Ben Howe’s haunting images of broken, sliced and shredded faces may resemble digitally altered photographs, yet they are actually oil paintings rendered on canvas and board. Part of his ongoing series titled Surface Variations, the paintings are not only visually startling, but also deeply reflective on the nature of human consciousness — challenging our perception of the human form and exploring concepts of fractured memory and identity. The latest additions to the series are currently featured in Transmogrify, a group exhibition at the beinArt Gallery, until July 19.
Faces meld together; severed, broken hands are fixed in gripped positions. These are sculptures by Los Angeles artist Sarah Sitkin, who crafts unsettling, occasionally grotesque works made with materials like silicone, resin, latex, plaster, and clay. It’s not that the artist is trying to shock, even if some of the imagery recalls the darker films of David Cronenberg; Sitkin just seems to have found a different way of looking at the humanity. Check out the artist’s Instagram here.
Swedish fashion designer Bea Szenfeld is known for her experimental style that uses unconventional materials to create her extraordinary pieces. Her Haute Papier collection features handmade outfits constructed entirely from paper, showcasing her imaginative approach and technical ability to transform the material into wearable art. Now, Szenfeld takes her origami-inspired fashion from the runway to the theatre in a collaboration with the Royal Swedish Opera, featuring dancers modeling her designs. The images of ballerinas dressed in Szenfeld’s voluminous, sculptural costumes are currently on display at the Dansmuseet in Stockholm in an exhibition called “Everything You Can Imagine is Real”. Images by Karolina Henke.
The skin-toned, sporadically hairy ceramic sculptures crafted by Jason Briggs can be both unsettling and entice one to touch. The artist says he aspires to create things he’s “never quite seen before.” And as for compelling viewers for closer inspection, that’s part of his charge, too: “Though my objects contain strong visual references, I am more interested in the implied tactile ones; the things that stir in me a compulsion to touch,” his statement says. “Beyond other external inspiration lies this basic, primal impulse. I recognize – and act upon – a profound desire to push, poke, squeeze, stroke, caress, and pinch. I intend for my pieces to invoke a similar sort of temptation.”
Esteban del Valle, a Chicago native, is an interdisciplinary artist now based in Brooklyn. Del Valle’s work mixes painting, drawing, sculpture, video, and street art. That versatile approach can be seen in the recent body of work “Displacing Waves,” a vibrant, distorted collection of pieces that tap into the style of political cartoons. The artist displayed the work at Superchief Gallery in Los Angeles earlier this year, and most recent works-in-progress can be seen on his Instagram, here.
Annemarie Busschers (featured on our blog here) is fascinated by human imperfection. As a society, we tend to run away from anything that renders us imperfect – yet from the artist’s viewpoint, these traits we so eagerly try to disown are what lend to an individual’s distinction. Busscher’s embrace of all imperfections is reflected in her raw, emotive portraits of people, which focus deeply on the lines, textures, and colorations of the skin’s surface to draw attention to her subjects’ flaws and irregularities.