Aditya Pratama aka Sarkodit is an Indonesian illustrator who creates surreal, multi-layered paintings where figurative forms unravel into dreamlike scenarios. Everything becomes fluid, and familiar characters shape-shift in a variety of ways. Inspired by cinema and storybooks alike, Pratama’s work has a strong narrative component to it, though the colorful, elaborate shapes he paints can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Ordinary situations, like reading a book at a park, are not what they seem and even inanimate objects can come alive with colorful personalities.
Filipino artist Gromyko Semper paints elaborate scenes with many magical realism elements. His detailed works are flat and often resemble illustrations, evoking a mixture of pre-Raphaelite paintings and Japanese anime. The artist just completed a series of paintings inspired by the philosophical concept of mythopoesis, a term that JRR Tolkein and scholar Joseph Campbell proliferated in the early 20th century. Mythopoesis refers to a work of art that creates its own mythology. With Semper’s paintings, that certainly seems to be the case, as he has developed an elaborate visual language that taps into themes like pleasure, mysticism, and death. Currently, Semper has a two-person show with Gilbert Semillano at Artspace @ Net Quad in Manila.
Joanne Leah is a mysterious photographer from Brooklyn who takes unnerving photographs with erotic elements that simultaneously attract and repulse the viewer. Her latest series, “Acid Mass,” features a variety of models wearing highly stylized accessories. Posing in front of solid-colored studio backgrounds that match their outfits, the models’ bodies function more like design elements than fully fledged characters. With their faces often obscured, their body shapes interact with Leah’s surreal props in often disturbing ways.
The face of American culture continues to change through the use of firearms. Weapons appear in our movies, music, nightly news and politics making them synonymous with contemporary culture. This could not be more relevant in light of growing concerns in recent months about aggressive police tactics. Mesa Contemporary’s current group exhibition “ARTillery” looks at the art of the weapon as object and a major influence. The textbook definition of a weapon is “a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage”. Roughly 50 artists present their own definitions, including Charles Krafft, Shepard Fairey, Brian M. Viveros, Kevin Grass, Angel Cabrales, David Amoroso, Eve Plumb, Abel Alejandre, and more.
San Francisco based artist Joel Daniel Phillips examines the characters living in his neighborhood in larger than life-sized drawings. His subjects include street vendors and the homeless, each with a unique personality that Phillips captures in hyper-realistic detail. His ongoing series explores themes like how these individuals use objects to retain a sense of home, and promotes social justice.
In her studio in Cardedeu, a small town near Barcelona, Spain, Cinta Vidal Agulló is busy creating complex acrylic paintings on wood panels that reflect how our external realities often do not reflect our internal natures. Vidal Agulló sees her work as a metaphor for the ways in which we shape our world – the impossibility of completely understanding those around us, yet the personal ability to navigate the maze of life that we all inhabit.