While the collective mindset at some street art festivals seems to be “go big or go home,” at NuArt Festival in Stavanger, Norway, the line-up of artists seemed more concerned with creating deliberately-placed works with an underlying political punch. That’s not to say that a few mammoth pieces weren’t painted. Polish duo Etam Cru (who are featured in our current issue, Hi-Fructose Vol. 32), true to their form, left behind a storybook-like mural that added color to the overcast landscape. The piece pictured a sleeping boy tucked into his bed with a can of spray paint sticking out from under the covers — a young artist in the making.
Last Friday night, La Luz de Jesus gallery in Hollywood dotted their walls with over 1,000 coasters customized by international artists. Just as many came out in attendance and were still talking about the show days later. You can spend a good hour skimming through everything and still not see it all. Don’t let the name fool you- these tiny pieces of artwork can hardly be called coasters.
In its 9th year, the “BLAB!” group show comes to Copro Gallery in Santa Monica once again, featuring a selection of works by some well-known creators in the New Contemporary gallery scene. From Joe Sorren’s soft, storybook-like works to Ryan Heshka’s satirical, pulp-inspired scenes and Travis Lampe’s maniacal cartoon characters, the artists cover a broad range of styles that stem from the low brow and Pop Surrealist movements. Curated by art director, designer and editor Monte Beauchamp, the exhibition coincides with release of his third art anthology, BLAB World 3, which features the work of the aforementioned artists and many more. The exhibition opens on September 13 alongside Yoko d’Holbachie’s solo show “Genesis of Girls.” Take a look at our preview of both shows below.
All that should look solid melts right off in the compositions of Alessandro Ripane. Many of his characters have a mass of dripping liquid with plants protruding in all directions in lieu of real faces. Other figures sprout plants from their limbs while their gleaming white bones peek through. Yet these morbid compositions manage to keep a whimsical twist; in some, giant pink ice cream cones drip heavily. Genoa-born Ripane remembers collecting comic books and volumes on wild animals, a habit that definitely informs his strange imagery. Each vignette gives the sensation that the viewer is walking in on the strange characters. A couple cuddling becomes a strange mass of plants, melting parts and mangled flesh. But not all is lost: Ripane makes sure to let one of the figures keep his socks and shoes on. Part Surrealism, part satire and all visceral, Ripane’s works leave few parts intact but offer plenty of visual gems.
Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed draws from the rich tradition of Middle Eastern carpet weaving to spin surreal creations that seem to defy physical laws — and the staticness of cultural relics. Sometimes his carpets appear to melt, their patterns dissolving into a pool of swirling colors like an oil slick, and other times they become three-dimensional, rising up in sharp spikes that defy the two-dimensional form. These are not carpets to be walked upon. Since we introduced Ahmed on the blog last May, he has created a new body of work that will debut at Cuadro Gallery in Dubai on September 14. A unique space in Dubai’s financial center, Cuadro is a non-profit gallery where Ahmed recently completed an artist residency. Take a look at some photos from Ahmed’s studio and his new works below.
Japanese Pop artist Keiichi Tanaami has rarely seen artwork now on view at New York contemporary art gallery Sikkema Jenkins & Co. When we covered his 2013 solo exhibition at Mizuma Gallery, his art went through a turning point. His fascination with life after a near-death experience inspired him to look to the future, rather than the past. The artwork in this show is not new- but Tanaami’s mixture of motifs from the past inspires modern questions that keeps his art relevant.