Beijing based artist Wang Zhijie paints more than cartoonish renderings of pretty girls. They are a young generation born into the extravagant part of contemporary Chinese culture. His colorful portraits utilize ideal beauty in Chinese art; porcelain skin, shiny, dark hair, and an oval face with dramatic makeup. His background in animation shows in the way he stretches facial features to their limits. With “Big eyes” art style experiencing a boom, one can’t help but think of artists like Margaret Keane, or the application of Mark Ryden. They also enjoy material trinkets while possessing a look of fearlessness. Attractiveness cannot be fully achieved without inner beauty, and combined these create an asset that reflects certain social and financial success. In Zhijie’s view, his girls embody decades of economic prosperity in China.
Undocumented immigrants often describe feeling invisible in their new countries, as the significant parts of their day-to-day existence must be kept below the radar of those who can threaten their livelihoods. Colombian artist Rafael Gomezbarros touches upon this theme in his installation series “Casa Tomada,” in which giant sculptures of ants take over large, public spaces, confronting viewers with what they often overlook. “Casa Tomada” has previously appeared on the Colombian capitol building in Bogota and several art fairs in South America and the Caribbean. Its latest iteration is at Saatchi Gallery in London for their current exhibition, “Pangea: New Art from Africa and Latin America.”
While Rob and Christian Clayton (collectively known as the Clayton Brothers) are known for their color-saturated paintings of surreal characters, the artists shed their polished veneer in favor of quick drawings with a sense of immediacy for their upcoming show, “Open to the Public” at Mark Moore Gallery in LA. For the exhibition, the artists studied the peculiar microcosm of Sun Thrift Shop, a local second-hand store where trash becomes treasure. The Claytons present a series of assemblages and works on paper based on their documentation. They utilize not only found objects found at Sun Thrift, but sketches of customers who become warped through the brothers’ lens. Similarly to the ways thrift store shoppers find ways to repurpose used items, the Clayton Brothers offer a fresh perspective on what could easily be written off as shabby and mundane.
Setting soft and supple nudes against graphic patterns and textures, Brooklyn-based painter Sharon Sprung utilizes the tension between abstraction and realism to appease her own inner dichotomies and create art that expresses emotional complexities. But unlike many artists who muddle the polarities of figuration and abstraction into ambiguity, Sprung leaves them distinct, engendering a contrast that intensifies the impact of each.
Artist and curator Nathan Spoor takes over Copro Gallery in Santa Monica this month for another iteration of his “Suggestivism” group show, an annual exhibition with a rotating roster of contemporary artists. Spoor coined the term “Suggestivism” during his graduate studies to describe the type of ambiguous, fantastical figurative art he was creating. He later discovered that art historian Sadakichi Hartmann used the term as early as 1890 to describe “an art that is possibly more than it seems, or possibly an art that is not what it seems.” The description seems apt for the collection of dreamlike, imagination-driven works in the show, featuring artists like Amy Sol, Dan May, Scott Musgrove, Heidi Tailifer, Michael Page, Hannah Yata and Marco Mazzoni. Spoor has staged past versions of the show in LA, Rome and New York. Take a look at the new work in this year’s rendition below.
Known for his wheatpastes and murals that dot the California landscape, Eddie Colla explores the primitive instincts present in all people in his upcoming solo exhibition “Atavisms” at Ian Ross Gallery in San Francisco.