Though the core of Benjamin Constantine’s work is illustration, his use of ink with brushes instead of pens or markers gives it an ethereal, painterly quality. The Brisbane-based artist often mixes traditional and digital techniques, laying out a composition with ink and adding color in Photoshop. Traditional paintings exist in his repertoire, as well. His work is textured and chaotic: Even when a central figure is present, Constantine floods in the backgrounds with minutiae that occupy his environments. Often, though, the scenes are organized like the Dutch genre paintings of the Northern Renaissance, where multitudes of figures are depicted on an equal plane, each person engaged in his or her own activity. Constantine’s work pulses with action, with every crevice filled with texture and line work — so much so that the eye doesn’t know where to stop.
In his portrait series, the Austrian artist Aldo Tolino deconstructs, folds, reassembles and weaves printed photographs in order to create origami-like sculptural pieces. Tolino then re-photographs the works, converting the pieces back into two-dimensional objects. The disturbing quality of the images may not just be due to the fact that the folded faces appear distorted, disproportional and almost entirely stripped of identity. In their conversion back to a photographic object, these pieces also suggest a cycle of infinite reprocessing and deformation, wherein the portrait will only continue to move further away from the original “true” image. This perhaps serves to remind us of the precarious nature of photography itself; the lack of control we have over photographic images, the instability of their meaning and function, which can be both liberating and unsettling.
Aakash Nihalani approaches space almost like a cartoonist. Just like when Tom would chase Jerry through brick walls, even the solid surfaces in Nihalani’s work become permeable. His work is primarily abstract and geometric; tape is a starting point to delineate shapes that get filled in with brushes and rollers. The neon, rectilinear forms sometimes shoot through surfaces like bullets or lightning bolts, carefully cut to create an optical illusion of breaking through a wall or a panel. Through this illusion of free movement, one gets the sensation that these shapes are actually animate and operate according to their own physical laws. Nihalani currently has a solo show in Rome’s Wunderkammern, “Vantage,” that includes a site-specific installation as well as several new street art piece created leading up to the show.
For Swoon’s latest site-specific installation ”Submerged Motherlands,” the artist brings together familiar faces of all shapes and sizes in to the open space rotunda of the Brooklyn Museum. Nestled around a staggering 70-foot tree and its many shadowy branches, the colossal aboriginal man from the artist’s 2011 show “Anthropocene Extinction” laughs on one entrance point of the installation as the sea goddesses and their oozing capilllaries of “Thalassa” frame an alternate passage. The throng of highly-detailed bamboo, cut paper, linoleum and woodcuts are, at the core, not at all a far departure from the type of work Swoon has been constructing for over a decade, yet the body of works is able to find a virtually revamped context, one that circles around and bleeds out from the idea of the home.
Relatively young for her level of acclaim, Toronto-based artist Winnie Truong (Hi-Fructose Vol. 22 cover artist) created her latest body of work, “Rites of Passage,” as a meditation on crossing the quarter-century mark of her lifetime. The new series of drawings, which debuted at Copenhagen’s Galleri Benoni on April 4, reflect Truong’s simultaneous awareness of her youth and her mortality. “The coming of age theme to ‘Rites of Passage’ is an ambivalent take on my experiences of growth, decay and stagnation,” Truong wrote in an email to Hi-Fructose. “It’s about moving through those transitional stages of adult life without fanfare, or epiphany.” Read more after the jump.
The work of architect and photographer Dionisio González focuses on the chaos caused by both man and nature. Using art as social action, González reveals economic disparities, and ultimately uses the power of architecture for an antidote to the world’s problems. Traveling to far corners of the world, such as Ha Long Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin and Busan in South Korea, González, who was born in the autonomous Spanish province of Gijón, makes hypothetical interventions within communities largely isolated from the developed world, which have been ravaged by natural or economic disaster.