by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Jon MacNair opens windows into cryptic worlds with his monochromatic pen-and-ink drawings. His work has a decidedly vintage, if not medieval, feel. The artist renders elaborate depictions of self-created myths and legends, but rather than being grandiose, the tone of his work is self-aware and humorous. Demons and shamans mug for the viewer while performing rituals and spells. Some of his drawings show gratuitous, cartoon violence akin to that of heavy metal album art and skateboard graphics. MacNair has a solo show opening at Portland’s Antler Gallery this Thursday, August 28, titled “Age of Enigmas.” In addition to his own work, the exhibition will feature MacNair’s collaborations with five other artists he admires: Jennifer Parks, Trudy Creen, Mark Burt, Ian Anderson, and Michael Hsiung.

by CaroPosted on

Christine Wu’s (covered here) art draws emotional tension from its soft, tonal palette and sketchy layers. She guides the viewer’s eye with detailed points of interest and spots of colored light. Fundamentally, warm light might imply comfort, cheerful emotions, while cool hues imply something more mysterious. Wu intentionally manipulates the light and color of a scene to achieve a variety of effects. Her next series of paintings is inspired by morning light. She will exhibit these with Kyle Stewart, Hannah Yata, and Melissa Haslam at Parlor Gallery, opening September 13th. We visited her new studio in Los Angeles for a preview.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

While he works primarily in advertising and editorial photography, Richard Burbridge has a vision that’s distinctly his own, no matter who the client is. The photographer has been based in New York City since 1993 and has shot a slew of covers and fashion features for the likes of Italian Vogue and Dazed & Confused. Though he photographs models in luxurious couture, Burbridge throws traditional beauty conventions out the window. He often alters the models’ faces and bodies with surreal props — bondage masks, baby doll heads, food, foam and anything that will give his sitters an otherworldly appearance. Unafraid to violate the models’ pristine hair and clothing, Burbridge confronts viewers with the beauty within the ugliness (and vice versa) and creates images that challenge our expectations.

by Eva RecinosPosted on

With a decidedly Victorian twist, Olex Oleole puts together images that don’t quite fit together. A phonograph emerges from a heart while what look like animals behinds are sliced off and held together by two strings. Eventually, themes begin to emerge. A Nike logo appears over a cryptic figure with the snarky title Throw caution to the wind and just do it. Another shows a woman’s head turned into a vintage camera with the words Maybe you should consider keeping your selfies to yourself? Each piece feels surreal even while it looks familiar. The juxtaposition of human and machine or modern logo and mysterious character feels like a puzzle waiting to be solved. Once you put the pieces together — mostly with the help of each biting title — the other little details make the joke that much funnier. The conflation of time works just right, as the men and women in Victorian dress remind us of the age-old folies of vanity, consumption and more.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

In its second year, Forest for the Trees, curated by gallerist Matt Wagner and artist Gage Hamilton, brought together 20 international and local artists in Portland for a few days of mural painting intended to encourage the growth of public art in a city already known for its creative flair. Unlike other street art festivals around the world, Forest for the Trees had a notable presence of artists you wouldn’t necessarily put in the street art or graffiti camps.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Eric Petersen is a methodical, calculated artist. He opts to work digitally to remove any personalized evidence of the human touch. He chooses the colors of his works like a scientist dropping carefully-measured chemicals into a vile: The intended effect of these contrasting, bright shades, says Petersen, is one of unsettlement. He sets up compositions that are at once harmonious and jarring. Geometric shapes appear to slice through his planes with razor sharp precision of placement. Yet their rhythmic arrangements give his work a sense of harmony, even while the electric blue, neon yellow and sunset orange hues simultaneously vie for viewers’ attention.