Illustrator, graphic designer, and artist Jordan Speer created his own action figures (or at least illustrations of them.) Recreating the familiar packaging of childhood toys, Speer fills each one with a unique figurine. While nearly nostalgia inducing, each toy is also slightly sinister featuring warnings such as “slightly toxic”, “forbidden”, and “highly illegal”. Speer’s figures are enigmatic characters, unfamiliar and unwilling to reveal much beyond their name and accessories. Which would you collect?
Landscapes are alive in the paintings of Siobhan McBride. Different locations mesh into a single scene. Memories and colors delicately surface in the foreground. McBride’s paintings aren’t so much surreal scenes as they are subtly collaged images in paint. Speaking of her work McBride says:
“I have come to think of my paintings as views of a place where magic reveals itself differently than it does in this world. The scenes are tense with anticipation or blushing in the aftermath of an unseen event. Paintings combine disparate yet familiar fragments into spaces that are still, anxious, and temperamental.”
Stockholm, Sweden based artist Joakim Ojanen works in mediums as diverse as sculpture and zines. His paintings, however, particularly standout. Familiar snippets of cartoon characters, body parts, and shapes congeal as a hallucinatory mass. Normally lighthearted characters appear to be in a paranoid panic or a manic giddiness. Eyeballs peek from oddly placed holes or simply roll on the ground. Ojanen’s portraits don’t seem to depict monsters as much as characters mutated by abstraction.
Brendan Danielsson‘s portraits are wonderfully ugly. Though each piece incorporates the image of a sole person, there is plenty of conflict. The pieces easily explore ideas of beauty and ugliness; they are at once sensual and repulsive. While appearing almost alien each portrait is somehow still strangely familiar. Danielsson is able to portray each ‘character’ as clearly part of a larger hidden narrative.
If you can’t pull your eyes away from Brendan Danielsson’s work, make sure to check out the Beautiful/Decay Book: 9. The book features the paintings and drawings of Danielsson along with many other artists, designers, illustrators, and writers.
Mark Schoening‘s paintings appear to explode on each panel. Colors and patterns seem to erupt like uncontrollable viruses supplanting the composition. In a way Schoening’s work develops in a similar fashion. Each piece begins with an idea, information. The concept is elaborated on further and further layering glitter, resin, silkscreen, acrylic, latex, and spraypaint. His newest works are an investigation of the way floods of information are spread and consumed. Schoening says:
“I do not have the luxury of escape. In this century, in this moment, few of us do. Information piles up: the advertisements, the mechanisms, the media, the people. I am attached to it, in the midst of it, a part of it. However, as a painter, I am also a witness and a reactionary.”
Mark Schoening opens a new solo exhibit, Recordings of a Lone Infantryman, November 29, 2012 at Marine Conemporary in Venice, California.
Artist Marion Lane creates almost otherworldly abstract paintings. Her peculiar style and use of acrylic on panel seems to belong to an action other than painting. Lane’s shapes appear to grow organically, emerging more from cell division than brush stroke. However, the inorganic nature of Lane’s medium isn’t lost on her. Rather, she seems to exploit the plasticity of acrylic paint, making it plain in the shape and sheen of her fantastic subjects. Lane’s pieces at once explore abstraction and figuration as well as the natural and synthetic.
Painter Troy Brooks creates curious and unsettling canvases. Painting in a Pop surrealist style, Brooks depicts scenes where something terribly strange has just occurred or is about to unfold. Each piece is dominated by a female figure, all similar in appearance but clearly different in personality – some bored, some subversive, other outright violent. Brooks makes use of a sort of symbolism transforming each setting into an allegorical scene.
“Graffiti Girls” is a stunningly beautiful portrait series by Austin TX-based artist Kevin Peterson. His blend of both hyper realistic portraiture and natural graffiti penmanship is a new one, and his command of both styles is impressive. Peterson uses the rough and jagged shapes of wall tags to directly juxtapose the soft beauty of young girls; the ragged and worn versus the innocent and clean. Though subject and backdrop are polar opposites, the girls seem empowered by the art behind them, instead of shying away from it. They may live in a world that’s tagged up, but they aren’t scared of it. The color and design of the spraypaint behind them seems to enhance the girls’ beauty and personalities, especially with Peterson often coordinating the tags with the girls’ outfits. These portraits help to make the argument that graffiti is becoming a more normalized form of public art, and though it’s not always pretty, younger generations growing up in this world are used to its presence, instead of threatened by it.