Frida Kahlo is not only an influential 20th-century artist — she’s an icon. Through the often painful, autobiographical threads in her life’s work, fans have come to embrace the late painter as a symbol of fearless self-expression and resilience. San Francisco’s Gauntlet Gallery pays homage to Kahlo with their group show, “Thank God It’s Frida,” which opens on January 31. Artists such as Valentin Fischer, David Slone, JeanPaul Mallozzi, Cheyenne Randall, Ruben Ireland, and many others paid homage to Kahlo’s brazen spirit and personal style with portraits of the artist. Alongside the exhibition, San Francisco artist D Young V will also debut his site-specific installation, “Forward Motion,” which takes over part of the gallery with floor-to-ceiling murals filled with D Young V’s signature, propaganda-style imagery.
Jacob Dahlgren treats stacks of pencils like blocks of wood in his sculpture series, “Subject of Art.” With each unit sharpened to a different length, the pencils stack on top of one another to create playful, geometric shapes with an Op Art element. Though the forms are quite simple, Dahlgren’s choice of medium makes the series a whimsical exploration of how one can reconfigure basic shapes to creates something new.
Washington, DC. based artist Ashley Oubré creates compelling photoreal images with just carbon pencil, graphite and india ink. Her drawings capture private moments of shame and humiliation from insecurities that many of us face. As someone who once fought depression, she’s set out to embrace what society considers abnormal; obesity, stretch marks, age spots, and twisted spines. These are the characteristics that connect her subjects.
As the name might suggest, Portland’s Antler Gallery showcases many artists whose work deals with the natural world. Their appreciation of animal-inspired art precipitated the annual exhibition, “Brink,” which is now in its third year. Opening on January 29, the group show features artists such as Chie Yoshii, Jon MacNair, Caitlin McCormack, Brin Levinson, Kevin Earl Taylor, and Antler owners Susannah Kelly and Neil Perry, among others. Part of the show’s proceeds will benefit the Audubon Society of Portland, which does work to protect the region’s birds and their habitats.
The subjects of Brooklyn based painter John Jacobsmeyer live in a pine-wooded virtual realm. His childhood memories of building clubhouses with scrap wood were realized later in life at a struggling artist. “It Came from a Pine Box”, his solo on view at Gallery Poulson in Denmark, blends what was make-believe with reality. Set in the sterile environment of a pine box, Jacobsmeyer reveals what happens behind teenagers’ closed doors.
Lebanese photographer Lara Zankoul’s fairytale-esque series “The Unseen” looks like it could have been the result of some clever PhotoShop, but in reality the artist created her imaginative, underwater scenes by inviting models to submerge themselves in a human-scale fish tank. Outfitted like a retro domestic interior, the glass box provided a nostalgic setting for Zankoul to stage cheeky scenarios of subaquatic home life. A process video reveals her models climbing into the tank from a ladder in their pristine formalwear. The resulting photographs allow viewers to suspend disbelief and immerse themselves in Zankoul’s whimsical narratives.