Chinese-born, South Africa-based artist DALeast was recently in Poland painting a new mural for the Street Art Doping mural festival in Warsaw. This is one of the few murals he has painted as of late, as he has been focusing on studio work this year. DAL’s distinctive style evolved from his effort to paint large pieces without using much paint, a technique he came up with back in his homeland. As time went on, this technique became his unique, recognizable signature.
British artist Joe Fenton infuses his immensely detailed graphite and mixed-media drawings of interplanetary iconography with inspiration from religious artifacts from centuries past — the ornate frames of gilded Orthodox icons, Tibetan Buddhist altars with their elaborate wood carvings. East and West come together in these large, fantastical works. Fenton is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, but his personal work tackles heavier topics. The artist says that much of his drawings explore the idea of death, namely the fear of death — an anxiety many appease through religion and spirituality. Fenton’s baroque, intense scenes are cramped with hellish visions and strange spirits, densely filling each page with deities and demons from a fantasy belief system rife with occult symbols.
So close, yet so far. It’s an idiom that seems to fit these curious, misty paintings by New York based artist Kristy Gordon. Her indirect self portraits and otherwise mundane scenes have a mysterious ambiance and depth. Gordon’s technique creates this illusion by depicting closer objects as paler, less detailed, in lower contrast than those away from us. At the same time, there is directness in the way she returns the observer’s gaze. Her treatment of atmosphere here sets the tone for the relationship between object and viewer. See more of her work after the jump.
During the late Italian Renaissance, ‘Mannerist’ artists had technically mastered the nude and began playing with her proportions. Toronto based artist Troy Brooks uses the same visual language in his figurative paintings of elongated women. The ‘women of Troy’ are characteristically fashion forward and emotionally indifferent; caught between moments of boredom, rebellion, and transformation. Often, his blonde ‘heroine’ is compared to Psycho’s Norma Bates, which might cast her as a manipulative she-devil. She is posed in weird environments of soft colors that match her pale white skin. Her abnormally stretched limbs are almost torturous-looking and unsettling, complimenting Brook’s bizarre themes.
Miriam Escofet creates rich oil paintings of idyllic scenes that nostalgically allude to classical antiquity. Perhaps the only notes of pessimism in these sumptuous depictions of ornate architecture, statues and jewels is that Escofet’s heavenly world seem to be nearly devoid of human inhabitants. This is a place that seems to belong to the gods — too perfect for mortals. Escofet originally studied 3D design and set out to be a ceramicist, which explains her attention to texture and volume. Each crease of fabric and crevice within a tree’s bark is rendered with precision. Light and shadow are greatly contrasted to a level beyond what we normally experience with the human eye, making Escofet’s fictional lands seem vivid yet illusory.
Austrian-born Stefan Zsaitsits creates intricately-detailed and deranged works with a sense of humor. Take for instance “Puppet,” an uncommon portrait of fairytale icon Pinocchio — half of his sweet face is scratched off with harsh dark lines. His wooden arm seems worn and his one bulging eye shows a mix of fear and sadness. Other anonymous figures seem to come from sort of equally distorted children’s tale. If you line up Zsaitsits’s quirky characters in a row — a little boy with a still-feathered chicken in mouth, a Magritte-like figure with no face except glasses and a floating ear — they look like clues to a larger narrative where it seems things went comically wrong. The artist’s paintings look more somber and eerie in contrast with many severed body parts and depressing scenes. No matter the medium, the artist creates intriguing scenes that entice the viewer even while threatening to turn them away with unsettling details.