Isobelle Ouzman is committed to working with reclaimed materials. The Seattle, Washington-based artist upcycles old hardcovers for her “Altered Books” series, which combines illustration and sculpture to create enchanted hollows inside of discarded titles. With a blade, Ouzman cuts away layers of pages, converting them into passageways into mysterious worlds. She is drawn to organic shapes and often decorates her “Altered Books” with opulent flora. The books become magical forests that evoke the ways reading fiction allows one to dive into an alternate universe.
Theo Mercier is a young, French artist currently based in Mexico City. Working primarily in sculpture and photography, he often inventively incorporates found objects into his work. He arranges commonplace items in ways that can be grotesque or sexual, playing with the tension between alluring colors and textures and off-putting content.
Oakland-based artist Gabriel Schama creates 3D work using techniques that allow him to play with rhythm and texture. He works with laser-cut wood in his monochromatic pieces and hand-cut, layered paper in his colorful ones. The resulting abstract compositions pulse with undulating, organic shapes and mandala-like structures. With their focus on pattern and geometry, his works are satisfying to look at yet tempting to touch because of their texture. For his next projects, Schama is experimenting with leather, plywood, and acrylics. Take a look at his recent work below.
Artists Seth Armstrong and Erik Jones share a fresh sense of drama in their new works, which will debut at Thinkspace Gallery this Saturday. Seth Armstrong’s solo exhibition “The Air is Thick”, accompanied by Erik Jones’ “Color/Full”, immediately sets the tone with his cinematic oil paintings. His images of lit up sky rises, mexican wrestlers, cowboys gathered around a campfire, and nudes in a mysterious desert all make theatrical references. Armstrong’s title refers to the air of anticipation or tension he implements into each. Take a look at our preview of both shows after the jump.
Cathie Bleck depicts the divine feminine with gestural marks that demonstrate the interconnectedness of nature, mythology, and spirituality. Nude goddess characters frolic in the sunshine, with creatures of various species surrounding them. Bleck’s detailed line work is one of the most distinguishing features of her pieces. She creates images through a subtractive process, carving away hand-made pigments from scratchboard and kaolin clay board. “Through the exploration of symbolic narrative imagery, carved into earth’s clay, I speak to relationships that are intrinsic — permeating through human experience,” writes Bleck.
Antler Gallery in Portland has an upcoming group show featuring three distinct talents: Heiko Müller (HF Vol. 33), Lisa Ericson, and John Casey. Opening March 26, “Habitats” allows the three artists to demonstrate new directions in their personal styles. In his new paintings, Müller invites nature imagery to mingle with mythological elements and abstract designs. Casey presents a new series of bold, colorful sculptures and paintings, which greatly contrast with the tightly executed graphite work for which he was formerly known. Ericson’s paintings of mouse-butterfly hybrids are humorous, endearing, and technically skilled. One might be surprised to learn that “Habitat” is Ericson’s first gallery show, but her work matches that of the other two more experienced artists in caliber.