Over the past year, pop surrealist Mark Ryden has tackled an unlikely new medium: ballet. Ryden designed the sets and costumes for the new American Ballet Theatre production “Whipped Cream.” The so-called “two-act confection” is based off the Richard Strauss-penned libretto “Schlagobers,” which was first performed in 1924 by the Vienna State Opera.The show kicks off on March 15 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.
John Jacobsmeyer’s oil paintings on aluminum recall nostalgic and imaginative experience, using wooden backdrops and technology-inspired shapes. These works at once feel aged and modern, and while humor runs throughout his recent works, several ring of sincerity and vulnerability. And a few others have skeleton warriors. Jacobsmeyer has cited Gene Roddenberry, Nietzsche, David Lynch, and Mary Shelley as influences.
Yasam Sasmazer, a Turkish artist who works in Berlin, crafts wooden sculptures the deal with psychological hardship and narratives. Series like “Metanoia” take influence from the work of psychiatrist Carl Jung, exploring the journey between mental breakdowns and the evolution that follows. Her use of three-dimensional figures and shadows, both simulated and real, offer an absorbing take on the duality of living.
Tina Yu, a Chinese-raised, New York-based artist and designer, creates hand sculptures, which are used as pendants. These polymer clay pieces are painted with acrylics, and they move between delicate reflections of nature’s flora and fauna and something much bleaker.
The context of the narratives depicted in Tom Herzberg’s paintings isn’t always clear for the viewer. Yet, the humorous and occasionally unsettling watercolor and acrylic works are absorbing and offer the chance to form our own theories about each’s wild characters. Herzberg is a Chicago-based artist and educator whose illustrations for magazines, books, newspapers, and other products number in the thousands.
Nathan Durfee, a painter based in the Southeastern U.S., uses multiple techniques to render his pop-surrealist scenes, with their varying textures and narratives. Durfee says that he deals with universal themes in his works, conveyed via vibrant, dreamlike storytelling. Some of his subjects are in panicked states; others are in the middle of a balancing act or sit in more serene states.