Despite some drizzly weather, Portland is looking a little more colorful this week. As of August 24th, the nonprofit mural festival Forest for the Trees, previously covered here, has been in high gear as 29 international artists work their magic on buildings across the city. The festival is co-directed by local artist Gage Hamilton and gallerist Matt Wagner of Hellion Gallery in Portland, who wanted to expand on their city’s visual identity through art. For its third year in a row, the project has a goal of creating 19 collaborative new murals.
We first featured Connecticut based Nataly “Kukula” Abramovitch in Hi-Fructose Vol. 7, who paints fashion obsessed pale-skinned beauties that transform into ornate objects. For her next solo exhibition “Haute Debutantes” at AFA Gallery in New York, opening September 5th, Kukula continues to explore this idea of transformation and female beauty. Her definition of a debutante, a high-class girl entering into fashionable society, is not what you might expect.
Filipino surrealist Jon Jaylo creates brilliantly colored and riddled oil paintings inspired by poetry and stories. His paintings have earned him the moniker “The Enigma” for his puzzling depictions of a parallel universe where animals wear clothes, children take on adult personas and gravity ceases to exist. Jaylo has said that he is never completely satisfied with his style, which varies from piece to piece, influenced by a range of artists like Rene Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Gustav Klimt, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, and William Bougereau. Opening September 12th, Jaylo will make his US debut with his solo exhibition “As the Moon Draws Water” at Distinction Gallery in California.
New York based Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita, featured here, creates unique pieces of art using everyday objects and materials like paper and plastic. Among her most notable and surprising works are her Light-shadow series, where materials are arranged in relation to a single light source to reveal the true subject in the shadows. Opening on September 11th, Yamashita will exhibit a variety of new works in a solo exhibition at Art Front Gallery in Tokyo. In addition to her popular shadow art, she will present a series inspired by origami, the art of folding.
The recent Vision Art Festival, held in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in Canton Valais, has taken the street art scene to new heights. A few years ago, a couple of young art enthusiasts from the region had a twisted idea to bring street artist to Swiss alps – on the lift stations, shelters, and restaurant buildings around the ski slopes. After last year’s “test event”, which produced a mural by Icy & Sot and Hebru Brantley, the local community accepted the idea and the long preparations begun. On August 24th, Vision Art Festival 2015 officially opened, hosting an impressive lineup of international artists: Chor Boogie, Reka One, Okuda, 2Alas, Greg Mike, Angry Woebots, Leza One, Rustam Qbic, Toz, Rodrigo Branco, Never Crew, and more.
A new group exhibition at Last Rites Gallery in New York is looking at how 4 different artists style the human figure: Alex Garant, Sarah Joncas, and collaborative artist duo Kit King and Corey Popp (aka “Oda”) make their subjects more exciting and complex by enhancing their portraits in various ways. Whether through color, line, shape, or dramatic composition, their subjects undergo a certain transformation in their works. Their collective exhibition, “Transfigure”, currently on view through October 3rd, explores this idea.