The bullfight has always been a ritual of extreme occult significance, heavily loaded with allegory. The primary meaning of the bullfight concerns the triumph of man over our own primal nature. Los Angeles based artist Brian Viveros, featured here, sees the bull and the sexy fighters of his upcoming exhibition “Matador” at Thinkspace Gallery as one and the same. While he thinks of the fight as a cruel tradition, he finds power and inspiration in its symbolism. We recently visited with Viveros at his Dirtyland studio to go behind the scenes of his matador-inspired exhibition, one of his most researched and dynamic bodies of work to date.
Artist duo Muntean / Rosenblum use traditional Christian iconography and Baroque modes of seeing to create mystique around contemporary life. Typically set in landscapes distinctive to the 21st century, such as nuclear plants and graffiti-ed railroad tracks, the paintings appear as documentary film stills or snapshots of our current reality. However, by contorting perspectives in a dramatic Caravaggio-esque manner and devising moments where pain or discomfort appear as main subjects, Muntean / Rosenblum cultivate the same aura of the unknown that is so captivating in paintings centuries old.
Originally hailing from New Mexico and now based in Los Angeles, Drew Merritt got his creative start in the urban Graffiti scene. His work blurs a line between the looseness of his street art and rich detail and sensitivity of classical painting. There is often an unfinished quality about his paintings as drips of paint fall off his subjects, laid against white backdrops tagged by spray paint. Usually, his paintings feature “pretty girls,” a description that Merritt hopes to shake.
In the middle of a small lake in Belgium, a rectangular piece of the water’s surface is mysteriously glowing. This elusive light is the design of Belgian artist duo Karel Burssens and Jeroen Verrecht, aka “88888”, whose works transform specific sites into art. Their otherworldly light installation, “Untitled”, was created for the Horst Art and Music Festival, located on one of the two moats that surround the medieval Horst Castle.
Kim Simonsson’s ceramic sculptures of strange children and their forest animal friends are like something out of a Nordic fairytale. Some of them have long ears giving them a fairy-like appearance, with empty eyes that make us wonder what lies underneath their ceramic “shell”. Previously featured on our blog, their strangeness is in part due to Simonsson’s combination of influences from Western and Eastern pop culture. Opening on October 8th, Simonsson will reveal his latest series at Jason Jacques Gallery in New York.
Before the cyanotype was popularized by artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Susan Derges and Florian Neusüss in the 1960s, it was used by architects, astronomers and botanists. It is therefore fitting that contemporary artist Tasha Lewis appropriates this method of camera-less photography to make anthropological sculptures. To transform her two-dimensional cyanotypes into three-dimensional objects, Lewis uses mixed-media paper, tape, wood, and wire to build the forms of human portraits, birds in flight and thawing animals, among other shapes and characters. She then uses a photochemical reduction process to print on cloth, which she hand-sews and patchworks together. The artist refers to this outer layer as the “skin” of her sculptures.