Spazuk Exhibits Surreal New Soot Paintings in “Smoking Guns and Feathers”

by Sasha BogojevPosted on

It’s no secret that choice of medium can significantly accent the subject of the artwork. Fumage is one of those techniques that can’t be compared with anything else. By using the flame of a candle or a torch as a pencil to create his paintings with trails of soot, Steven “Spazuk” (covered here) has been creating intricate artworks for over 10 years. He is showing his latest body of work titled “Smoking Guns and Feathers” at Reed Projects gallery in Stavanger, Norway. The show is featuring his latest series of works focused on the fragility and precariousness of the species that share our biosphere. The uncertain future of these fragile “rulers of skies” is accented through use of smoke trails as a painting medium.

Light, transparent soot manipulated with feathers, scrapers and brushes, depicts birds in interaction with lethal weapons. The contrast between sharp, photo realistic details against hazy sections, as well as light grey birds against heavy black weapons, adds the tension. While impossible to fully control, this peculiar technique is eternally challenging for the Canadian artist. Constantly striving for that perfect shape, the unplanned initial results often determine the final outcome of the works. Sometimes leaving them almost intact, while sometimes using them as a base for elaborate, almost photo realistic images, the finished work feel very light and fragile. The effect of light soot layer forming unusual patterns on the surface is often used to add depth or perspective, while it’s unpredictable forms add dynamic to the works. Along with these pieces, which remind us of our responsibility to health and life of the ecosystem, there are also figurative works presented at the show. Less detailed, but more focused on using the extraordinary effect of fumage, these pieces are showing bodies or part of bodies in metamorphosis. After showing in Montreal, New York, Milan, Toronto, Berlin and Florence, his Stavanger show will stay on view until August 23rd, just a week before the beginning of NuArt 15.

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