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.
Adonna Khare creates mural-scale pencil drawings inspired by the animal world. Anthropomorphized animals interact in mysterious forests shrouded in plants and overhanging branches. Khare’s work evokes Aesop’s Fables with its storybook-like narratives. While her drawings might appear allegorical, they are also open-ended and surreal. The artist won the 2012 Art Prize competition and has work in the permanent collections of the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
With a new piece dated every few days between November 2014 and January 2015, Mike Giant’s latest series of drawings serves as a map of the current state of the artist’s life. Though Giant is originally from New Mexico, his name is synonymous with the San Francisco graffiti and tattoo scenes, where he developed himself as an artist in the 1990s and 2000s. With rapid gentrification squeezing out many of San Francisco’s creative enclaves, Giant relocated to Boulder, Colorado two years ago. His upcoming solo show, “Colorado,” opens at FFDG in San Francisco on February 13, meditates on various transitions in Giant’s life — his move halfway across the country, the end of a relationship, and various shifts in his lifestyle choices.
Washington, DC. based artist Ashley Oubré creates compelling photoreal images with just carbon pencil, graphite and india ink. Her drawings capture private moments of shame and humiliation from insecurities that many of us face. As someone who once fought depression, she’s set out to embrace what society considers abnormal; obesity, stretch marks, age spots, and twisted spines. These are the characteristics that connect her subjects.