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.
Yuichi Hirako is a Japanese artist whose paintings and sculptures blend humans, the city, and the forest together into in alternate, animistic realities. The works feel like they’re made by someone who feels life around them as one unified force and doesn’t envision a cataclysmic end to humanity, but just a change in how our form of life is expressed biologically. In Hirako’s work, it’s as though a nuclear catastrophe had dissolved the boundaries between all life forms on earth, leaving behind husks of cars, trees that grow houses, varicolored trees and rivers, and people who have very literally become one with nature. It’s interesting to think about alternate possibilities for life on earth, and if humanity does decide to use all our nuclear weapons, I hope we end up in Hirako’s paintings.
NYC-based artist Julie Evans creates these floating abstractions out of water-based paints on mylar (plastic sheeting). She lets the colors pool in bright puddles, cuts out individual sections, and collages them together to create new, but organic, shapes. Occasionally, soft pencil marks are added to form edges and shadows. Her creations look like something out of biology class; a cross section of a plant, a fragment of a mineral, or a grouping of cells. Though these collages are fabricated by hand, each piece looks like it came straight out of the natural world. Evans is currently displaying her work at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, NY.