Amy Casey is known for her paintings of miniature towns with teeny suburban houses and buildings, many of which are modeled after the ones she comes across in her adopted hometown of Cleveland. Rendered in incredible detail, her tiny structures are stacked like building blocks and teeter on stilts at anxiety-inducing heights. Connecting these delicate communities are maddening networks of highways and cables, and while people are visibly absent from the picture, there is no doubt that these microcosms are brimming with life and nervous energy. We featured her work in Hi-Fructose Vol. 5 and on the blog here and here.
Shang Chengxiang, born in Shenyang, China, creates bold paintings in which pops of brilliant colors are mixed with surreal imagery. There’s a sense of wonder in the artist’s works, often privately observed or existing outside of human interaction altogether. The artist is part of the group show “FIREFLOWERS” at Art Labor Gallery in Shanghai, running July 2-Aug. 16.
Midwestern artist Zoe Hawk explores the social constructions of femininity through her portrayals of adolescent girls on the verge of womanhood. Her narrative works resemble illustrations one might find in a children’s book, with her subjects playing the parts of sweet-natured schoolgirls, candy stripers, and girl scouts. Yet, as we begin to look beneath the surface, it becomes clear that things are not always as they appear.
French artist Eric Roux-Fontaine‘s whimsical paintings explore the enchanted worlds we tend to encounter only in our dreams. His images are layered with delicate, detailed brushwork and an abundant use of color to create scenes where figures move freely across moonscapes, structures are overtaken by lush wildlife, and tightrope walkers tower above forest grounds. The artist mixes realistic and surreal elements to forge a deep connection between our everyday world and that which is created from our fantasies.
Michelle Avery Konczyk‘s beautifully strange portraits of young women with ghostly appearances and third eyes are a far cry from the cheerful, impressionistic paintings we commonly associate with the watercolor medium. “It is my goal,” the artist says, “to push the boundaries of the medium and take it where no artist has gone before, not only in technique and subject matter, but in presentation.” Moving between the realms of both realism and surrealism, Konczyk’s work is layered with imagery that juxtaposes love and beauty with darkness and morbidity as a means to explore “the beauty that lies within our ugly realities.”
With his dreamlike, ink-on-paper renderings of mystical rivers, mountains and forests, Cuban artist Rubén Fuentes aims to recapture the grandeur and power of nature at a time when our planet’s ecosystems are in their most vulnerable state. Borrowing from the concepts and aesthetics of Chinese and Japanese shan-shui and sumi-e brush painting, Fuentes uses a combination of spontaneous and detail-oriented brush work to depict vast landscapes and overgrown structures in an attempt to “return to nature what has been taken away” by generations of human destruction.