Have you ever wondered who paints the pictures used in movies? For his recent film The Grand Budapest Hotel, director Wes Anderson commissioned contemporary British figurative painter Michael Taylor to paint a fictional Renaissance portrait titled Boy with Apple. The film’s plot builds from the artwork, which features a stately, pre-pubescent boy in sumptuous fabrics, holding a plump, if not slightly bruised green apple. The charming intrigue of the subject is underscored by a slightly hesitant darkness in the boy’s expression and the less than perfect condition of the fruit of sin. This thematic element makes the subject present and vigilant, inciting anxiety and curiosity within the viewer. In many ways, this is Taylor’s signature.
Looking at Jeff Bark’s latest photo series “Goldenboy,” one can imagine oneself starting to sweat. The sun overcomes Bark’s sultry, summery scenes almost oppressively: Everything in the photos is drenched with a thick, yellow glow. Things begin to perspire, melt and crumble in the searing heat. The sun-kissed, scantily-clad male protagonist drifts off to sleep like the blissfully-hypnotized Lotus Eaters in Homer’s Odyssey. Bark’s photos are so stylized they register as paintings at a first glance. Rather than striving for a depiction of reality, he captures his own fantasy, weaving a vignette throughout his body of work through carefully-chosen close-ups that add depth to a narrative without words. It’s interesting to note that all of the photos were taken in and around the artist’s garage. Indeed, there is a sense of an otherworldly microcosm in this small space. Bark’s “Goldenboy” opens at Hasted Kraeutler in New York City on April 24 and will be on view through June 14.
The title of “Super Awesome: Art and Giant Robot” does not lie: It’s difficult to talk about this large-scale museum exhibition centered around the current generation of New Contemporary artists, ’90s counterculture and Asian American pop culture without using the word “awesome” somewhere in your explanation. “Super Awesome” debuted at the Oakland Museum of California last Friday to a huge crowd eager to celebrate 20 years of Giant Robot, an unclassifiable arts platform that has taken many different forms, from a zine to a glossy magazine to a gallery and boutique. Curated by Giant Robot founder Erik Nakamura, “Super Awesome” features many new and site-specific works, such as an enormous, immersive installation by digital art duo Kozyndan and a mural outside of the museum by Andrew Hem.
Self-taught French artist Lostfish has a sweet, yet haunting style that captures classical essence through doll-like figures. Her surreal paintings are an intentional mix of youth and adult sophistication, borrowing methods from Flemish painting and 19th century art. Her half-child, half-adult porcelain subjects have been described as disturbing, cute, and melancholy at the same time.
Theme parks, simulated landscapes — we are all familiar with them and flock to them as a form of escape from our everyday settings. Mary Anne Kluth draws a parallel from the them park to the landscape in her collage work, creating landscapes so exaggeratedly sublime that they become artificial. Her works, an array of colorful digital and traditional collages, examine the construction of these blissful lands. Read more after the jump.
It’s hard to imagine Parisian street artist Phillipe Baudelocque getting many complaints from property owners for putting up his art. His work is fascinating and intricate, and completely ephemeral: Chalk is Baudelocque’s unconventional medium of choice. The artist draws out animal figures with the white substance on dark surfaces, playing with the contrast to give the figures abstract details. Some of his work is strikingly large for being drawn with one chalk mark at a time. On the street, Baudelocque’s work is vulnerable to the elements and it is unpredictable how long each piece will last. Not all of his artwork is impermanent, however. The artist also has a repertoire of drawings on canvas and gallery installations. Baudelocque recently completed a lengthy rhinoceros mural in Paris. Take a look at this and some of his other recent work in the French capital after the jump.