Public art and murals add an imaginative dimension to the daily humdrum of city life — a cause public art project Forest For The Trees is championing in Portland at Hellion Gallery. The gallery is currently hosting a two-week pop-up fundraiser show for FFTT, which is gearing up for a mural series in late August featuring the likes of Blaine Fontana, DAL, Faith47, Know Hope, Mary Iverson and many other international and Portland-based artists. The current group show at Hellion Gallery features works from a small selection of artworks from some of the participants: an assemblage by Fontana, psychedelic paintings by Brendan Monroe, a landscape collage by Mary Iverson and more. The exhibition is on view through May 30. Stay tuned for news about the Forest For The Trees mural series later this summer.
There’s a problematic aspect to Hiromi Tango’s sculptures that invites the viewer’s intervention, simply because they are a complete mess. Tangled bits of string, plush and rigid baubles are knotted together into a bulbous hodgepodge around a core of light, sometimes with a single word sculpted in neon at the center. Strands of fabric and material reach out like dendrites on a neuron, feeling for a connection but isolated from everything on a blank white gallery wall, asking the viewer to sit a while and try to untangle it.
Though Mike Parillo’s work appears to be a cacophony of colors at a first glance, the artist’s abstract oeuvre is executed with the tightness of illustration. His latest series of camouflage-like paintings for his solo show, “Just the Tip” at LA’s CES Contemporary, is a wild display of peacock tail hues. The colors take on cloud-like shapes or furry textures, rendered with precise line work that evokes early cartoons. The self-taught Parillo got his start as a commercial illustrator for snowboarding companies in the early ’90s and his paintings certainly reverberate with the energy of extreme sports culture and imagery.
Born in Hong Kong, raised in Vancouver, educated in Denmark, and currently residing in Berlin – Andrea Wan is an artist with a diverse and culturally rich background to draw upon. Inspired by her relationships with the various people and places she has encountered throughout her journeys, Wan’s illustrations and ink paintings seek to communicate narratives that seem influenced by folktales and children’s stories. Indeed, the surrealistic and whimsical scenes that Wan creates could be illustrations straight out of a trippy children’s book, à la Dr. Seuss, Lewis Carroll or Shel Siverstein.
Though Nicomi Nix Turner’s subtle graphite work resembles an intricate examination of the natural world, one would be surprised to learn that the artist uses absolutely no reference material. The skinny, springy mushrooms and horned beetles that often appear in her drawings are not modeled after a particular species. Instead, Turner enjoys playing god, in a way, and seeing what an ecosystem of her own creation would look like. People often tell her the human characters in her work resemble someone they know, said the artist, but perhaps the beauty of their faces is that they can evoke different memories for each viewer.
Moscow based photographer Katerina Plotnikova has been making a name for herself for her daring photos of young girls embracing wild beasts. (We first posted her work on our Facebook page.) Her haunting portraits are created with real, specially trained animals such as bears, owls, deer and foxes, blending surrealism with inspiration from fairytales. Perhaps our fascination with her images comes from a place we’ve almost forgotten, as deforestation and global warming become imminent threats to our planet. With each series, her work pushes the boundaries even further. Read more after the jump.