating ambiguity and optical tension. An alliance is forced between flat patterned designs and observed, mimetic representation.”
Sascha Braunig is exhibiting her work through December 22 at Manhattan’s Foxy Production.
Hold on to your eyeballs, Matthew Zefeldt‘s paintings just might wipe them out. Matthew’s enormous paintings seem to use every possible color and it’s obvious that he doesn’t just “like color”– he loves it, and is really good at it. Using color to give control thick, abstract figures form and depth, and flattening his pedestals, Zefeldt’s paintings are a new and wonderful take on impasto abstraction, so thick that some of them look more like a gum wall than a painting. His work is also great because he uses his goopy application to show what portrait paintings really are–paint! But instead of taking a cynical approach to the problem–”oh no, how could we be attaching so much significance and power to these things that are really just a bunch of paint”–his view seems more enthusiastic, as if to say, “yes, this is a bunch of paint–that’s why they’re the best!” I can’t wait to see more. If you want to see some in person, he has a piece hanging until the 10th in a FFDG Gallery group show The Diamond Seaalong with curiot and lots of other young up and comers. If you’re not in the bay area, you can see more of his work after the jump.
Living in cities, not only do we forget that we’re a part of the natural world, but it’s easy to forget how truly awesome the natural world can be. Occasionally, though, we’ll get lost or go camping and see a world of seemingly inanimate structures that are not only alive but full of color and crawling in and over one another and feel like we have found another world. Allison Gildersleeve has definitely felt this way, as her paintings are all about the wild wild wilderness– its colors, life, fractal chaos–that we too easily overlook. From a distance, Allison’s work looks almost expressionist, but as you look more, you notice meticulously painted shapes that look more and more like trees and branches and realize what she really seems like she’s trying to express is the impression the awe of the natural world has on her. One kick back to living in the cities is that when you go back out to the wilderness, it really does seem wild. If you haven’t seen it for a while, get some camping and swimming in while you still can and take a few minutes to look at the world that’s living and breathing around you.
An teacher of mine once said not to worry about if something has been done before, but instead of what you think has not been done enough. Jackie Gendel looks to be a die hard fan of Henri Matisse and André Derain, and feels the work they started has not been finished. It’s interesting to see how a style which was so radical a hundred years ago that a critic claimed in contempt that the work had been made by “wild beasts,” yet painted today seems perfectly beautiful and comfortable. The radicalism is gone, yet Gendel carries their spirit of autonomy of lines and colors. If you like what you see, you can see more of it at the Jeff Bailey Gallery until November 10.
Eric Sall‘s paintings wild little worlds. Their use of graphic lines and bold colors invites you in with the fleeting impression of cartoon familiarity, but the second you come get into them you’re taken on a whirlwind tour of psychedelic movement and color. Sall’s paintings are a perfect mix of unreal, drug-induced, semi-spiritual visions with just enough familiar shapes and lines to keep you looking for something you know is there, like an epiphanic episode where you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what this life changing realization is that just came to you. As you’ll see after the jump, his installation style reminds me a lot of how Ed Templeton hangs his photography, but more so. If you have time, you should take the next fifteen minutes to really get lost in these.
Melanie Daniel explodes forms, objects, patterns, and color to make her paintings and the results are joyfully apocalyptic dreams. She gives us some recognizable forms–an arch, a fench, a tower, fish?– forms which make us turn much of the painting into a Rorschach test– Are those rectangle strokes cars? Are those squares buildings? Are those black lines woods that have overrun an industrial town? Or maybe they’re all just rectangles, squares, and lines, there to overwhelm us in this dreamscape. Whatever the case, her paintings are optical quick sand, making it difficult to stop looking and thinking about the worlds in front of you. Her show at the Asya Geisberg Gallery ends on the 20th, so try to stop by while you still can!
Mike Perry is of the artist/illustrator/designer/art director/teacher/typographer/zine-maker breed who have put all their energy into making a living off of creativity. Taking inspiration from Steven Harrington (an LA contemporary), cartoons, and mid century ad copy, Perry’s work is all about enjoying life and encouraging others to live more creatively à la Sister Corita. He has a show up right now until November 20 in Brooklyn called Wandering Around Wondering. I use the term “show” loosely, Because keeping in the spirit of 100% outward-directed positivity, it’s equal parts original work, workshops, and open community events, all of which are free. His press release describes it pretty well:
“Wandering Around Wondering is a free three-month community exhibition and series of events that will coincide with the launch of my monograph, published by Rizzoli. The event space will host workshops, screenings, gatherings, open discussions, and much more — conducted by me and a select group of design and illustration professionals. The space will become a dynamic environment for continuous creation, where visitors will be able to explore freely and create their own unique experiences.”
Natalie Frank‘s paintings are worlds in which both form and formality have been melted away. Faces have been disintegrated into their constituent parts, held together by goopy swathes of color; subjects are diving into free love, violent and vulnerable states. One thing you might notice when looking at her work is that however distended every other part of a body may be, at least one eye is always in sharp focus. This may or may not have to do with the fact that until this last summer, Natalie could only receive optical sensation from her left eye, causing her to see a two dimensional world. How you theorize about that information in relation her work is up to you, but if you want to do it in person, she has a show up at Fredericks & Freiser until November 3. Check it out!