The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Author: Sasha Bogojev

After mainly painting in his homeland, Russian artist Rustam Qbic has spent the last couple of months traveling around the world, creating monumental murals everywhere from Australia to the Swiss Alps. Recently, he was invited to Urban Samtidskunst in Oslo, Norway, where he painted a fresh new piece, titled "Water of Life".
Michael Reid Gallery in Sydney is currently showing "Maelstrom", an exhibition of photographs by professional photographer and creative director, Luke Shadbolt. As a part of the Head On Photo Festival of Sydney, this showcase includes Shadbolt's explosive photographs capturing raw oceanic force.
Stephen Friedman gallery in London is currently showing their fourth solo exhibition with acclaimed Japanese artist, Yoshitomo Nara, covered here. Following his recent solo exhibitions at Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan, Asia Society Museum, New York, Asia Society Hong Kong Center and Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland, "New Works" is the simple title of the current exhibition by one of the most important living contemporary Japanese artists.
The hardworking team behind one of the world's longest lasting street art festivals, Nuart in Norway, covered here over the years, recently announced the launch of yet another public art project. Nuart Sandnes Art Trail is Norway’s first official Street Art Trail, and its main goal is to connect Sandnes’ urban center with the city’s surrounding rural areas.
A child of a bustling city of contrast and colors, Rodrigo Branco's affinity for abstraction may come as no surprise. But his blurred portraits of local people in São Paulo, created using patches of colors and expressive strokes, are actual representations of what the artist used to see as a little kid. Raised in the southern outskirts of the city, Branco had a severe vision impairment that was left untreated for years.
Nanzuka Gallery in Tokyo is currently showing "An actress is not a machine, but they treat you like a machine", a solo exhibition of new works by Hajime Sorayama. The prolific Japanese artist has created a series of paintings modeled after American actress Marilyn Monroe, in addition to three-dimensional manifestations of his renowned "Sexy Robot" series. The artist started this series back in 1978 and has been his most successful and recognizable body of work ever since. Following the Japanese focus on technology and science, along with his unique view of sexuality and female beauty, these works helped Sorayama establish his worldwide reputation.
Gregory Thielker creates paintings which combine realism and aspects of abstraction by obscuring the views of his surroundings. After studying Art History at Williams College in Massachusetts and getting his MFA in Painting at Washington University in St. Louis, he embarked on cross-country road trips and working outdoors. This is when he began his series "Under the unminding sky", which captures his trip's sights through the perspective of a rainy car windshield. Intrigued by the way rain accented and veiled the scenery in front of him, it became the model for his paintings, transforming the driver's environments in a realistic way.
Drawing inspiration from old stickers, Howard Stern, cartoons, sunsets, reggae album covers, Garbage Pail Kids, T-Shirt graphics, Mad Magazine or sandwiches, Sean Norvet has been creating and showing his art that "mashes up elegant photo-realism with two-dimensional cartoon buffoonery". Through a mixture of photo references and imagination, his pieces are sometimes explosive, sometimes still, but always focused on humorous side of things. Using his references the same way a Hip hop producer uses audio samples, he takes these visuals and applies them where needed by warping, distorting and patching them together.
A riot cop covered in flames in the middle of the street, Claude Monet's poppies swallowed by a hole in the sky, and a large ship tearing up the Earth's surface, leaving a bloody scar behind it- these are images Pejac recently shared on his Facebook page, where he just announced his highly anticipated solo exhibition in London. Known primarily for his striking "public interventions", works that cleverly mix illusion and reality, fantasy and familiarity featured here, the Barcelona based street artist is once again moving his work from the public arena and into the gallery.
We've already seen murals and graffiti turned into a moving image with a simple, stop-motion animation. From Blu's elaborate 7-minute video "Muto" (Silent) to INSA's captivating graphic based "gif-ffiti" series, featured here on our blog, the idea of bringing life to walls has been a challenging one that street artists have enjoyed for years. What we haven't seen yet is a photo-realistic mural turning into animation, and Croatian artist Lonac did just that as an early Valentine's day treat.
Brisbane based Fintan Magee, featured on our blog, became a part of his hometown's graffiti culture in his early teens, but his strong interest in classical painting made him change his creative output. After years of mural painting in and around his homeland, Magee slowly built his international resume, and his surrealist figurative murals can be found around the globe. The images in his large scale murals, paper, and canvas works depict our everyday being through photo-realistic details, juxtaposed with less detailed, sometimes expressive, elements. Covering the relationship between man and nature, his paintings often tell stories of struggle, loss, migration, conflict, with an individual and global state of mind. Magee's upcoming solo show, "Water World", which opens on December 4th at Blackwoods Gallery in Melbourne, revolves around the 2011 floods in Brisbane.
On October 14th, French artists 100TAUR and Hisham Echafaki will debut new works in their two-person exhibition, "Lusus Naturae" in London. Borrowing their title from a Latin phrase that describes any creature or specimen that defies classification, the exhibit will include a series of paintings, drawings and three-dimensional works that depict "freaks of nature". Their works feature fantastical hybrid creatures alongside some of the world's most bizarre members of fauna. Both 100TAUR's portrayals of mythical monsters in their dark world and Echafaki's intricate, pattern-filled works explore the human fascination with oddities or monstrosities along with our fragile relation with the nature.
Yesterday, we shared our photos from Norway's contemporary street and urban art festival, Nuart Festival. Today, we bring you our highlights from the rest of the event. After days of painting murals, creating installations and public interventions, debates, lectures, talks and workshops, Nuart festival closed their biggest event to date. On September 5th, the festival opened their coinciding indoor exhibition, "Nuart Plus", inside an old brewery building known as "tunnels".
For fifteen years, the first week of September in Norway has been reserved for Nuart festival. This year's opened on September 3rd with a large group show titled "OutsidersIN". The show features works by past, present and future Nuart artists, which includes leading names in the urban art movement. Built around the idea of 'situationism', DIY-culture and play, Nuart hosted debates, seminars, lectures, movie projections and on-site creation of artwork. Representing different techniques and subjects, this year's lineup works with both traditional and unconventional mediums like trash, cement, and posters.
The recent Vision Art Festival, held in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in Canton Valais, has taken the street art scene to new heights. A few years ago, a couple of young art enthusiasts from the region had a twisted idea to bring street artist to Swiss alps - on the lift stations, shelters, and restaurant buildings around the ski slopes. After last year's "test event", which produced a mural by Icy & Sot and Hebru Brantley, the local community accepted the idea and the long preparations begun. On August 24th, Vision Art Festival 2015 officially opened, hosting an impressive lineup of international artists: Chor Boogie, Reka One, Okuda, 2Alas, Greg Mike, Angry Woebots, Leza One, Rustam Qbic, Toz, Rodrigo Branco, Never Crew, and more.
It's no secret that choice of medium can significantly accent the subject of the artwork. Fumage is one of those techniques that can't be compared with anything else. By using the flame of a candle or a torch as a pencil to create his paintings with trails of soot, Steven "Spazuk" (covered here) has been creating intricate artworks for over 10 years. He is showing his latest body of work titled "Smoking Guns and Feathers" at Reed Projects gallery in Stavanger, Norway. The show is featuring his latest series of works focused on the fragility and precariousness of the species that share our biosphere. The uncertain future of these fragile "rulers of skies" is accented through use of smoke trails as a painting medium.
Brooklyn based Scott Albrecht (covered here) creates colorful plays on typography and symbols using repurposed found objects and wood cut apart like puzzle pieces. His latest series, which will debut tonight in "Here and Now" at Andenken/Battalion gallery in Amsterdam, is an extension of his style and themes. For this exhibition, he challenged himself to explore new ideas;  there are more characterized motifs like abstractions of Hamsa, or the Hand of Fatima from Middle Eastern faiths, and hidden messages that represent more than what is written at the surface. Albrecht takes a moment to tell us more about his new works and creative upbringing in this exclusive interview after the jump.
On June 20th, Howard Griffin Gallery in Los Angeles introduced "Journey Galactiko," a debut show by Broken Fingaz in the United States. For this show, the Isreali artists created a site-specific installation inside the gallery space, in form of a large 150 cubic meter temple. This type of monolith structure, which represents the show's general theme, was inspired by several months of traveling and working across India, along with their vision of modern Western society. With this show, the artists pushed their limitations by constructing a large sculpture using only wood and found materials and presenting a new kind of work.
After painting mostly around his homeland and some cities in Europe, Barcelona-based artist Pejac (covered here) recently took off on a tour around the Far East. During his trip, he stopped in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo, leaving his mark in every city. From introducing new images and concepts to recreating some familiar ones, Pejac demonstrates his ability to work in different environments or mediums. Covering various subjects, mostly referring to the places he's visiting, the new works Pejac has created range from effective window-drawings to sculptural pieces.
V1 Gallery in Copenhagen is currently hosting a two men show featuring Barry McGee and Todd James. Ever since they created "Street Market" together with Steve Powers at New York City's Deitch Projects in 2000, the two have exhibited together several times. Among others, they exhibited at the 2001 Venice Biennale, 2004 "Beautiful Losers" group exhibition, and the L.A. MOCA "Art in the Streets" in 2011. V1 Gallery has been supporting both artists through that entire time, and "FUD" is their second double-show with the gallery. Read more after the jump.
Miron Milic has always believed that nothing is sacred and that there are no untouchable subjects or themes that art shouldn't or couldn't address. So the first thing that came to mind when the Zagreb, Croatia-based artist entered the world of street art was to paint a self portrait. Aware of the culture of anonymity in street art, he instinctively wanted to go against the grain, baring himself with an almost mocking image. Painted on a small electric plant in a busy residential neighborhood of Zagreb, this piece illustrates Miron Milic's artistic ideals in a nutshell.
Shortly after his last solo show in February, we had a chance to visit Taylor McKimens' studio in Brooklyn. The show, which was organized by his long-time supporters, Bright Lyons, featured a collection of commissioned paintings that were created during the last seven years. Not only was this McKimens's first New York show in a long time, but it was a significant milestone in his career. After years of exhibiting across the world through Deitch Projects, the California-born artist is looking to move on to a new chapter.
Howard Griffin Gallery is currently setting up "Perception," the debut London solo show of Iranian painter and muralist Medhi Ghadyanloo. For this show, the artist will create a full-scale sculptural installation at the gallery space and exhibit a new body of work that is loaded with symbolism. During his stay in London, the artist will be creating a series of outdoors murals around the British capital similar to the ones he's been creating in his hometown of Tehran.
Argentinian artist Francisco Diaz (aka Pastel) uses a distinct visual language in his murals. He fills his walls with patterns based on the local flora of the area he's painting in — an effective way to connect with the communities he encounters in his travels. His botanical references often address history, geography, society, and politics. Along with these nature-based elements, Pastel often paints ancient, Stone Age tools to glorify humanity's strength without referencing a specific culture. His distinct yet decorative style lends itself well to collaborations with other street artists, such as Pixel Pancho and Agostino Iacurci, who both worked with Pastel recently.
Christian Rex van Minnen's oil paintings have been known to go viral among art lovers. His work (featured in HF Vol. 25) mixes hyperrealist details and surreal elements, evoking the Dutch masters with his use of traditional painting techniques. In each piece, the unsettling overall image often blends the beautiful with the grotesque and has a humorous yet nightmarish quality.
Italian street artist RUN began painting murals on abandoned walls in Bologna and Florence in the 1990s and was one of the essential figures of the Italian underground scene, as well as the European street art movement. His unique and highly recognizable style is constructed of interlocking hands and faces in bright, arresting colors. A prominent local artist, he has also painted murals all over the world, from China to Senegal. These travels have inspired a lot of his work, which is focused on anthropology and the human form. He has been exploring these themes both on the streets and in his studio since his move to London in 2007.
Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic recently spent a few days in Paris working on a new limited edition lithograph at Idem Studio. Inspired by the studio's historical significance, the young artist spent his spare time leaving his mark on its exterior in the form of a new mural. Using brushes, he painted playful birds perching on the ivy that covers its facade. Incorporating existing elements of the architecture, his new mural creates the kind of illusion his street art has become known for.
Only a few days before opening her October 30 solo show at Cinders Gallery in New York, Maya Hayuk finished a mural in Toronto, her second large-scale intervention in Canada. The 300-foot-long piece is separated into 12 sections and the lengthy wall can be considered a permanent open-air exhibition with 12 individual works.
Taking cue from street art's global influence, Urban Forms in Lodz, Poland is turning their city into a large, outdoor urban art gallery. Founded in 2009, the main idea of this project was to change the city center by creating large-format artworks directly on the facades of buildings. This project has resulted in over 30 large murals scattered around the city by international and Polish artists, including works by Os Gemeos, Aryz, Etam Cru and Inti from past years.
September 11 through 13, London hosted the MyFinBec pop-up show, introducing a unique project that merged urban art and wine making. After their initial show at the Cave Fin Bec winery in Sion, Switzerland, and Cologne, Germany, the exhibition was presented at LimeWharf to London's local art and wine lovers. Once a year, this winery commissions well-established and emerging artists to create labels for their limited edition organic wines through the MyFineBec project. For 2014, the winery introduced a line-up of internationally-recognized artists: Vhils from Portugal, Herakut from Germany, C215 from France and Etam Cru (featured in our current issue, Hi-Fructose Vol. 32) from Poland. The artists were invited to create mural-like works on stacks of wine cases that were later available for sale.

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