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.
Italian artist Alessandro Gallo (featured in HF Vol. 24) presents a disorienting series of sculptures for his upcoming solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, “Strani Incontri.” The show’s title translates to “strange encounters,” which is an apt summary of the experience of coming upon one of Gallo’s large-scale clay figures. Expertly reproducing human and animal anatomy, Gallo blends the two to create convincing hybrids of man and beast. The works produce an almost eerie sense of unheimliche, as Freud put it: when the familiar becomes uncomfortably strange.
Cameron Stalheim creates mixed-media sculptures that indulge the stuff of nightmares. His most recent work, and then I saw Colby on the Street and my fantasy died, is a striking depiction of a collapsed merman taking his last breaths. Several times longer than human height, the sculpture confronts us with an image of death: in this case, the death of our collective childhood fantasies (who didn’t want to live among the mermaids when they were young?).
On Saturday at Mark Moore gallery, Rob and Christian Clayton aka Clayton Brothers brought together an expansive body of eclectic work, “Open to the Public” (previewed here). The exhibition includes everything from miniature drawing, painting, sculptures, interactive video and an installation that is like a twisted child’s playroom. The brothers credit their thrift shop “mecca”, the Sun Thrift Store in Sunland, CA as the visual inspiration.
There, but not really. That’s the context for Barcelona-born artist Jaume Plensa’s public sculptures. They might seem like intrusions. They’re large. They’re set where people congregate. And the figures themselves are huge monumental heads. They sit in business districts and in front of an art museum. They emerge from the ocean. They hover above unsuspecting pedestrians. They rest in the neighborhood that surrounds the Venice Biennale.
Emerging Swedish artist Nina Lindgren works in illustration, photography and printmaking, and most recently has added architecture to her repertoire. The artist has been developing a series of geometric, cardboard sculptures that look like tiny cityscapes condensed into tightly-packed shapes. Her most recent one, “Floating City,” was exhibited at ArtRebels Gallery in Copenhagen. The hanging piece is a multifaceted form that gives its mundane medium new life in viewers’ imaginations as they traverse the levitating metropolis.