The feelings of horror and rapture collide at high speeds when viewing Lauren Marx’s work. The St. Louis-based artist creates beautiful vignettes that speak to the cycle of life. Rather than a cleaned-up, Disneyfied verson of nature, her paintings give us raw depictions of birth and death. Influenced my scientific illustrations and the Baroque period alike, Marx’s maximalist mixed-media works present these cyclical phenomena in visually appealing ways, often fusing the chaotic elements of nature into stylized compositions with an emphasis on design. Marx’s solo show, “American Wilderness,” opens at Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle on May 7.
Painter Dean Reynolds likens himself to a magician. “The work is about the act of painting a window to a world of fantasy, of the surreal, of inner experience,” he writes in his artist statement. “The images hint to me to make them into a drawing or painting and then I work to make them into reality.” On May 2 at Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Reynolds will present a new series of surreal, candy-colored paintings for his latest solo show. The female protagonists in his work explore sunshine-yellow landscapes that seem to belong to another dimension. We follow these goddess-like characters into scenes rife with incongruous imagery and symbolism.
One of South Korea’s eminent realist painters, Kwang-Ho Lee’s “Touch” series brings out the tactile qualities of exotic cacti. The desert plants blossom in oblong shapes in Lee’s large-scale works, inviting viewers to examine their thorns, fluff, and smooth skin. Some coiled and others upright and phallic-looking, each plant takes on its own personality. Lee’s paintings are easy to mistake for photographs at a first glance, but his stylized compositions take his work beyond straightforward documentation.
Sean Newport is a San Francisco-based artist and woodworker who creates geometric, wall-mounted sculptures. Newport’s work is meant to trick the mind into seeing flat, graphic imagery before comprehending its true, three-dimensional shape. Influenced by op-art and bold, abstract forms, his sculptures attempt to test our perceived notions of reality.
Seamus Conley’s paintings feature contemplative dreamers staring out into masterfully painted vistas of thick clouds and fog. We catch them at their most private moments of contemplation, alone in the night. While his past work has focused on characters of various ages and genders, the paintings in his latest solo show, “Catch My Fade,” depict mostly young boys escaping into the darkness. The spaces they inhabit are far removed from civilization and more closely resemble the landscapes of dreams than any real-life locales. “Catch My Fade” opens at San Francisco’s Andrea Schwartz Gallery on April 29.
Filipino artist Gromyko Semper paints elaborate scenes with many magical realism elements. His detailed works are flat and often resemble illustrations, evoking a mixture of pre-Raphaelite paintings and Japanese anime. The artist just completed a series of paintings inspired by the philosophical concept of mythopoesis, a term that JRR Tolkein and scholar Joseph Campbell proliferated in the early 20th century. Mythopoesis refers to a work of art that creates its own mythology. With Semper’s paintings, that certainly seems to be the case, as he has developed an elaborate visual language that taps into themes like pleasure, mysticism, and death. Currently, Semper has a two-person show with Gilbert Semillano at Artspace @ Net Quad in Manila.