The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Author: Nick Pizana

The group exhibition "Major Work" at Chandran Gallery in San Francisco features a select group of fourteen artists who are making some of the biggest impacts in contemporary art. The participants are particularly well known for consistently reinventing their own approach to art-making: Alicia McCarthy, Aaron Noble (HF Vol. 5), Kelsey Brookes, Revok, James Marshall aka "Dalek" (HF Vol. 15), Sam Friedman, Eric Yahnker, Mark Dean Veca (HF Vol. 23), Saber, Hilary Pecis, Tim Biskup (HF Vol. 2), Eric White, Allison Schulnik, and Andrew Schoultz, who curated the exhibit.
With new formats to experience and music being churned out every few years, the classic 'block rocker' continues to hold its place in the hearts and minds of music buffs. For many, it represents the first time that music fans were able to sling their favorite artists over their shoulder and blast their jams all day long- or at least until the batteries died. The upcoming "Boombox Creators" exhibition at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles pays tribute to this era and its continuing legacy.
The "Colorado crush" is a well known name among graffiti festivals, celebrating Denver’s vibrant art scene time and time again. Now in its sixth year, a new crop of incredible installations have hit the Denver area. Among them is Max Kauffman’s, in which the artist covered an entire house. "My work for the last few years has been going deeper and deeper into an architectural realm, inspired by concepts of house versus home, of sanctuary, of solace from the chaos of the world around us."
The brutal paintings of Cleon Peterson (covered here) have a visceral effect on the viewer, plunging them deeply into a world of chaos, ruin and violence. On August 29th, Peterson brings his iconic style to Detroit's Library Street Collective for his latest exhibition, "Poison." "The show is about revenge, which is a current of poison running through our culture and other cultures around the world." Peterson shares. "It's often a motivation for war and a justification for punishment. It is a social impulse that is destructive and easy to be complicit in." Peterson is deliberate in his unflinching presentation of the darker side of human nature. In this world, muscle-headed brutes cross swords and knives, locked in a cycle of aggression.
With her most recent series, "Viscera", exhibiting this weekend at La Luz De Jesus gallery in Los Angeles, JAW Cooper creates intricately detailed mixed media paintings that stir up a sense of adventure and wonder. Rendering figures with graceful, technical lines and vivid, enchanting color, Cooper's dreamy illustrations show people an imaginary archaic culture that seems foreign, but still familiar. Surrounding the figures are luscious worlds filled with exotic animals and luscious plant life than seem to live on the outside of the page.
First featured in HF Vol. 18, FAILE is a collaboration between Brooklyn-based artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. Known for their critique on modern consumer culture and over indulgence, the two man art collective covers the walls of the Brooklyn Museum this week with their eye-catching, graphic style for their latest exhibition “Savage/Sacred Young Minds.” The exhibition sees the addition of new paintings and sculptures that display the artists’ growth, and also brings back some of their most well-known previous work including their two installations, "Temple" and "The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade".
Throughout time, flowers have stood as symbols of beauty. Their vibrant color and pleasant aroma has made them integral parts of rituals around the world. To see them as bouquets and arrangements in the background is common in many cultures. Floral artist Kirk Cheng pays tribute to flowers by making attention grabbing displays, which take beauty that is normally glanced over and push it to the center of attention. Cheng creates wall gardens of seasonal plants, drawing the symbolism found in the plant's color or species. Behind the glass of sleek dioramas, they look like perfectly preserved specimens from some other dreamy world.
Chicago artist Pose recently rocked an installation in Detroit’s Belt, an alley in the city’s downtown that has been converted into an outdoor art exhibition space, curated by Library Street Collective. Already filled with art from some of the world’s leading street and contemporary artists, Pose has added to the madness with his signature collage of vibrant colors and cartoony textures. See more photos after the jump, courtesy Library Street Collective.
Alejandro Pasquale uses charcoal and graphite to create images with photographic accuracy. From top to bottom, each picture is flush with elaborate detail. Pasquale brings to life seemingly banal background elements, like blades of grass and tree branches, which he makes look luscious and vivid.
Eva Eun-Sil Han’s mixed-media collage works use geometry and line to create surreal and mysterious scenes. By replicating circle cut-outs, the Belgium-based artist obscures parts of photographic images with what look like a cross between clouds and censor pixels. In some pieces, the circles are the focus of the work, layered on top of one another in fish-scale patterns. The repetition of color and size creates a soothing visual rhythm, which gives a feeling of cohesion despite the variety of patterns. Often invoking the baroque period, the images have a regal feel to them, which is reinforced by the stark black and white with gold palette in some pieces.
The captivating paintings of artist Joel Rea presents a take on surrealism that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The richly colored scenes that Rea creates look like stills from a vivid dream, featuring men in suits and a tiger on a seemingly endless beach. The intense detail of Rea’s renderings, combined with his use of composition, gives the paintings a breathtaking, larger-than-life feel. His human subjects look almost helpless compared to the vast grandeur of the crashing waves threatening to swallow them whole. Even the more modest scenes that Rea paints inspire a deep feeling of humility. We featured some of his previous work here and today we bring you his latest paintings.
Drawing in talent from all over the world, the Life is Beautiful Festival recently wrapped up in Las Vegas. The event brings together many different art forms and aspects of culture, such as music and food, but the street art installations are at the forefront of the festival. Its outdoor gallery, curated by Charlotte Dutoit of Justkids, takes over 15 blocks of the city. Life is Beautiful is now in it's second year, returning with the addition of a few new twists including an abandoned motel that houses 6 separate installations, each done on an impressive scale.
In her latest series, “Seer,” mixed-media artist Hilary White explores the possibilities of scientific progress and our faith in its explanation of reality. With her unique combination of painting and sculpture, her works have a cosmic feel to them, like portals into other worlds. By combining bright glossy colors with actual light sources and mirrors, her sculptures glow and come alive, becoming a mesmerizing bit of eye candy for the viewer to lose themselves in.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Fresno, Luke Chueh (featured in HF Vol. 24) has gained much notoriety in Los Angeles art scene with his colorful, illustrative paintings. His upcoming exhibition “Self-ish” at CHG Circa in Culver City, is the latest continuation of Chueh’s stand-out style. A cast of playful-looking characters, the adult world that they live in and the dissimilarity between the two is a primary theme of the 20 new pieces Chueh will have on display. "My work is an illustrative exploration of visual and narrative contrast" Chueh said describing his work.
Australian artist David “Meggs” Hooke, opened his solo exhibition “Spoiled Rotten” at Inner State Gallery in Detroit on September 19. Using explosive bursts of colors and raw layers of texture, “Spoiled Rotten” explores themes of consumerism and over-obsession with pop culture as Hooke takes iconic images such as Mickey Mouse and yellow smiley faces and exposes their disposability.
Despite what we may sometimes think, our memories are extremely faulty, open to influence from new information, and seen through the lens of our current emotions. This is the concept used by Kyle Stewart in his latest body of work, which explores the change in his memories of rural life after moving to Toronto. His solo show "Between Worlds" debuts at Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, New Jersey on September 13.
There's a certain feeling that is triggered when the familiar is distorted and brought into the realm of the unfamiliar. The idea of the uncanny is exactly what Hungarian artist Naomi Devil is aiming to trigger with her latest series of oil paintings. Devil takes the subjects of classic painting and re-arranges them. Removed from their comfortable surroundings, the subjects find themselves among sleek amorphous blobs that billow behind and around them. The blobs almost threaten to absorb the subjects, who are given futuristic laser swords, body piercings and other anachronistic details that bring them further out of sync with their time periods. The end result resembles something from dystopian science fiction.
Though she is known for her work in fashion photography, the fine art photography of the Madrid-based Rocio Montoya offers a interesting new look at her skills in portraiture. Montoya's subjects, generally young women, are captured in moments that range from intense euphoric emotion to still, deadpan gazes. In some images, the faces of the subjects are obscured, adding a sense of aloofness and mystery. Her works are predominately in black and white, but Montoya uses a range of effects such as double exposure to make the images more vivid. Through her techniques, Montoya brings a new vision into the images she captures.
Australian artist and designer Nick Thomm creates eye catching collage works reminiscent of a mishmash of magazine or billboard advertisements. Thomm deconstructs crisp, high-quality photos and reassembles them into new compositions with hallucinatory, digital effects. Elements of glitchy distortion are used to manipulate the images of models and ancient statues. Many of them are surrounded by vivid cyan, magenta and yellow backgrounds, turning them into a visually-engaging sensory overload.
The hyper-realistic oil paintings of Joshua Suda will make you question whether you’re looking at a painting or a photograph as he recreates the features of the human face with stunning accuracy. Going beyond replicating life, many of Suda’s pieces also have elements of surrealism. Bizarre compositions, mixed with Suda’s impressive attention to detail, result in uncanny contortions of the human face. He often breaks the fourth wall, playing with the foreground and background to make it appear that the subject is bursting through the surface of the piece. In other works, he paints to mimic other media, replicating the detail of everything from pencil drawings to old photographs and contrasting them with how the subjects might appear to the human eye.
The surreal paintings of Mircea Suciu offer a glimpse of dreamy, and perhaps slightly nightmarish worlds inhabited by shady men in suits and antiquated technology. Suciu paints images of early to mid-20th century life with a dark and mysterious twist, alluding to the unsavory aspects of the era like nuclear technology and mob culture. Using mainly monochromatic coloring, Suciu is able to convey a sense of foreboding to the viewer, as well as adding a noir-like feel the smooth and atmospheric scenes. In his latest work, the Romanian artist has been experimenting with painting over monotypes, adding an abstract dimension to his typically photorealistic approach.
Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira regularly works in both painting and installation, but his latest work at Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, "Transarquitetônica," may be one of his most fascinating ones yet. Viewers are literally able to immerse themselves in the piece, as Oliveira has crafted a seeming endless maze of tunnels made from warped plywood and rigid concrete. The tightly packed lumber gives the surreal structure eye-catching texture and surface as the viewer is taken out of their normal environment. "Transarquitetônica" will remain on view through November 30, 2014. In the video below, the artist discusses his process of scavenging materials for and creating such a massive structure. Watch after the jump.
A follow up to last year’s exhibition “Rediscovery,” San Francisco’s Gauntlet Gallery is paying homage to masked electronic music duo Daft Punk one more time with “Daft Punk Deux.” Each work in the show is inspired by the influential band in some way, be it their funky tunes or retro-futuristic aesthetic. Images of the band’s iconic robot helmets appear throughout the many of the pieces in the form of portraits that range from true-to-life to straight-up bizarre. The exhibition will feature works in a wide range of media from sculptures and paintings to digital works from more than 40 artists. “Daft Punk Deux” opens May 31 at 7 pm and will be on display through June 21.
Greek artist Stamatis Laskos aka Sive contorts proportions to create a wonderful re-imagining of human anatomy. Laskos, who works in both street art and illustration, creates surreal worlds inhabited by figures with abstracted bodies, bearing elongated limbs and caricature-esque faces with stretched noses and ears. His street art is painted with cool, earthy colors applied with raw brushstrokes. Laskos's illustrative works, while having less range of color, are still rendered with impressive detail and texture.
Brooklyn-based abstract painter Sam Friedman is currently exhibiting “Easy,” his latest body of work, at Library Street Galley in Detroit. Throughout "Easy" Friedman works with mesmerizing colors, pairing layers of cleanly laid lines and with subtly faded hues. His use of warm pinks and reds with cooling pools of blue make many of the pieces in the exhibition reminiscent of tropical sunsets. Without the bounds of representational form, Friedman is able to render the familiar in an alien way. Working with abstract figures, Friedman populates his world with various organic shapes that seem to squirm and writhe right before you, like neon amoeba under a microscope. "Easy" is on view May 10 through July 10.
At the intersection of fashion and sculpture you’ll find the wearable artwork of Copenhagen-based artist Nikoline Liv Andersen. “My work is expressive, living in the borderline between fashion and art with a big focus on textiles, textures and delicate details” Anderson said, describing her work. Many of Andersen’s designs challenge the purpose of ordinary materials, using them to create intricate works of art.
London-based sculptor Hitomi Hosono has a versatility that to her work that is hard to miss. Educated in both Japanese and European sculpting techniques, the forms of Hosono’s ceramic sculptures range from having zen-like simplicity to intricate detail. Despite the vast differences in her styles, there is a balance between them, as the styles mirror, yet contrast one another. Her most recent works are compact, plant-like forms look almost like they could be functional vessels, but Hosono makes them sculptural inside and out, with ornate plant-like details and gold-leafing on the insides of the works. Of her work, the artist writes: "I study botanical forms in the garden. I find myself drawn to the intricacy of plants, examining the veins of a leaf, how its edges are shaped, the layering of a flower’s petals. I look, I touch, I draw."
Philadelphia’s Arch Enemy Arts has assembled a slew of artists with a penchant for mysticism as part of their “Equinox” exhibition this month. Throughout history, the Equinox has held heavy mythological and supernatural connotations. It is an event in which day and night have equal length and the idea of that balance between the two is explored throughout the show. The exhibition shines a special spotlight on the mesmerizingly colorful paintings of surrealist Hannah Yata, and the impressively detailed anatomical pieces by Michael Reedy (featured in HF Vol. 27). Also featured are new works from Jessica Dalva, Scott Kirschner, Archer Dougherty and Jel Ena.
In his current series “Lace Zoo,” painter Marc Le Rest creates a surreal world of majestic animals covered in frills and lace. Le Rest’s colorful and imaginative oil paintings feature animals you would normally find at the zoo, like lions, giraffes and alligators, only instead of being locked in cages, they appear to be enclosed in colorful structures of soft fabric and accented with vibrantly colored butterflies. Le Rest's bright use of color in the lace creates a deep contrast to the earthy tones of the animal's fur, feathers and scales. The sizes of the paintings vary, with larger ones that include unlikely pairings of animals such as a gorilla and a crane, or several smaller ones that feature small birds. “Lace Zoo” will be on display through April 5 at Galerie Albane in Nantes, France.
Already renown for her works in commercial and editorial illustration, artist Yuko Shimizu has an equally captivating fine art portfolio. Her displayed collection of works, ranging from paintings to large scale drawings and computer-based images all seem antiquated, yet modern. Although many of her pieces use a limited palette, Shimizu’s intricate and delicate line work allows her to speak volumes. Many of the objects in her renderings are either boldly simple or alluringly intricate. The images take hold of your attention, enhancing the sense of complexity by repeating different forms and patterns throughout the pieces.

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