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.
A new evolution of his menagerie of mutants, Nicholas Di Genova’s solo show “Ultima” is currently on view at LE Gallery in Toronto through September 27. Since we featured the artist back in Hi-Fructose Vol. 10, he has developed a new series of drawings and sculptures that bring to life his vision of hybridized species. Naturalistic diagrams explain in logical steps the genealogy and behaviors of parrot-men and shark-birds. While his drawings are flat and sometimes cartoon-like, his equally whimsical sculptures add another dimension to his visual vocabulary. Take a look at some works from “Ultima” below.
Joaquin Jara is versatile. Born in Barcelona, he studied art at La Llotja, in Barcelona, and the Camberwell College of Arts in London. He finished neither. Why should he? He knew precisely what he was doing.
Our thirty-third volume of Hi-Fructose arrives Oct.1! It includes a major feature on the late H.R. Giger with a memoriam by Clive Barker, a major feature on visionary painter/designer Syd Mead, the the exploded view world of T.Wei, Ellen Jewett’s intricate animal sculptures, Japanese artist Ai Yamaguchi’s Superflat paintings on rounded forms, Canadian Laurence Vallières’s cardboard assemblages, and German painter Heiko Müller’s disconcerting look at the balance between man and nature. Cover artist Kazuki Takamatsu, whose work we present in this issue’s Special Insert, uses modern 3-D technology to “sculpt” his scenes before creating his large paintings with layer upon layer of gouache. Corinne Botz captures truly haunting moments found in the game-changing crime scene dioramas of Frances Glessner. Master poster artist Chuck Sperry’s dazzling approach to print making is undeniably alluring. Plus, Jerome and Joel-Peter Witkin’s new mono (or is that duo?) graph, and Skinner’s new activity book, all in one place. See more previews and pre-order the issue here.