Chicago-based artist and illustrator Jacob van Loon’s watercolor paintings present an otherworldly architecture that explodes with abstract shapes and blotches of color. While watercolor is medium that is notoriously difficult to control, van Loon manipulates it into rigid lines and precise angles. At a certain point in the painting, however, he seems to get bored with structure and begins to dismantle his careful work with expressionistic, unrestrained brushstrokes. Some of his pieces incorporate organic shapes that he renders with intricate textures that evoke cell structures or perhaps an alien plant species.
Two solo exhibitions currently on view at Last Rites Gallery in New York, Kelley Hensing’s “The Animal Within” and N.C. Winters’s “Overgrowth” examine humankind’s darker impulses through folkloric visuals and occult imagery. Winters’s sculptural paintings with hand-crafted float frames depict characters undergoing processes of decay, their faces being consumed by plants and fungi. The artist explores the idea of being overtaken by nature as a metaphor for the voraciousness of an untamed, unruly mind.
Tonight, Mark Miller Gallery in New York celebrates what they call an anti-Santa event, “Beasticon II: Monstrous Art by Uncaged Creatures”. Co-curators Lori Nelson and Antony Zito are painters who glorify the eccentricities of their subjects. At her website, Nelson says, “I became interested in the nature of the Beast. Has the myth of the half-man-half-beast persisted because we have always all felt its undeniable presence on some level? Where does the Beast dwell? What does the Beast do for a living? What does the Beast do for fun? Most importantly, what is the Beast?” She and Zito posed these questions to other artists including Laetitia Soulier, Jessicka Addams, Christina Pitsch, Eduardo Benedetto, Joshua Ben Longo, and more, who offer a range of paintings and sculpture.
The dramas and battles we imagined our toys engaging in as kids come to life in Robert C. Jackson’s oil paintings. His work is populated by balloon dogs and apples that appear to be staging epic wars amid a landscape of colorful vegetable crates.
Daniel Nevins creates acrylic paintings on wood with a sense of movement. Voluminous abstract forms billow like fabrics in the wind or appear to float as if submerged in water. Nevins’s color choices are bright and triumphant. In some paintings, rods of color emerge like streamers or confetti, adding to the celebratory ambiance. Nevins explained that he is inspired by the natural world. His work appropriates the organic forms he observes in nature to create this floating, psychedelic universe. The Asheville, NC-based artist will have a piece in the upcoming juried exhibition, “Contemporary South,” opening at Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC on January 2.
Portuguese street artist Add Fuel cleverly combines tradition and modernity in his murals, which borrow the techniques of a traditional style of Portuguese glazed tile work called azulejo. At a first glance, the blue, ornate glazed patterns of azulejo remain intact, but upon closer inspection, one begins to make out whimsical, cartoon-inspired characters in the classic designs. Add Fuel is also a commercial illustrator and toy designer, and the surreal creatures embedded in his tile work evoke a Pop-inspired aesthetic. He frequently juxtaposes clashing tile patterns to create images and text within the decorative motifs, resulting in many images hidden within images. Take a look at some of his recent work below.