The grotesque miniatures of Korean sculptor Dongwook Lee are not for everyone, and yet his work stems from what he describes as a basic concern for all human beings. Previously featured here on our blog, the Seoul, Korea based artist’s figures are small-scale sculptural works, most measuring no more than 12″ inches high made of Polymer clay, that typically depict contorted human forms. He embodies the idea of physical “likeness” in his most recent sculptures, featuring humanoids with growths of pink-colored mushrooms and massive, heavy lumps of flesh that they are forced to carry.
Korean sculptor Xooang Choi‘s sculptures of bodies and imaginary creatures are often described as hyper-realistic, but they are also surreal in their elements of fantasy and nightmarish distortion. We’ve featured both his most imaginative and more graphic visions on our blog, sculptures that explore themes of destruction, transformation and re-assemblage. To Choi, the body is a vessel through which we perceive and express ourselves, and one that provides him with an ideal medium to explore the possibilities of the human condition.
Austrian-Irish artist Gottfried Helnwein, who presides between Ireland and Los Angeles, is vocal about his concerns relating to violence in modern society; in action movie and video games, the hero carries the biggest and baddest weapons, while in real life, people have been brutally killed in mass murders like the Holocaust, and in recent years, children have gone to school and been shot by other children. “For me, painting is just a way to strike back and force people to look at that. That’s my response to it,” Helnwein says in a new documentary about his work.
Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s most famous woman artist best known for her numerous self-portraits, is portrayed once more as hyperrealist Kazuhiro Tsuji’s latest subject. Tsuji, featured here on our blog and in Hi-Fructose Vol. 35, has become well known for his larger than life portraits of celebrities, artists, presidents and other popular figures. Rendered with a heightened realism, Tsuji’s Frida is made of resin, platinum silicone, and other materials by the same technique that he once practiced as a special effects makeup artist.
Portland based artist Eric Wert, first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 32, is known for his larger than life and visually intense still life paintings of plants and food. Though his style is hyper-realistic, there is something about his portrayal of the vibrancy and ripeness of his subjects that makes them more appealing than life. Wert makes every day florals and foods like grapes and tomato look beautiful and evocative with a certain wildness. He has said, “I want to create an image that one can be lost within. To me, still-life painting is about looking intensely. It’s about intimately exploring a subject.” For his current exhibition at William Baczek Fine Arts in Massachusetts, Wert created a smaller series featuring hydrangea, lilies, pansy, iris, and figs in luscious, glistening still lifes.
Toilet paper, keys, pills, and dice are just a few of the every day subjects that Chinese artist Chen Wenbo depicts in his larger than life, hyper-realistic paintings. Chen once explained that he is most interested “in the surface of things”, something he explores in his exaggeration of small details. His subjects almost feel important in their massive scale, which allows us to appreciate details like their vibrant colors that would otherwise be overlooked. Most of Chen’s works are irregularly shaped, distorted or fractured in a way that looks like broken glass. His latest body of work draws upon the theme of the “Fat Years”, inspired by the Chinese dystopian thriller written by Chan Koonchung.