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.
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.
Images of an infant’s face marked with a plastic surgeon’s pen and an elderly woman with wrinkled skin that glows green under the light of a tanning bed are just some of the deeply disturbing images that will be displayed at Gusford Gallery as part of Oliver Jones’s solo exhibition, “Love the Skin You’re In,” opening September 12.
Sarah A. Smith has a particular set of drawings that merit notice for their expressive qualities. Her subject is the natural world. The compositions are dynamic and fluid, coiled in mid-strike. If you didn’t know they were drawings, you might think they were dioramas. Subject matter includes eagles and wolves, trees and shrubs. Sometimes there’s a drawing of an eagle, sometimes there’s one of a wolf. Sometimes the two are locked in combat though, as in Eagle Vs. Wolf, you can only see the wolf responding to the eagle overhead. The work is dynamic. The shapes are sharp and angular. They look like lightning bolts. If you could rub the head of the eagle or the wolf, you’d feel its coarse texture. Likewise with the bark of the trees: rub it and you’d get splinters. The scenes offer voyeuristic views of the natural world in its rawest element. It’s a perilous, zero sum world. Its narrow color palette suggests bleakness.
A couple of weeks ago, Pejac shared a simple window drawing on his Facebook profile, as a tribute to legendary French high-wire walker, Philippe Petit. The drawing was done using acrylic on a window glass to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. This simple idea, captured on camera by his friend Silvia Guinovart Pujol, shows the riskiness and fragility of the art of tightrope and is a great example of the Spanish artist’s style: simple, minimalist yet effective.
Jon MacNair opens windows into cryptic worlds with his monochromatic pen-and-ink drawings. His work has a decidedly vintage, if not medieval, feel. The artist renders elaborate depictions of self-created myths and legends, but rather than being grandiose, the tone of his work is self-aware and humorous. Demons and shamans mug for the viewer while performing rituals and spells. Some of his drawings show gratuitous, cartoon violence akin to that of heavy metal album art and skateboard graphics. MacNair has a solo show opening at Portland’s Antler Gallery this Thursday, August 28, titled “Age of Enigmas.” In addition to his own work, the exhibition will feature MacNair’s collaborations with five other artists he admires: Jennifer Parks, Trudy Creen, Mark Burt, Ian Anderson, and Michael Hsiung.