Known for using her artwork for social good — from her public artwork in post-Katrina New Orleans to her Konbit Shelter housing project in Haiti — Swoon recently opened her solo show, “Motherlands,” at Galerie LJ in Paris. The mural-scale, 2D works in the show straddle the boundaries between drawing, installation and street art, eschewing the traditional gallery format. Swoon’s work is primarily portraiture-based, blending the faces of people from a great variety of backgrounds and uniting them with abstract forms and stylized compositions. “Motherlands,” as a result, is a reflection of Swoon’s utopian vision. The title of the show, it is important to note, denotes a plurality of perspectives gathered from Swoon’s world travels. “Motherlands” is on view through January 11. Take a look at some photos from the show after the jump.
I had looked at one of Oriana Fenwick‘s drawings, a portrait, for some time. There was something off about it and I couldn’t figure it out. A considerable amount of time later it revealed itself: the man in the drawing had two philtrums – that groove from the top of your lip to the bottom of your nose. Such a simple and subtle detail was enough to lend the entire drawing a persistent unsettling feeling. This sort of understated weirdness is typical in the work of Fenwick. Usually drawn and monochrome, her work uses reflections and slight shifts in anatomical features and cues to set her subjects just out of reach of our comfort level. Her technique, like her medium, is simple but enough. See more of her drawings after the jump.
Fixated on a mythological depiction of nature, Japanese artist Ishibashi Yui sculpts feral children that appear to belong to another realm of reality. Pallid, hairless human bodies become fused with roots and vines, brought to life through a mixture of wood, resin, clay, wire and paint. Oftentimes, the figures appear imprisoned by the flora. In Then, It Returns Slowly, a pregnant woman’s face erupts with flesh-colored growths that form a tree trunk. The character in Dream of 10 Billion Years succumbs to a similar fate as her limbs are fused with a chair and her head becomes a bouquet-like arrangement of leaves and branches. These sculptures personify nature as a force that reclaims its power from its human occupants. Take a look at some of Yui’s sculptures after the jump.
For many, the ceramic work of Scotland based artist Jessica Harrison is initially shocking. Harrison alters these figures with a stomach-turning realism. Ceramic figurines, the type that are ubiquitous in antique shops and thrift stores, seem gravely injured, even mutilated. Georgian and Victorian-era idyllic figures of women appear to be subjected to an awful violence. For all of the extreme alterations performed on the figurines, however, Harrison leaves the saccharine facial expressions of the women intact. The women appear as hostesses to their own injuries, eerily ever pleasant . The work powerfully addresses body politics, objectification, and violence. Yet, at the same time, it reminds the viewer of their own body, vulnerable like the figurine’s. See more of Jessica Harrison’s figurines after the jump.
Ma Jing Hu, a Chinese artist based in Nanjing, creates realistic paintings of classical beauty and Chinese political upheaval in contemporary times. His works are not quite hyperrealistic; instead, they recall a realism existent in the flat, brushstroke-free styles of the Neo-Classical and Baroque periods. In addition to his technical preferences, Ma also opts for a classical portrayal of his female subjects. You might notice that the women are rendered with veils in their heads or draped, neo-classical dresses. Some are nude, but they still embody Ma’s stylistic predilections. Read more after the jump.
Bruce Eichelberger’s anti-authoritarian ideology is no secret. All one has to do is glance down at the four-letter expletive tattooed on his knuckles to get the sense that this self-taught artist harbors a disdain for social conventions. His monochromatic artworks combine drawing and sculpture, covering wooden skulls and hand-carved frames with Boschian orgies of vice, rendered in a comic book-like style reminiscent of R. Crumb. Eichelberger’s current show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in LA, “Babel,” is rife with sacrilegious imagery and cynical reflections of contemporary society. Take a look at some photos from Eichelberger’s studio below and see the show on view through December 29.