“I think that there is a lot to point out, and to work against in daily life, particularly with respect to American culture,” said Dane Patterson in an interview with Art Plural Gallery, where he had his last solo show in 2013. “We are creatures of habit and we can quickly fall into routine. We’re rarely aware of the way we compartmentalize everything in our lives, or have had things defined and compartmentalized for us.” His graphite drawings begin as documentations of daily life — but they evolve into strange hybrids of images intended to stir up the ritualistic qualities of our mundane existence. Patterson works from photographs in a process he describes as sculptural. First, he stages a scene, shoots it, and then combine the resulting photographic image with other sourced material to create a meticulous, surreal pencil drawing on paper.
British artist Joe Fenton infuses his immensely detailed graphite and mixed-media drawings of interplanetary iconography with inspiration from religious artifacts from centuries past — the ornate frames of gilded Orthodox icons, Tibetan Buddhist altars with their elaborate wood carvings. East and West come together in these large, fantastical works. Fenton is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, but his personal work tackles heavier topics. The artist says that much of his drawings explore the idea of death, namely the fear of death — an anxiety many appease through religion and spirituality. Fenton’s baroque, intense scenes are cramped with hellish visions and strange spirits, densely filling each page with deities and demons from a fantasy belief system rife with occult symbols.
Austrian-born Stefan Zsaitsits creates intricately-detailed and deranged works with a sense of humor. Take for instance “Puppet,” an uncommon portrait of fairytale icon Pinocchio — half of his sweet face is scratched off with harsh dark lines. His wooden arm seems worn and his one bulging eye shows a mix of fear and sadness. Other anonymous figures seem to come from sort of equally distorted children’s tale. If you line up Zsaitsits’s quirky characters in a row — a little boy with a still-feathered chicken in mouth, a Magritte-like figure with no face except glasses and a floating ear — they look like clues to a larger narrative where it seems things went comically wrong. The artist’s paintings look more somber and eerie in contrast with many severed body parts and depressing scenes. No matter the medium, the artist creates intriguing scenes that entice the viewer even while threatening to turn them away with unsettling details.
Seattle-based artist Olivia Knapp conjures ornate arrangements of commonplace objects and anatomical parts in strange still lives that evoke the Baroque period. Though she received her eduction in fashion design from Parsons and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Knapp focuses her energy on the technical mastery of drawing with pen and ink. Inspired by centuries-old illustrations in scientific texts, she carefully studies the techniques of 16th-century master engravers, boiling her cross-hatching techniques down to a science to achieve a rich range of values and convincing depth.
Portland-based Korean artist Samantha Wall draws perceptive representations of women who exhibit a range of emotions and attitude. Her experience with ‘multi-raciality’ between living in Korea and now the United States inspired her latest drawings, “Indivisible” but it has roots in her previous works. Her simple yet profound drawings are the result of her own experiences and feelings. Emotional desire creates moments of hyper awareness, a characteristic specific to human nature. Wall believes that how we position ourselves in the world directly relates to our bond with others. Read more after the jump.
A Medium is an individual held to be a channel of communication between the earthly world and a world of spirits. In art, medium refers to a mode of artistic expression or communication. For Australian artist Lucy Hardie, whose elaborate drawings explore spirituality and duality of nature, they are one and the same. Hardie is the great granddaughter of a Medium. A story that has been passed down is that her grandmother once walked into a séance and saw a person levitating. Inspired by her own history and personal experience, Hardie then combines symbols of life after death and awakening to capture that which connects us.