Shih Yung-Chun paints surreal re-imaginings of everyday scenes, where adults occupy themselves with strange activities like bored kids creating their own games during summer vacation. Puppets, dolls, animals, and figurines are recurring motifs in Shih’s world, which seems believable yet slightly off balance. The Taipei-based artist inserts autobiographical snippets in many of the paintings: Some of his scenes are set in his own house and he and his white French bulldog make occasional appearances. Shih has referred to his works as “soap operas,” hinting at their highly fictionalized nature. Take a look at some of his work below.
Emerging London artist Lakwena Maciver has been making a name for herself with her bold, text-based murals. After traveling the globe with her street art, the artist recently touched down in LA for her solo show, “I Remember Paradise,” on view at Papillion Art through March 15.
Werewolves, dancing aliens and 8-legged cats are just a few of the comical characters in Theo Ellsworth’s show “Solvers”, now on view at GR2, Los Angeles. It will come as no surprise that the Montana based artist and graphic novelist is inspired by all things fantastic. For this show, Ellsworth etched 73 whimsical illustrations of impossible creatures and objects. His wood-carved paintings are like a cross between our elementary schoolbook doodles and Where the Wild Things Are, drawn in Maurice Sendak’s cross hatched style. Looking at Ellsworth’s intricately detailed work is almost dizzying. A web of continuous lines and shapes energize his characters and bring their chaotic world to life.
Beata Chrzanowska illustrates the intoxicating feeling of a first kiss with her mixed-media paintings. Inspired by Art Deco, she frames her subjects’ faces in geometric patterns with bold color schemes. Within each piece, her imagery oscillates between flat and voluminous, calculated and spontaneous, and the narrative storyline gets lost in the decorative motifs that dominate her work. Originally from Poland, Chrzanowska was raised in Chicago and is currently based in New York. In addition to her paintings, she has a portfolio of collages that share a similar interplay between figurative and abstract. Take a look at some of her recent paintings below.
The selfie and the woven tapestry are just about as disparate as two media can get. While the former is snapped quickly and effortlessly to join a stream of endless images, the latter is created through a painstaking process that beckons a more thoughtful viewing than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Erin M. Riley subverts our image consumption habits — and the hierarchy of types of images in general — with her hand-woven tapestries, which she bases on selfies of anonymous women found on the internet. Riley culls her source imagery from social media, taking throwaway, low-res photos and cementing them into handmade, physical objects with a much longer lifespan. The artist will present her latest body of work, “Something Precious,” at Soze Gallery in Los Angeles in February 21.
Mahmoud Jouini’s digital artworks are filled with sweeping bird’s eye views that look like something one might see while cruising in a helicopter over Jupiter. The Libyan artist and graphic designer created this series using 3D modeling software, though certain pieces look like extreme close-ups of bacteria under a microscope or perhaps otherworldly landscape photography. Jouini’s uses acidic colors that swirl in oil slick-like patterns; forests of mysterious growths punctuate his fluorescent lagoons. Virtually uninhabited, his toxic planet looks simultaneously inhospitable and alluring.