One could say that Surrealism as a movement is a way for artists to seek distraction from the mundane and engage in fantasy. On his current exhibition at AFA Gallery, painter Daniel Merriam shares, “Although I may be guilty of a little denial, it’s enabled me to go to the edge and back, which is kind of where people expect an artist to go.” Spanning over 20 new watercolor paintings, titled “Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism”, he allows himself to overcome the limitations of reality in this latest series.
Italian artist El Gato Chimney will present a series of mystical watercolors in his upcoming solo show at Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn, “De Rerum Natura” (which translates to “The Nature of Things” from Latin). Opening March 5 and on view through April 30, the exhibition features whimsical works that pull pagan symbolism from a variety of cultures to create a fictional world of animal deities and anthropomorphic spirits. Though Chimney delves into various spiritual traditions, he does so with a sense of humor. His work is filled with absurdist juxtapositions and open-ended symbolism that alludes to a forgotten time that never truly existed.
Chicago-based artist and illustrator Jacob van Loon’s watercolor paintings present an otherworldly architecture that explodes with abstract shapes and blotches of color. While watercolor is medium that is notoriously difficult to control, van Loon manipulates it into rigid lines and precise angles. At a certain point in the painting, however, he seems to get bored with structure and begins to dismantle his careful work with expressionistic, unrestrained brushstrokes. Some of his pieces incorporate organic shapes that he renders with intricate textures that evoke cell structures or perhaps an alien plant species.
LA-based artist John Guy Petruzzi creates detailed watercolor paintings filled with illustrations of the natural world. While his figurative depictions of various bird and plant species are rendered with the precision of scientific drawings, the milieus these characters find themselves in morph into abstract shapes that reveal the cloudy, liquid characteristics of his chosen medium. Petruzzi works on a polypropylene synthetic paper to amplify his work’s preoccupation with environmental issues. Lately, he has created entirely abstract works filled with dripping pigments. “My latest series, ‘SPILLSTONES,’ exploits the materiality of poured pigment to recall ongoing cycles of resource extraction,” said the artist.
Robots battle in a world that seems simultaneously prehistoric and futuristic in Rob Sato’s watercolors. The artist (first featured in HF Vol. 16) defies the limitations of his medium both in content and in format. While watercolor paintings are typically kept small, he works at mural scale, rendering the precise outlines of his giant robots, warriors on horseback and bizarre humanoid characters. The softness of the watercolor is still there, adding a handmade touch to his mechanical subject matter. Sato’s latest exhibition “Curses” opens on September 20 at Martha Otero Gallery in LA and features several massive works, folded paintings that become sculptural objects, some simplified sketches and painted baseballs that seem to take their cue from the cave walls of Lascaux. Take a look at our preview below.
There seems to be a history running through Carmel Seymour’s water colors, but it’s hard to pin down. Somewhere in the hazy but sublime gap between art and illustration, the paintings suspend an alternate reality in the canvas’ mid-air, depicting some hyperreal folklore in a wash of negative space. Seymour’s conceit seems simple enough: she places contemporary figures, such as girls in jeans and sneakers, in some private oasis, perhaps the figures’ dream landscape or perhaps some alien planet. But the landscapes where her figures exist are not so much ‘scapes as objects; entities without a before or after. Her water colors are deployed in highly restrained and linear strokes to focus on details, and then exploded to disrupt the hyperrealism and maximize the medium’s atmospheric emphasis. The paintings have no clear beginning or end, but beg the question: what’s the story here?