On April 24, Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia will debut two solo shows that explore humans’ connection to nature: Nicomi Nix Turner’s “No God for a Wanderer” and Sarah Louise Davey’s “The Garden of No Distant Place.” While Davey works in clay and Turner, in pencil, the two artists share a common interest in feminine, nymph-like characters that seem to belong in the wild.
Ryan Salge’s drawings capture the ephemeral: Not only the fleeting, small moments in people’s lives, but ever-evolving environmental factors like clouds, smoke, snow, and light, as well. Often set in suburbia, his skillfully rendered graphite drawings offer brief glimpses into his characters’ lives, where select details make the scene appear slightly out of the ordinary. Often, he organizes them like diptychs or triptychs, revealing details in ways that aren’t quite obvious, like clever editing in a film.
Miron Milic has always believed that nothing is sacred and that there are no untouchable subjects or themes that art shouldn’t or couldn’t address. So the first thing that came to mind when the Zagreb, Croatia-based artist entered the world of street art was to paint a self portrait. Aware of the culture of anonymity in street art, he instinctively wanted to go against the grain, baring himself with an almost mocking image. Painted on a small electric plant in a busy residential neighborhood of Zagreb, this piece illustrates Miron Milic’s artistic ideals in a nutshell.
Daniela Tieni’s drawings and paintings allow viewers to imagine what it might be like to live inside a storybook. Tieni invites us to follow her protagonists, who look like average young women we might see on any given day, through enchanted worlds. While her work is more grounded in reality than in the imagination, Tieni alters certain mundane details to give her work a surreal quality. Her work is highly stylized and has a painterly quality. The textures of her materials are evident in the marks she makes, revealing the essence of the human hand behind these images.
Artist and illustrator Ty Derk’s work has roots in fantasy illustration, but his personal projects stray far from the conventions of the genre. Monochromatic and set against clean, white backgrounds, Derk’s drawings present viewers with scientific sketches of alien specimens. Marine life fuses with elements of the human anatomy and even architecture. His creatures are armed with barbs, pincers, and armor-like exoskeletons — definitely not something we’d want to approach in the wild.
If you go to see the work of Istvan Orosz, bring a reflective, cylindrical object with you. A master of optics, Orosz creates drawings, etchings, and paintings of what look like distorted blobs when viewing the paper or canvas with the naked eye. Once the mirror is placed on top of the surface, however, coherent images emerge in the reflection. Based in Hungary, Orosz has worked as a set designer and illustrator and even created political posters for the Eastern European pro-democratic movement during the Cold War. Today, the work he creates is open-ended and surreal, focusing on the ways that our vision works and playing with expectations.