Seattle-based artist Olivia Knapp conjures ornate arrangements of commonplace objects and anatomical parts in strange still lives that evoke the Baroque period. Though she received her eduction in fashion design from Parsons and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Knapp focuses her energy on the technical mastery of drawing with pen and ink. Inspired by centuries-old illustrations in scientific texts, she carefully studies the techniques of 16th-century master engravers, boiling her cross-hatching techniques down to a science to achieve a rich range of values and convincing depth.
Never one to shy away from the macabre, artist and graphic designer Hedi Xandt is known in art circles for his beautifully ghoulish sculptural pieces, which often incorporate elements of the human skeleton. His fascination with skulls and the human profile has led to a series of busts reminiscent of classical Hellenic Greek art. Taking inspiration from ancient Gods and beauties carved in marble, Xandt transforms these figures of perfection to align with his own dark vision.
When Finland based artist Kim Simonsson began experimenting with figurative ceramic art in the 90s, it caught people by surprise. The term ‘ceramic’ brings to mind sophisticated objects, but his is a decidedly unusual mix of Eastern traditional materials and pop culture. “The subject of my work, as a rule, are children, animals, or something in between,” he shares. There are glazed-white ghostly children ‘bullying’ exotic wild animals like panthers and deer, or jumping into metallic puddles. See more after the jump!
This past weekend, Philadelphia-based artist Jim Houser opened his solo show at FFDG in San Francisco. Titled “Night Got Quiet, Not Quite Light.” The exhibition consists of Houser’s highly recognizable patchwork assemblages, as well as some minimalist mixed media works and site specific installations. Predominantly confined to his signature square format, this new show is a continuation of Houser’s exploration into the relationship between the visual and the aural. The interplay between text and imagery in Houser’s work makes way for an emotional narrative open to the interpretation of the viewer. Playfully rendered and meticulously composed, Houser acts as a visual storyteller, evoking an unencumbered youthful sentiment.
“Sasayaki No Tsudoi” Translation: Gathering Whispers. On Saturday night, Giant Robot celebrated Edwin Ushiro’s new ‘tra-digital’ works on plexiglass (previewed here), a luminous combination of traditional and digital. When we last saw him, it was back in 2010 for his show with Yoskay Yamamoto at Roq La Rue, Ushiro’s first trial with this technique. His unique manner of working was recently documented in Thrash Lab x Giant Robot’s artist documentary series, which played at the opening. It offered a rare insight into his private process of sketching, digitally painting, and reapplying the work onto plexiglass for final, hand painted touches.
The hyper-realistic oil paintings of Joshua Suda will make you question whether you’re looking at a painting or a photograph as he recreates the features of the human face with stunning accuracy. Going beyond replicating life, many of Suda’s pieces also have elements of surrealism. Bizarre compositions, mixed with Suda’s impressive attention to detail, result in uncanny contortions of the human face. He often breaks the fourth wall, playing with the foreground and background to make it appear that the subject is bursting through the surface of the piece. In other works, he paints to mimic other media, replicating the detail of everything from pencil drawings to old photographs and contrasting them with how the subjects might appear to the human eye.