In a fantastical style, Julie Heffernan injects the landscapes of her imagination with modern and classical allegory. For her third solo exhibition at Mark Moore Gallery, opening May 7th, she will debut a new series of self-portraits that combine personal with political themes. “Pre-Occupations” continues her previous exhibition (covered here) in both mood and visual lushness, evoking thoughts of the Renaissance but set in the future. Heffernan’s use of the word self-portrait is metaphorical here. Rather, traces of her can be found in her maidens’ surreal surroundings.
Jessica Dalva’s wall-mounted sculptures look like paintings at a first glance, but her work comes alive as the figures pop off the walls. Dalva’s mystical, feminine imagery calls to mind ancient pagan rituals that have been lost over time. Her upcoming solo show, “Hapax Legomena,” takes its name from a phrase that appears only once in an ancient text or language, making it impossible to translate. Dalva uses this reference to describe her approach to her work, which attempts to translate her emotions through visual language when words are not enough. “Hapax Legomena” opens at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in LA tonight, May 1, and is on view through May 31.
Mitsuya Watanabe’s new drawings take on an almost collage-like effect. The artist draws lightly shaded forms with graphite that contrast strongly with their dark backgrounds. Some of the figures have white outlines around them, flattening the scene and making them look like cut-outs, which adds to their surreal, dreamlike quality. Watanabe has a solo show coming up at Hellion Gallery in Portland titled “Immaculate Eve,” opening on May 7. A series of new drawings filled with floating objects and bizarre juxtapositions, Watanabe likens these works to interpretations of dreams.
Drawing on a large scale beckons one to make large, extravagant gestures with the body that turn into a sort of dance with one’s medium. The second annual symposium “Draw to Perform” takes this idea and turns it into a two-day performance showcase where the performance is the act of drawing itself. Artists from all over the world will gather at NUM3ER in London on May 16 through May 17 to create large-scale works before the public. In addition, the event includes film screenings and artist talks.
Japan based artist Ryota Nishioka airbrushes elaborate cityscapes of imaginary buildings. His process matches those of animation background artists, tasked with creating a believable backdrop for subjects based in a fantasy world. Similarly, Nishioka renders his paintings with layer upon layer of acrylic paint and pencil work on paper. Each layer takes only a matter of minutes to complete, making the final piece even more extraordinary. In almost hyperrealistic form, he draws his favorite subject, “moving things”, like clouds, ripples of water and scattered leaves from inorganic trees.
One of South Korea’s eminent realist painters, Kwang-Ho Lee’s “Touch” series brings out the tactile qualities of exotic cacti. The desert plants blossom in oblong shapes in Lee’s large-scale works, inviting viewers to examine their thorns, fluff, and smooth skin. Some coiled and others upright and phallic-looking, each plant takes on its own personality. Lee’s paintings are easy to mistake for photographs at a first glance, but his stylized compositions take his work beyond straightforward documentation.