Dutch duo Ward van Gemert and Adriaan van der Ploeg, collectively known as Nightshop, began a partnership in 2010. And recently, the pair decided to recreate the heads of people on their street using resin-based children’s clay. The result of this effort is a collection of 30 life-sized, unsettling characters in a series called “The Strangers.” Nightshop is based in Rotterdam, a city in the Netherlands.
Mark Ollinger, a Calgary-born artist, explores communication with his mindbending studies on the elements of language. In both his sculptures and paintings, the architecture of letters and and interlocking forms engross in several perspectives. In several of the artist’s public works, these pieces are hidden in corners, crevices, and underneath structures, as puzzles to be unlocked through urban exploration. These works can be found in places across the world.
Swiss artist Urs Fischer, based in New York, adapts the human face into topographical forms in his paintings. Works like “Landscape,” above, are crafted from aluminum panel, reinforced polyurethane foam, epoxy, acrylic ink, primer, paint, and silkscreen, and gesso. These paintings reorganize visages into landscapes, with the artist’s own face used in differing ways. The recent show “Mind Moves,” erected at Gagosian Gallery in San Francisco, was accompanied by a quote from the artist: “At its core, art is all about order. When you’re an artist, you basically arrange, rearrange, or alter; you play off order.”
Sculptor Katie Grinnan first unveiled the sculpture “Mirage” in 2011, offering an exploration of movement and space. Constructed from friendly plastic, sand, and enamel, the piece first debuted as part of an exhibition at Brennan & Griffin. The piece is actually a cast of Grinnan’s own body, set in various poses during a yoga routine. The work also calls back to Hindu art, in which gods display several limbs and omnipresence.
In works that “explore our notions of contentment and security,” artist Dietrich Wegner creates surreal images that bring clouds closer to the earth and explores identity through logos embedded onto children. These are works full of contradiction, both humorous and sobering, whimsical and harrowing. The ideas are conveyed in both sculptural works and prints, offering several points of entry into the mind of the artist.
Israeli artist Zemer Peled uses slivers of porcelain to emulate shapes and forms of the natural world, from feathers to leaves and petals. The result is something otherworldly, blending hues and patterns for something both familiar and strange. The delicate and organic constructions defy their actual sharp, hardened nature. These works come in differing sizes, from the size of common houseplants to towering over viewers, all made from thousands of pieces of porcelain.