Washington, DC. based artist Ashley Oubré creates compelling photoreal images with just carbon pencil, graphite and india ink. Her drawings capture private moments of shame and humiliation from insecurities that many of us face. As someone who once fought depression, she’s set out to embrace what society considers abnormal; obesity, stretch marks, age spots, and twisted spines. These are the characteristics that connect her subjects.
As the name might suggest, Portland’s Antler Gallery showcases many artists whose work deals with the natural world. Their appreciation of animal-inspired art precipitated the annual exhibition, “Brink,” which is now in its third year. Opening on January 29, the group show features artists such as Chie Yoshii, Jon MacNair, Caitlin McCormack, Brin Levinson, Kevin Earl Taylor, and Antler owners Susannah Kelly and Neil Perry, among others. Part of the show’s proceeds will benefit the Audubon Society of Portland, which does work to protect the region’s birds and their habitats.
The subjects of Brooklyn based painter John Jacobsmeyer live in a pine-wooded virtual realm. His childhood memories of building clubhouses with scrap wood were realized later in life at a struggling artist. “It Came from a Pine Box”, his solo on view at Gallery Poulson in Denmark, blends what was make-believe with reality. Set in the sterile environment of a pine box, Jacobsmeyer reveals what happens behind teenagers’ closed doors.
Lebanese photographer Lara Zankoul’s fairytale-esque series “The Unseen” looks like it could have been the result of some clever PhotoShop, but in reality the artist created her imaginative, underwater scenes by inviting models to submerge themselves in a human-scale fish tank. Outfitted like a retro domestic interior, the glass box provided a nostalgic setting for Zankoul to stage cheeky scenarios of subaquatic home life. A process video reveals her models climbing into the tank from a ladder in their pristine formalwear. The resulting photographs allow viewers to suspend disbelief and immerse themselves in Zankoul’s whimsical narratives.
Italian artist Gianluca Traina blurs the boundaries between photography and sculpture with his “Portrait 360″ series. The artist shoots photos of anonymous subjects, zeroing in on their faces. Using a warp and weft technique (a method of weaving often used in traditional carpet-making), he weaves the 2D images into three-dimensional busts. The blurred, digitized photos become further distorted when Traina toys with their orientation, creating a continual interplay between the photographed and sculpted faces.
Spanish street artist Gonzalo Borondo, who typically goes by his last name alone, paints expressionistic portraits on unusual surfaces. The street artist creates his work with the surrounding environment in mind, his paintings responding to the architecture on which they are rendered. Borondo’s solo show “Animal” opens at RexRomae Gallery in London on February 5 and features new paintings as well as installation and hand-painted animations. For the exhibition, Borondo said he investigated man’s tendency to control his environment so as to distract himself from his animalistic nature and, ultimately, his mortality.