Painter Joseba Eskubi’s lusciously-crafted landscape paintings have both an incredible energy and a certain mystique to them. The gestural brush strokes signify movement like the wind or temperamental weather, and they exist in these desolate locations with brilliantly-colored dark sky; it’s like the bluish-purple that marks the middle of the night.
All of Eskubi’s paintings feels like they exist in the same world, but each sets the stage different for its own strange happenings. A lot of these structures are reminiscent of weeping trees or their twisted branches. These lines create an interesting visual tension that doesn’t necessarily feel threatening at the moment, but it was at one time (or maybe in the future?). It’s an uncertain, post-apocalyptic shelter. But unlike the stereotypical gray landscape, Eskubi has created a place of visual splendor.
Artist Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen combines something that we’ve seen many, many times throughout the history of art – figure painting. But, he does it with a contemporary approach. His moody paintings feature partially obscured people as they rest beneath the water. They are just below the surface of the dark, deep pool, and the light from their bodies is all that’s visible.
According to Uldalen’s artist statement, his work, “…explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. The atmosphere in his subject matter is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism.” Although these figures are rendered realistically, they rest in a void with little additional visual information. We can’t be sure of where they are or what brought them there. And, for some, if they are dead or alive. It’s this open-ended narrative that gives drama to Uldalen’s paintings, and the hauntingly gorgeous images are the kind that will stay with you – even if you don’t want them to. (Via I Need a Guide)
Artist Lia Melia grew up a few minutes walk away from the sea, and today it is still her main source of inspiration. And, you can definitely tell – her colorful, swirling paintings are reminiscent of the large body of water. Mythology has also been a life-long love of hers, and she depicts elemental forces that are represented by the gods.
Melia uses a variety of methods to create these highly-textured works, and she’s developed her practice over the course of many years. Powered pigments and solvents are baked into aluminium, or occasionally, onto glass. She uses fluid mixes which require high levels of control, so they are often thickened to make the medium easier to use. Different elements are layered to give them a rich, visual depth.
Looking closely at these paintings, we see that her skill in creating textures give the illusion of crashing waves, stormy skies, and ocean foam. Melia’s tightly-cropped compositions freeze a split second in time, and anyone who has stood in the water can imagine what happens beyond this scene. (Via Saatchi Art Tumblr)
Pop culture and classic, fine art mashups aren’t anything new, but they nevertheless provided an interesting juxtaposition between the visual culture of then and now. Philippines-based multimedia producer Eisen Bernardo has created a series that places the covers of contemporary magazines like Vogue, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. It’s appropriately titled Mag+Art.
Bernardo told Buzzfeed that he began the project because he felt that magazine covers were inspired by classical paintings. This is his way of comparing the aesthetics of the long ago as well as the present. What kind of clothing, hairstyles, poses, etc. are popular now? How has beauty changed or stayed the same. He poses the question, “Do we still see a naked woman as an object of art/beauty? Can the celebrities and models on magazine cover be considered as muses of the contemporary masters?” And, he hopes that these covers can be considered classic art. (Via The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed)
Exquisite Corpse refers to the collaborative game whose origins are rooted among the Dadist writers as a poetic exercise and the Surrealist later turned into a drawing game. You might’ve played it before; when each person does their part well, it creates an alluring, sometimes grotesque body that was completely unexpected.
This exhibition brings together artists working in both Los Angeles and NYC. As MASS Gallery poetically describes:
A central problem of 21st century life is that the old, psychologically fortifying myths are fading. Philosophers and scientists have described us as wet robots and biological algorithms, which is perhaps an intentionally shocking way to describe humanity, but these descriptions also seems to get close to a dangerous truth that contains a kernel of abject horror. It is the artist’s job to create psychologically coherent images which look forward. It is now a matter of viewpoint whether, when it is all said and done, you are a dead body or an Exquisite Corpse.
In addition to the show, the gallery also produced a full-color catalog that showcases all of the work and an essay by Bill Donovan. The limited-edition, 102 page publication features a beautiful spot UV with fluorescent cover. If you can’t make it to Austin for the show (it’s up until October 25), then the inexpensive-yet-high-quality catalog is totally worth it.
More work by the featured artists as well as sample spreads from the publication after the jump.
Looking at these paintings out of context, you might not know that they are very small. In fact, sometimes these works are no larger than a coin or someone’s fingernail. Artist Lorraine Loots says that she creates “paintings for ants,” but you wouldn’t necessarily know it at first because of their intricate details. They have as much visual information as paintings 10 times their size.
Every day, Loots posts a new small picture to her Instagram, @lorranieloots. It’s always of an impossibly tiny subject and the caption features information about what they are and what we’re looking at. Loots realistically-rendered cars, landscapes, boots, birds, statues, and much more. The small scale is a nice twist on what we’ve seen before, and here the short explanation helps, too. “Paintings for ants” is an amusing thought, and one that’s entirely possible given the size.
We normally think of the Playboy Bunnies as busty blondes with smiles on their faces. Taylor Marie Prendergast, however, shatters that stereotype in her pen and ink drawings that feature the women in a much different light. The models that she depicts, while still in “sexy” poses, aren’t glowing. Instead we see every brush stroke that’s paired with muddy, dirty-yellow hair and a blank expression on their faces. While Prendergast has handled the media well and demonstrates a variety of techniques, we can’t escape the fact that these women wouldn’t be the “Playboy type.” And, according the artist, that’s the point. From her statement:
I’m challenging the contemporary zeitgeist by incorporating historically loaded images and abstracted figurations. The juxtaposition of the glamorous and the repulsive are necessary tools in order to create this reaction in the audience. At first the piece entices the viewer with aesthetically pleasing elements, and as the viewers settles into the work they’re confronted with disturbing details.
While the ink is still wet, Prendergast loads the drawing with more pigment and allows it to bleed onto the paper. It creates a dripping effect that’s both beautiful but in the context of a figure, a little gruesome. This allows the artist to subvert popular culture, and as she explains, “They [the viewer] are invited to re-consider the cultural state of both themselves and humanity. As the viewer inhales the work, there is a subtle yet significant revolting shock.”
Artist Seth Alverson paints the body in a realistic fashion, but not in a way that looks aesthetically appealing. Severed hands, bizarre contortions, and skin linked together like a sausage casing are just some of the ways he’s depicted the figure. It stands in stark contrast to the Old Masters traditions of life-like renderings, which are all about idealizing and hiding flaws. Instead they’re in-your-face in a way that it’s hard to look away from.
There’s a range of grotesqueness, from detached body parts (bloody ends and all) to oversized hands, and finally to things that aren’t shameful, but our society dictates they are. This includes cellulite on thick legs or sagging breasts. They seem to mock the airbrushed media and when compared with Alverson’s other more ghastly alternatives, definitely aren’t as bad. (Via Hi Fructose)