You may recognize So Youn Lee from our posts about her ethereal pen drawings and candy-colored paintings. Her new work is progressively character based- following a young space explorer named “Mango” through strange environments that echo childhood memories. At her Los Angeles studio, she sketches daily and experiments with motifs, from the abstract shapes of Korean folk textiles to the hyper-real balloons of Jeff Koons. A Japanese art influence is definitely there as well. Among Lee’s favorite artists are Aya Takano and Yoshitomo Nara, and she is an avid Manga reader. Most of the pieces shown here were created as an exercise, but seem to have left a lasting impression. We went behind the scenes to learn more about So Youn Lee’s new direction and her future plans.
During the late Italian Renaissance, ‘Mannerist’ artists had technically mastered the nude and began playing with her proportions. Toronto based artist Troy Brooks uses the same visual language in his figurative paintings of elongated women. The ‘women of Troy’ are characteristically fashion forward and emotionally indifferent; caught between moments of boredom, rebellion, and transformation. Often, his blonde ‘heroine’ is compared to Psycho’s Norma Bates, which might cast her as a manipulative she-devil. She is posed in weird environments of soft colors that match her pale white skin. Her abnormally stretched limbs are almost torturous-looking and unsettling, complimenting Brook’s bizarre themes.
Los Angeles-based Korean artist Joanne Nam paints softly colored girls posed awkwardly in a blend of realism and surrealism. A city girl and self described horror movie-aficionado with a childhood spent near Korea’s lush forests, Nam is also an artist that paints from experience. Her studio is her safe haven from the outside world, decorated with family photos, reference books, and personal work she attends to between exhibitions. Nam’s recent artwork explores a darker side hidden from those who know her. In this exclusive interview, we talk about her process and what inspires her.
German urban artist Katharina Grosse doesn’t limit her vibrant artworks to a wall- she colors the world around her. Color is absolutely essential to her graffiti that covers buildings, mounds of dirt, and installations that evoke natural wonders like the Northern Lights. Her strokes don’t follow the contours of the chosen environment. They follow that of her own hand as she moves through the space, telling an abstract, emotional narrative. If it looks as though she hovered over the Earth with a spray gun, you would be right. Grosse’s process often involves dangerously leaning over scaffolding or being suspended from a crane. Throughout her career, her materials have varied from the conventional to unconventional; acrylic on canvas paintings and gallery walls to plastic and styrofoam alien-like formations. See more of her work after the jump.
Moscow based photographer Katerina Plotnikova has been making a name for herself for her daring photos of young girls embracing wild beasts. (We first posted her work on our Facebook page.) Her haunting portraits are created with real, specially trained animals such as bears, owls, deer and foxes, blending surrealism with inspiration from fairytales. Perhaps our fascination with her images comes from a place we’ve almost forgotten, as deforestation and global warming become imminent threats to our planet. With each series, her work pushes the boundaries even further. Read more after the jump.
The metaphorical multimedia photos of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison look like they are from another time. However, they portray the Everyman in his attempts to save the world from modern ailments like pollution. Sometimes enchanting and other times disturbing, we follow him as he suffers loss, grief, hope, and personal exploration throughout these dark landscapes. These photo-artworks are a seamless partnership between Robert, who also models, and Shana’s photomontage and painting techniques. This is achieved through a lengthy paper-negative process, not Photoshop, which creates a collage of different exposures. The final image is then painted on with layers of washes. Read more after the jump.