J. S. Weis, a Portland-based artist and designer, depicts scenes and creatures from nature in his drawings and paintings. And he includes the factor often removed from studies of the natural world: all of the unnatural stuff humans add to it. In two series, “unNaturalist” and “Specimens,” it’s not uncommon to see gorgeous reptiles writhing among cigarette butts or birds among sandwich bags. Weis was last featured on HiFructose.com here, ahead of his “Liquid Hymn” show at 1AM Gallery in 2014.
In Hiroaki Ito’s paintings and drawings, he depicts Japanese businessmen—referred to as “salarymen” in their respective country—in perpetual states of submission, anguish, self-assuredness, and general unrest. His intimate angles, often below the subject, looking up, punctuate the moods he evokes with these suited, white-collar workers. These men and women are caught in mid-apology, somber reflection, or even near-vomiting.
Sam Octigan, an Australian artist, mixes the figurative and the abstract in his paintings. His subjects sometimes are enveloped in these abstractions and disparate objects. Otherwise, they comprise these figures, like memories or something more haunting. Even when the artist limits his palette to varying shades of gray, his works absorb and convey kineticism.
At first glance, the work of Canadian artist Brandon Constans may appear to be collage. Instead, the Ontario-based artist paints each of the objects and creatures used to build single figures. Several of the artist’s paintings are created using a process he describes as “a technique of overlapping acrylic paint and Matte Medium in various ways to create a two-dimensional embossed surface.”
Brin Levinson’s paintings depict worlds in which humans have lived, but now animals seem to rule. These ghost towns, with similar landmarks and industrial vibes to the city the Portland resident calls home, imply that mankind’s abuse of the land and its creatures resulted in its exit. These works appear in a new show from Levinson, titled “Anthropocene,” which now hits Antler Gallery in Portland. The show lasts through Nov. 22. Levinson was most recently featured on HiFructose.com here.
Past work from Pamela Tait, an artist based in the Scottish Highlands, seemed to focus on humans with flourishes of the fantastic. Yet over the past few years, strange creatures have appeared more and more in Tait’s work. Works like “Nobody could deny the magnetic qualities of the naked mole rat,” above, may be anchored by a creature from reality, but it’s surrounded by an odd array of characters. Tait was last featured on HiFructose.com here.