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.
Allyson Mellberg draws futuristic biological advancements inspired by science fiction. In her latest solo show at LJ Gallery in Paris, “The Planet of Doubt,” Mellberg renders human characters covered in strange growths that resemble rocks, leaves, and sea urchins. The work enters ambiguous territory as, in some pieces, the characters appear pockmarked and disease-ridden, while in others, their strange appendages seem to give them superhuman powers. The drawings allude to the power of communing with nature and meditation to help us transcend our circumstances and deal with chronic anxiety and sickness.
Paul Romano presents a new series of melancholic paintings for his solo show, “Boundless,” opening at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia on May 1. The works in “Boundless” examine the turns that life can take and celebrate the beauty that can emerge from dark times. “‘Boundless’ does have a leaning in the melancholy, contemplating ideas of oneself through tribulation and loss and then, what remains,” writes Romano. “What is left is hopeful, the vastness of oneself, not defined by outside perceptions, or objects, or a place, or a relationship.” His highly symbolic paintings draw from personal experiences, fantasy, and mythology alike, emerging with narratives that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit.
There is nothing perfect about the pretty “Tokyo girls” that artist Tomoyoshi Sakamoto paints. Sweet with a twist of irony, his acrylic paintings are representative of Neo-Nihonga Japanese style. In one painting, girls play “dress up” in a scene that would look like any typical sleepover. As they apply their makeup, one horrifyingly ties strings to another’s watery eyes. Tears are a common characteristic of Sakamoto’s subjects, as they inflict pain and humiliation upon themselves. Not all of his works are graphic, but more melancholy.