Longtime followers of Japanese artist Kazuki Takamatsu may already know his process: painstaking gouache layers that recreate scenes first imagined on 3-D computer software. Yet, in his latest set of striking paintings at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, the otherworldy nature of Takamatsu’s work is what again draws viewers into this haunted world of hologram-like characters. The solo show “Decoration Armament” opens this Saturday, and it features some of the HF Vol. 33 cover artist’s most ambitious and engrossing work yet.
Tunisian artist Atef Maatallah paints people on grainy, monotone backgrounds to highlight the inner worlds of his characters. Maatallah often paints diptychs, in which one panel features only a single object such as a tea pot or small animal. Purposely separated from the human figures, the objects serve as outer manifestations of the peoples’ fears or desires. For example, an elderly woman with sun-baked sunken cheeks watches with a solemn expression as the feathers of a skinned bird — its’ complexion the same color as the woman’s — float downwards. In another image, a forlorn mother looks down as her two children sleep; one in her arms, the other slouched against her back. In the background, a bare light bulb hangs. The light is out.
Both based in Berlin by way of Australia, Two One and Reka (see our recent studio visit here) are exhibiting together at StolenSpace Gallery in London in two concurrent solo shows: Reka’s “Trip the Light” and Two One’s “The Hunted Hunter’s Head.” Inspired by the graceful movements of dancers from a young age, Reka (whose mother was a ballerina) presents a series of paintings that pay homage to the fluid, abstract shapes the body can make. His Cubist-inspired paintings might have one imagining a toe-tapping soundtrack of jazz or even the swell of a symphony, but Reka tempers these allusions to older, more traditional art forms with gritty paint textures that evoke his graffiti roots.
The Internet has changed the art world immensely, and Giant Robot has been there to witness and evolve alongside it. Conceived as a humble, photocopied zine focused on Asian American arts and culture in 1994, Giant Robot now exists as an unclassifiable entity. It was published as a magazine for 16 years and later manifested in the physical realm as an art gallery and shop, as well as a website. To celebrate its 20 years, Giant Robot 2 in LA will debut “Giant Robot Presents: 20 Years Art x Mags,” an extensive group show featuring many established and emerging talents. Among the line-up are Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami, Ryan McGinness, Geoff McFetridge, Yoskay Yamamoto, Jeff Soto, James Jean and a great number of other artists. “#GR20Years,” as the show is nicknamed, opens March 15, 5 – 10 pm, and will be on view through April 2.
Last weekend, Thinkspace Gallery debuted “New Works” by Tran Nguyen and Erik Jones, who both treat the classic human form with abstract elements. Although separated by choice of color and medium, this exhibition seamlessly merges their illustrative styles. The new work of Brooklyn-based Erik Jones clothes his nudes in highly saturated patterns and geometrical shapes. The happy, bright colors of the foreground seem to mask a melancholy expressed by Jones’s subjects. This tension is intentional; Jones offers the idea of opposing visual relationships by merging beautifully rendered portraits with mixed media “fashions.” With fashion serving as an inspiration, his “models” convey the indifference of one caught off guard or a moment in time. In some cases, the figure disappears completely. Read more after the jump.