Russian-born artist Sergei Isupov investigates binaries in human relationships — male and female, good and evil, beautiful and grotesque. Using clay as both a material for three-dimensional expression and as a canvas for his illustrations, Isupov capitalizes on all properties of what he finds to be the most open medium. He sculpts human and animal figures, and then adds illustrations in glaze. The paintings diffuse into the clay’s surface, like tattoos on his sculptures’ skin. Taken together, the two- and three-dimensional elements of his work establish a compacted but powerful scene of emotions and narratives.
There seems to be a history running through Carmel Seymour’s water colors, but it’s hard to pin down. Somewhere in the hazy but sublime gap between art and illustration, the paintings suspend an alternate reality in the canvas’ mid-air, depicting some hyperreal folklore in a wash of negative space. Seymour’s conceit seems simple enough: she places contemporary figures, such as girls in jeans and sneakers, in some private oasis, perhaps the figures’ dream landscape or perhaps some alien planet. But the landscapes where her figures exist are not so much ‘scapes as objects; entities without a before or after. Her water colors are deployed in highly restrained and linear strokes to focus on details, and then exploded to disrupt the hyperrealism and maximize the medium’s atmospheric emphasis. The paintings have no clear beginning or end, but beg the question: what’s the story here?
There’s a new generation of Taiwanese artists remixing modern ideas into their artwork, stepping away from visual traditions. We see it in Lo Chan Peng’s frightening, fashionable muses (covered here), Liao Chi-yu’s video art that references 17th century Dutch still life- and Chang Chia-Ying. Her Russian doll-like portraits of animals and chubby children stare into the distance with hollow, glazed over expressions on their faces. Likewise, the viewer is invited to look through them; their torsos are a window into an alternate reality. They are surrounded by mysterious fairytale gardens, inspired by the cartoons Chia-Ying watched as a child.
While GIFs have yet to find an established place in the art world, they’re fascinating because they have the potential to go beyond the frozen image in two dimensions. Texas artist Hayden Zezula, aka Zolloc, works as a designer and animator by day, but has an expansive portfolio of animated GIFs that will cause chills to creep down your spine. His latest series, titled “Oswra,” features a cast of mutated babies with pale gray skin. Their multiplying limbs move in geometric arrangements that are both hypnotizing and frightening. Take a look below.
Italian artist Alessandro Gallo (featured in HF Vol. 24) presents a disorienting series of sculptures for his upcoming solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, “Strani Incontri.” The show’s title translates to “strange encounters,” which is an apt summary of the experience of coming upon one of Gallo’s large-scale clay figures. Expertly reproducing human and animal anatomy, Gallo blends the two to create convincing hybrids of man and beast. The works produce an almost eerie sense of unheimliche, as Freud put it: when the familiar becomes uncomfortably strange.
Creepy creatures, spindly figures and quirky narratives compose the illustrations of Bill Carman. Pigs in suits and yin-and-yang armored headgear stare at one another – snouts pressed together – with eyes wrinkled with age of wisdom. An angry bronze-faced rabbit sits in the foreground holding a screwdriver, gazing at the viewer and threatening to unscrew the boars’ masks. Though Conunganger has an Animal Farm aesthetic, They have My Eyes evokes a Tim Burton sentiment.