Many a Grimm Brothers tale can be unraveled to find disturbing characters, stark truths, and other less-than-pleasant — and definitely not kid-friendly — themes. It’s one thing to discover these wicked twists and another to bring them to life. In his “Modern Grimm” series, Björn Griesbach illustrates his own interpretations of tales like “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.” In a modern setting, the characters from these tales become manipulative, sociopathic, and disturbed.
Joyce Utting Schutter’s mixed-media sculptures are filled with organic, abstract shapes that evoke the delicate unfurling of flower blossoms. Each piece is created through an interplay of steel armature and paper pulp, which she stretches across the metal frame to give the fiber a translucent effect. While the paper pulp is still wet, Schutter adds various materials between its layers to create various colors and textures. She developed this technique while in graduate school at the University of Iowa, and because of it, her work has a singular look that makes it instantly recognizable.
Josephine Cardin’s background in dance comes through in her series of surreal self-portraits, many of which have digitally illustrated elements that take them into the realm of fantasy. With the series, Cardin explores the various identities one takes on in life, acting out emotions and frustrations in front of her camera. Moving gracefully in long, billowing gowns that amplify her movements, Cardin exposes her vulnerable side through body language and the careful inclusion of symbolic props.
Minimal and quiet, Brian Robertson’s artworks seem to be both a homage to cubism and other various abstract art movements, and to our curious obsession with space and the universe. Going against typical physiognomy, the LA-based artist dissembles people and objects with clean acrylic shapes and lines juxtaposed with controlled dashes of spray paint. Looking closer, you’ll also notice that various portals appear in his work — a black hole doorway to a starry universe, a triangular cut-out through which a blue line travels — perhaps a commentary on the loneliness of the human condition and the vast wonder of the universe. On a more humorous level, Robertson names every one of his people or objects with tongue-in-cheek titles such as Mr Pot-Head Worm-Mouth or Mr Yellow-Brick Shit-House.
Now on view, Mab Graves’ exhibition “Spectrum” at Auguste Clown Gallery manifests her inspirations with adventurous new themes and characters. The most prominent is the retro doll character with Big Eyes, Blythe, reinvented in Graves’ world as a goddess and a ray-gun shooting explorer with a carefree spunk. Her storybook animal sidekicks are right out of Aesop’s Fables like The Tortoise and the Hare, and other tales with important life lessons.
Rainbow-colored mannequin legs, animal bones, skulls, and gold- these are just a few of the materials used in John Breed’s eclectic installations. If his choice of medium sounds frenzied, it might stem from his creative background. Now based in the Netherlands, Breed received training from a calligraphy master in Kyoto, Japan, before he moved to New York to take on graffiti, paint frescos in Rome, and study landscape painting in China. A world traveler and natural born experimenter, every piece that Breed creates is a culmination of his extensive skill set.