by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Hazy figures walk towards the viewer in John Wentz’s new series of oil paintings, their faces muddled as if conjured from some distant memory or last night’s dream. His solo show “Passages,” opening alongside Mike Davis’s “A Blind Man’s Journey” (see our recent studio visit with Davis here), is set to debut at San Francisco’s 111 Minna Gallery on October 3. Wentz’s work is optimally experienced in person. Playing with new textures, he steers his figurative paintings further into abstract territory, breaking down bodies into their basic components and exaggerating the ways light dances on them. Wentz deliberately calls attention to the paint itself, allowing pigments to bubble and burst and scraping away fine lines with a pencil. The results are disorienting and poignant, reminding us of the ways our own memories can be distorted and altered.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Dutch painter Chris Berens’s work (featured in our book Hi-Fructose Collected 3) can be described as storybook-like with a darker twist. His light, airy oil paintings have a luminescence about them, as if his figures and the spaces they inhabit have a crystalline translucency that imbues them a magical-feeling ambiance. Berens recently collaborated with best-selling young adult fiction author Kami Garcia on an illustration project. An artist herself, Garcia is a long-time admirer of Berens and asked him to create three new paintings to be reprinted in her forthcoming novel, Unmarked. We bring you a first look at these new pieces before they debut in the book, which hits stores later this week.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Carl Krull’s drawings have a visceral appeal. Each of his works is composed of horizontal lines that start out parallel and wrinkle somewhere in the middle, yielding figures as if out of some primordial mass. Sometimes the forms he draws are hardly distinguishable from one other. The eye attempts to untangle his orgiastic cacophony of limbs and biomorphic shapes as if they were some strange riddle. On September 27, Krull debuted his solo show “Seismic” at V1 Gallery in Copenhagen. The pieces evoke both the smooth grooves of cliff sides and the monochromatic markings of seismographs. By setting restrictions on his process (he seems to refuse to take the charcoal off the paper until it has crossed from one side to the other), Krull captures the quality of geological formations and invokes themes of creation and mythology.

by CaroPosted on

This Thursday, Yoskay Yamamoto will debut eighteen new paintings and sculptures at Hellion gallery in Portland, “Rainy Day with a Chance of Sun.” For this show, Yamamoto chose to explore the balance between joy and melancholy. His paintings vary in style, inspired by artists like Paul Klee, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, and Robert Indiana, to name a few. Images of their art are scattered around his Los Angeles studio where we paid him a visit.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

While some artists seem to explore themes that come to them through spontaneous inspiration, Scottish-born, London-based artist Charles Avery has devoted his career over the past decade to an imaginary, nameless island. His sculptures, drawings, installations and texts — even if seemingly unrelated — culminate in the description of a specific, fictional world like an anthropological study. Over the course of his work from 2004 to today, details about the island have revealed themselves. In fact, its fate isn’t so different from many other countries formerly under British rule.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Currently on view at New York City’s Last Rites Gallery, Donato Giancola and Fred Harper’s respective solo shows take viewers into strange worlds influenced by science fiction and fantasy. Donato Giancola’s “Silent Tragedies” is a rich series of oil paintings set in a distant realm where mechanical meets Medieval. Painting with a filmmaker’s eye, he depicts his protagonists in pivotal moments of their adventures. Fred Harper’s show “Virus Like Us” takes viewers into a megalopolis where biomorphic shapes become architectural structures (H.R. Giger appears to be a big influence). Harper attributes his interest in strange cityscapes to the culture shock he experienced when coming to New York from a small Pennsylvania town. Both shows are on view through October 4, so check them out while you still can.