It is always exciting and refreshing to see traditional art methods used in a whole new way. Artist Danielle Lawrence‘s fresh eye on contemporary art takes the conventional framed painting and transforms it into highly textural and sculptural work, taking it to another level. In her work, the frame is often still present, but the art inside it is spilling out, exploding from the frame that confines it. It is almost as if the paint has a life of its own, trying to escape from the cage and constraint we have given it. Lawrence explains that the frame is a symbol of patriarchal structures and restriction.
Lawrence’s non-representational painting method allows the colors to melt and drip, creating incredible movement in each piece. These colors appear bent, folded, and manipulated, creating organic forms. Each bright, glossy color erupting from each canvas and frame turns the typical two-dimensional painting into a more palpable, three-dimensional piece that reaches out at the viewer. Her artistic journey began while experimenting using trash as subject. Still pulling inspiration from found objects, the artist’s work often includes items from her studio, including plastic bags and bubble wrap. Lawrence’s take on form and material is both chaotic and structured, creating order out of an eclectic range of colors and media. She flawlessly creates a beautifully balanced mixture of classic painting methods with a new, contemporary approach.
She’s an avowed formalist with an eye to the street. Her works are lustrous and abject, smooth and sharp, blunt and sophisticated. While painting is clearly her passion, she makes promiscuous use of other media: sculpture, drawing, photography and video.
Wookjae Maeng is a Korean artist who works with ceramics, focusing on the relationships between man and animal. The ghostly pieces often resemble commemorative busts or mounted heads reminiscent of big game trophies (the kind you’d seen in a hunter’s den). Sometimes, works are painted to blend in with wall treatments or trendy decor.
“I concentrate on art as a vehicle to communicate contemporary social and environmental problems to the viewer by stimulating, not just emotion, but sensibilities and memories,” Maeng writes. Stimulus is an important idea, and it’s used to evoke the viewer’s curiosity and to inspire them to figure the greater meaning of the work.
Maeng also explains why he chose to feature animals in his sculptures:
In our environment, numerous creatures live in harmony. Yet there are other creatures that merely exist without enjoying their natural right due to human classification and negligence. I would like to express the nature of the relationship between human and other creatures-a relationship that, in other to thrive, demands careful coexistence and balance between the urban and the natural, for example, and an awareness and empathy for less visible creatures. In my work I hope to provide an opportunity-however brief-for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even as he continues his daily existence indifferent to it. (Via Optically Addicted)
Illustrator Isobelle Ouzman upcycles would-be discarded books into sculptural works of art. She cuts back the pages and draws nature scenes that together, create an alluring new narrative. The primarily black-and-white images have spots of color added to them, and they hearken the viewer into this special place.Ouzman calls her creations Altered Books.
Using an X-acto knife, Micron pens, watercolor paint, and a lot of love, Ouzman breathes new life into these objects. “Every book that I alter was found by a dumpster in Seattle, a recycling bin, a thrift store, or was given to me by someone who no longer wants it,” she writes. “Rather than have these discarded books sit out in the rain or in some store to gather dust, I’m striving to make good use of them. I love books very much and would never carve into one that was valuable. I just want to give them a new life and a second chance to mean something again.”
For those with a sweet tooth, the work of Peter Anton might make you hungry. The artist’s hyperrealistic sculptures of cakes, candies, and ice cream bring the sugary treats to life. At first glance, they pass as real food rather than as convincingly-painted and crafted artworks. “I like to alter and overstate foods to give them new meanings,” Anton writes in an artist statement.
The colorful, larger-than-life works showcase an acute understanding of texture and lighting. Anton was very aware at how luster plays into the believability of his objects. As a result, some of the “frosted” donuts shine just as you’d imagine. In non-glazed objects though, he applies a matte finish.
Anton has an innate reverence for what we eat, and it’s what leads to these works creation. He says:
Food brings people together and there is no better way to celebrate life. Through the use of humor, scale, irony, and intensity in my forms, the foods we take for granted become aesthetically pleasing and seductive in atypical ways. I like to create art that can lure, charm, tease, disarm and surprise. My sculptures put viewers in a vulnerable state so that I can communicate with their inner selves in a more honest and direct way. I activate the hunger people have for the things that give them pleasure and force them to surrender. The sensual nature of the works stimulates basic human needs and desires that generate cravings and passion.
British artist Philippa Beveridge fosters mystery through her series of glass change purses. In an on-going project titled Lost and Found, she reconstructs the dainty-looking accessories with trace amounts of what was left inside. The thick glass resembles an ice sculpture that also gives her work a fleeting, ethereal feel. She describes the sculptures in her writing:
[These] on-going series of works deal with the concept of collective and individual identity through the everyday form of a purse: a belonging which is often lost, stolen or mislaid, full of sentimental value and charged with personal memories. I began to make this work during a three-month long artist’s residency in Northern France. I invited local residents to visit me at the studio and show me the contents of their purses. Building on the theme of traces, I highlighted the objects and details found in the purses to forge histories and construct identities. The resulting imagery, trapped in the material, expresses notions of time, memories and sentiments which lean towards metaphorical interpretations in relation to one’s own past. (Via The Jealous Curator)
Internationally renowned artist Theo Mercier has created an incredible monster of a sculpture made entirely of spaghetti! This textural, monumental piece is around 10 feet tall, and that’s when it is sitting—which is all the time. The spaghetti monster sits upon a small chair that is way too small for him as he stairs sadly down at the ground. Titled Le Solitaire, or, “The Loner,” this creature looks isolated and alone in a world where he is the only spaghetti-creature. Although the colossal sculpture seems very melancholy, Mercier’s work tend to not be without a bit of humor. A monster made of spaghetti is an absurd and silly creation, so why is it so glum? Maybe it is afraid that us humans will eat his spaghetti!
Mercier’s work is often large and textural, as Le Solitaire’s tactile spaghetti-skin begs to be touched. The noodles form an endless series of lines bending and forming across the body of the creature. They imitate scribbles of continuous lines doodled on a piece of paper. A self-taught artist, Mercier is an expert at inducing strong emotions with such a bizarre and surreal sculpture. We cannot help to feel sorry for this dripping, sorrowful beast. Its wide, striking eyes that stare directly at the viewer are also in other works for Mercier’s. His other installations include funny creatures made by adding these same bright eyes onto cars, piles of hay, and even smoke seeping out from a fireplace. This French artist’s unusual and mysterious sculptures give inanimate objects such emotion and personality that steal our hearts and earn our love.
Javier Galindo, an artist of many talents, uses ready-made objects to create an interesting narrative that comments on possessions we value. By nature, humans are collectors. So much so, that we even have an entire T.V. series dedicated to this hoarder phenomenon. In Galindo’s series The Incomplete Tour, he creates objects that mimic, question, and alter keepsakes and mementos often collected by travelers and tourists. Specifically, he references “The Grand Tour,” a trip that many youth would take during the 18th century across Europe. The purpose of this journey was to gain knowledge of the Western world’s cultural history and to be exposed to its many treasures, such as classical antiquity. To preserve their memories, as we often do today, they would collect souvenirs. Galindo’s question is, what is this memento actually worth? It is by no means an original; it is just a fragment or a trace of what was experienced.
Influenced by classic antiquities, Galindo’s series transforms and skews these fractures of remembered treasures. The series is comprised of a wide variety of mediums including cast plaster and oil paint, as it also is included two-dimensional and three -dimensional works. Focusing on portraiture, the once traditional portraits and busts are now sliced and stacked, skewed by paint, or literally cut out of their frame. In a world where we are obsessed with documenting every moment through digital photos, it is interesting to see a reference to a time where the only way to keep the moment with you, was through collecting physical souvenirs. A photograph is like a still memory, a fragment of an event that can often warp the true memory. Just like a photograph, Galindo’s mementos are just fragments of the whole; they are hints of a narrative further skewed by Galindo’s artistic eye.
Toronto-based artist TALWST creates works in a miniaturized scale. The tiny sculptures are constructed in reclaimed ring boxes and feature landscapes that are inspired by current events, dreams, and icons in pop culture. TALWST’s details are incredible, and it’s only after careful inspection that you see every fleck of paint, particle of moss, and patterns drawn on clothing. The artist also paints the top inside of the boxes and creates a small yet all-encompassing world.
While the attention to detail is one reason to intensify your gaze, the other is the subject matter. TALWST is timely, and although some scenes might conjure the past (their backdrops, especially, look like old paintings) the artist portrays contemporary issues such as Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths. These miniatures his prototypes for creating responsive, diversified and inclusive history, unlike we have now. “The work’s small scale allows me the opportunity for a very particular kind of meditation,” TALWST explains. (Via Skumar’s and Junk Culture)