Jana Brike is an intriguing communicator. For her upcoming solo exhibition “After the End of Time”, opening September 6 at FB69 Gallery in Munster, Germany, the artist produced a fascinating array of works created while staying in a cabin on a manor-house park by the Baltic Sea. These new paintings, she tells us in the following exclusive feature, are akin to a group of personal icons that relate more to a deep satori state of insight into one’s true nature.
Russian-born artist Sergei Isupov investigates binaries in human relationships — male and female, good and evil, beautiful and grotesque. Using clay as both a material for three-dimensional expression and as a canvas for his illustrations, Isupov capitalizes on all properties of what he finds to be the most open medium. He sculpts human and animal figures, and then adds illustrations in glaze. The paintings diffuse into the clay’s surface, like tattoos on his sculptures’ skin. Taken together, the two- and three-dimensional elements of his work establish a compacted but powerful scene of emotions and narratives.
There seems to be a history running through Carmel Seymour’s water colors, but it’s hard to pin down. Somewhere in the hazy but sublime gap between art and illustration, the paintings suspend an alternate reality in the canvas’ mid-air, depicting some hyperreal folklore in a wash of negative space. Seymour’s conceit seems simple enough: she places contemporary figures, such as girls in jeans and sneakers, in some private oasis, perhaps the figures’ dream landscape or perhaps some alien planet. But the landscapes where her figures exist are not so much ‘scapes as objects; entities without a before or after. Her water colors are deployed in highly restrained and linear strokes to focus on details, and then exploded to disrupt the hyperrealism and maximize the medium’s atmospheric emphasis. The paintings have no clear beginning or end, but beg the question: what’s the story here?
Creepy creatures, spindly figures and quirky narratives compose the illustrations of Bill Carman. Pigs in suits and yin-and-yang armored headgear stare at one another – snouts pressed together – with eyes wrinkled with age of wisdom. An angry bronze-faced rabbit sits in the foreground holding a screwdriver, gazing at the viewer and threatening to unscrew the boars’ masks. Though Conunganger has an Animal Farm aesthetic, They have My Eyes evokes a Tim Burton sentiment.
Those who follow in the footsteps of the Old Masters would gasp at Seth Alverson’s raw depictions of the human body. From the Renaissance’s advancements in rendering the idealized anatomy to today’s Photoshopped magazine covers, Western culture has an ongoing obsession with depicting the nude figure in ways that few of us can actually live up to. Alverson throws these conventions out the window with his oil paintings.
American artists — from the painters of the Hudson River School to the influential Andrew Wyeth — have long depicted this country’s vast landscape as simultaneously a place of lonely desolation and of awe-inspiring grandeur. Following in this tradition, Andrea Kowch creates gorgeous and eerie acrylic paintings of open-skied pastoral landscapes. Inspired by a deep fascination with the natural world, Kowch’s works also tap into a common feeling of uneasiness many of us have toward the American rural – a place that is iconic for its beauty but that is also often associated with tedium, isolation and a clinging to negative aspects of the country’s past.