Fascinated by the way that water refracts light, Oliver Wilson paints swimmers wading in pools. The familiar sight becomes a graceful dance between light and water, the swimmers’ bodies fracturing into a million pieces that break up into organic yet kaleidoscopic patterns. Complementing this painting series, Wilson also frequently photographs swimmers and considers himself both a painter and a photographer. Painting, however, poses a much greater challenge to him, as he must capture the fluid motion and depth of water and light — a multi-layered process he likens to sculpture.
People across the world have come forward with claims that they’ve found the fabled Yeti or Big Foot. Though the elusive creature remains in the wild, photographer Mako Miyamoto seems to have come close to capturing it with his latest solo show, “Speculative Hunting.” In the humorous body of work, which debuts at Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco on April 25, models clad in Wookiee masks from Star Wars invade everyday circumstances where they look bizarre and out of place. Through his cinematic staging, which includes underwater scenes and even stunts, Miyamoto invites drama and humor into his work.
Adam S. Doyle’s oil paintings of animals and fantasy creatures emphasize the physicality of his medium. He appears to paint entire realistic creatures using just a few pronounced strokes, evoking the intentionality required for writing calligraphy. Doyle’s subjects are often woodland animals like wolves, rabbits, and crows, though he has other series inspired by mythology and folklore. His paintings resemble a dance between paint and brush and simultaneously remind us of his process while whisking away our imaginations with the final result.
Korean artist Won Beomsik disrupts the cohesiveness of city planning with his “Archisculpture” collage series, in which he cobbles together various buildings in unlikely ways. The latest addition to the series is “Archisculpture Antigravity,” in which he flips and reverses the orientation of edifices to defy physical laws. Won’s other series, “Dimension Finder,” turns buildings’ facades into kaleidoscopic patterns that look like portals into new dimensions. Using architecture as his visual language, he communicates ideas about perception and reality through these works.
As a kid, dropping your ice cream on the sidewalk was a moment of bitter disappointment. Michael Massaia makes us remember this childlike feeling of sadness with his photographs of melted ice cream — a feeling that you know is petty yet still breaks your heart. The artist simply places popsicles on black plexiglass and watches them melt over time. The original shape of a Spiderman or Spongebob pop turns into a swirling, oil slick-like pattern of pastel colors. The melted sweets evoke a nostalgic longing for carefree summers on the playground. Ice cream pops, something we hadn’t previously given much thought to, turn out to be a pretty powerful sensory symbol.
Born in Canada and based in Manhattan, Karel Funk discovered the meaning of personal space while riding the New York subway for the first time. His subjects are the every day men and women he observes there at a close range. As Funk closes in past the comfort zone, he’s met with a certain rejection. Their clothing, hair or headphones act like a modern day armor that shields the viewer from any possibility to engage. Some paintings show only a jacket, a hood, or the back of a girl’s ponytail. What is left for us to speculate are things like folds in fabric, which Funk renders to a hyper-realistic point, and we become a voyeur to these details.