You might get a jolt of déjà vu looking at Brazilian artist Lucio Carvalho’s photographic work. Significant images in his portfolio feature monuments of culture – a towering Tate, a sinewy Bilbao Guggenheim, a sun-reflected Louvre – contemporary institutions that have proved integral to the architecture of a city’s art scene. However, in each of these images, something is a little off – the usual foreground and background are hijacked with paraphernalia (shopping bags, STOP signs, yellow plastic chairs) that reveal no explicit tie to the museum or gallery. The images are both familiar and unfamiliar, not so much a trick of the eye as a trick of our cultural systems.
Mark Gmehling’s 3D-rendered creations are instantly recognizable for their playful textures: rubbery legs that weave and stretch; gummy bodies that bounce off the floor; goo that drips and metal that glimmers. The artist (see our extensive interview in our current issue, Hi-Fructose Vol. 32) began as an analog illustrator and even cites graffiti as an early influence. These days, his digital illustrations lay the groundwork for prints, murals and sculptures. Gmehling has an exhibition titled “Plastic” opening tonight at RWE in his hometown of Dortmund, Germany filled with satirical, off-kilter pieces.
On Saturday, Copro Gallery pulled back the curtains for “Suggestivism: Chronology” (previewed here), curated by Nathan Spoor. This is the fifth installment of “Suggestivism”, Spoor’s moniker for fantastical, figurative work that ‘suggests’ to be more than it seems. In the 1890s, art historian Sadakichi Hartmann defined it in his writings as a style “of poetic mysticism and psychological intensity.” Spoor chose 42 contemporary artists whose work shares a surreal, poetic-like quality, such as Aron Wiesenfeld, Chet Zar, Nicoletta Ceccolli, Dan May, Hsiao-Ron Cheng, Naoto Hattori, Charlie Immer, Gregory Jacobsen, Sarah Joncas, and more.
Cameron Stalheim creates mixed-media sculptures that indulge the stuff of nightmares. His most recent work, and then I saw Colby on the Street and my fantasy died, is a striking depiction of a collapsed merman taking his last breaths. Several times longer than human height, the sculpture confronts us with an image of death: in this case, the death of our collective childhood fantasies (who didn’t want to live among the mermaids when they were young?).
Jeremy Fish’s solo show “Yesterdays and Tomorrows” at San Francisco’s FFDG has a carefully planned installation. Black lines on the gallery’s left wall outline a cartoon thought bubble that houses almost 20 years worth of drawings; on the parallel wall of the narrow space, mural-scale paintings hang inside the hollow outlines of cartoon bunnies painted directly on the room’s surface. But at the opening night of “Yesterdays and Tomorrows,” it was difficult to even get close enough to see these meticulous details. A huge crowd had amassed to celebrate an informal retrospective of one of San Francisco’s most well-known artists from the past two decades.
Though the starting point of his work stems from complex ideas surrounding our perception of reality, Bruno Novelli makes these intellectual concepts an afterthought in his candy-colored abstract paintings. His work gives visual pleasure first and foremost. Novelli (who sometimes playfully stylizes his last name as 9li) recently presented a new series of paintings titled “Materia Radiante” at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver.