The view looking out of a window is often one filled with daydreaming and contemplation. Artist Jim Darling creates abstracted images inspired by the view of looking out of an airplane window. His brilliant, wispy use of color and impressionistic style perfectly breaks down the fleeting shapes and colors seen through the perspective from an airplane. His thick, impasto style depicts the aerial views just as they are seen in real life, swift and in motion. The abstract scenes seem to rush in and out of your view as you get a glimpse of the many wonderful colors lighting up the sky at different types of day.
Created from acrylic paint, aerosol, and woodwork, the artist constructs the frame of each piece to appear just like the window in an airplane would, with the window shade and all. He depicts purple mountains, cool, blue skies, a bustling cityscape, and even a wing of an airplane in his scenes from above. Darling takes us on a journey through the sky through different ecological forms, environments, and cities. Because the scenes are abstracted, we cannot tell exactly where his window views are taking us. Even the city is not specific to one exact location. This allows everyone to insert their own memories of travel into the paintings so that we can feel a connection to his work. Darling evokes strong emotions of nostalgia of travel and adventure, as many of us feel while we are aboard a flight.
Sparkling sequence and plush yarn are just some of the mixture of materials that artist Rachel Denny uses in her work to cover bodies, or sometimes just heads, of animals. This Portland based artist’s work lives in a world somewhere between taxidermy and your grandmother’s craft room. Her unique take on animal trophy heads uses cashmere knitting and twine to transform what looks like the shape of the head of a dead animal. Denny’s artwork includes a diverse variety of woodland fauna, including deer, horses, goats, lambs, and even bears. Sometimes her colorful, eclectic materials, including satin, matchsticks, and pennies cover an entire body of a creature, other times it is just the head unattached to its body.
The creative and interesting use of materials used transforms the animals into something different, something very inviting and attractive, but also unnatural. The seductive sparkles of the black sequence Denny uses pulls you in closer, all the while there is a “bear” underneath. There is a theme of masking over organic beauty with our own human inventions that is apparent in the artists work. Humans often take a natural object or creature that is already beautiful, and try to improve on it. We alter it so that it fits our own needs, or that we may see it as looking even better. Although Denny’s work is incredibly bright and fun with her pastel yarn and sparkling materials, there is a dark hint of the hand that humans have on the natural environment. (via The Jealous Curator)
Artist Paule Gu gives us a kaleidoscope of dark and hypnotic visions in his intense series of remarkably detailed drawings. Although they may look like monochromatic collages at first glance, this skillful artist has rendered these illustrations by hand. Each piece contains a plethora of eclectic images ranging from seductive nudes to deathly skulls, which are a repeating motif in his work. Small details can be discovered when examining the intricate lines and forms rendered by Gu in his work. A mysterious beauty lures you in closer, as symbols of death and the occult can also be found.
Gu’s work is an interesting mix of objects that are all connected in a balanced composition, perfectly mirrored. He often brings shapes like triangles and circles into the background, creating harmony to the piece and unifying its diverse imagery. The seamlessly symmetrical compositions transfix us, pulling us into a trance. Although Gu’s work consists of many different objects, they are all part of one single piece, morphing and fitting into one another. Various textures, themes, and worlds collide as sea horses live side-by-side three-eyed bats, and nude women dance around tigers and bones. Gu’s work will completely mesmerize you, as you will find another unexpected, bizarre detail every time you see his work. (via Supersonic)
Kirk Cheng invites us to stop and smell the roses at his new solo exhibition “Circle of Life” at the Above Second gallery in Hong Kong. Cheng being a floral artist, he constructs fantastical floral sculptures that appear as if they derive from ecosystems from another planet. Flowers, which are often used as just a decoration, are now in full bloom as the main attraction. Cheng uses striking, vibrant colors with unique plants that are arranged in circles, taking over the gallery space in all their glory. Like every plant, these magnificent flora pieces will start to die, whither, and decay. Although this death is bittersweet, the artist intentionally shows this process, hence the title of the exhibition “Circle of Life.”
An organic beauty can be found in seeing different stages of the lifecycle of Cheng’s floral arrangements. Death is natural, but it always stems from life. The decaying plants have their own unique aesthetic, as their colors are now dark and their texture changed. Seeing the flowers transform into different colors and their pedals turn hard and crispy is both intriguing and interactive, as the exhibition becomes ever changing. No doubt if you saw Cheng’s work at the end of the exhibition, it would look like an entirely different show than at the beginning. Perhaps displaying the dead flowers next to the thriving ones makes the living flowers seem even more full and vivacious. Seeing such an honest example of the cycle of life holds its own tragic beauty, allowing us to experience the magnificence of life. (via Hi Fructose)
The incredibly detailed pen and ink illustrators of Toronto based artist Paul Jackson take on the form of animals and humans, with their insides ascending from their bodies. His rendering of skeletal structures of wolves, dinosaurs, and humans is anatomically something to be admired. His illustrations have a dark aura, as he portrays different animals with layers of organs erupting from their skin. We can see Jackson’s well-refined skill in the very believable texture of the fur, skin, and bone in his work. Each illustration remains very realistic, despite their mystical nature. His creatures are like spirit-animals that are attempting to rise out of their earthly shell, erupting out of their exteriors.
There is a strong element of life and death his Jackson’s work, as many of his drawings contain half living creature and half skeleton. Pushing this boundary of the living world even further, many of Jackson’s works contain a visible “glitch.” There is a disruption in the composition. A face slowly turns into waves of “white noise,” like a sound wave encountering interference. This interference literally blurs the line between a creature, like Jackson’s bear, that is alive, with one that is dead. The artist has created his work on a large and small scale, and even has many of them available as prints, t-shirts, and patches. Make sure to check out his website for more astonishing illustrations and a great time-lapse video of the artist in action.
The street art and murals of artist Okuda San Miguel drip with color and burst with energy, until they are no longer held on a brick wall, but spilling out into real life, in three-dimensional form. The Madrid-based artist uses a pop surrealist style to create large scale murals that transform public spaces into places of geometric, vibrant color and imagery. His work is so incredibly stunning, that it is almost as if the street walls cannot contain them. Public works like his painted phone booth contain an element that explodes from the piece. Color drips from the phone booth, fusing Okuda’s work with the real world. He often transforms his murals into three dimensional sculptures, creating an even more dynamic and captivating piece. As if Okuda’s mural that resembles a multicolored starburst didn’t demand our attention enough, he has a sculpture piece that brings the mural into the third dimension.
Okuda’s beautifully fractured, geometric style is applied to murals, street art, smaller scale paintings, and sculptures. Whichever medium the artist so chooses, he creates works that are both mesermizing and transfixing. His paintings often use similar imagery, such as velumptuous, nude bodies, animal heads, and skulls. A fascinating juxtoposition is formed when certain subjects of Okuda’s paintings are covered in colorful shapes, while others have a smoother texture rendered in black and white. It is interesting that often the face or head will be full of color, while the more organic forms such as a nude body or a tree branch will be absent of it. Okuda portrays what lies underneath the bright shapes as monochromatic forms, exposing our sameness and human connection below our exteriors.
That seemingly irrational paranoia of always being watched begins to rise when viewing photographs from Andrew Hammerand’s series, The New Town. The artist, currently based near Phoenix, Arizona, has created a power play in the dichotomy between watching and being watched. He offers us a glimpse into the lives of a small, Midwest town and its anonymous inhabitants by electronically accessing and controlling a webcam on a cellular tower, taking screen-shots of what was captured over the course of a year. This camera, overlooking the town, is appropriately located on a steeple of a church, giving new meaning to “omnipresent”. This camera is watching over the people, not unlike a higher power. The question is who is in charge, who has the power? Do the townspeople have power through the safety gained by being observed, or do we have the power because we are doing the looking? We live in a world of meta-data in which digital snapshots are constantly being taken, whether it is through the lens of literal cameras, or by information given from our Google searches.
One element that is especially significant in this remarkably unique series is the anonymity behind every aspect of it. The artist is unknown to the subjects being watched, the town’s location and peoples’ identity are also a mystery to us. Although we see small hints of each person’s life, what he or she is doing remains unclear. We have no indication if their intentions are malicious or moral. By nature, even the viewer is anonymous to the artist, especially when the artist’s work is being displayed through digital publications like this one. The grainy quality of the photos makes each composition all the more intriguing. We are wrapped up in the mystery, in the unknown story of these peoples’ lives. We see them playing in a park, pushing a stroller, and texting, but we do not know them at all. Even further, many of the subjects seem isolated in spite of being around others. Are we all detached through the lens of a camera, or does the convenience of the digital age connect our existence? Hammerand brilliantly gives rise to a slue of challenging questions and tests society’s progression into a super-digital age. Interconnecting technology, privacy issues, and digital culture, Hammerand’s work confronts contemporary politics in authority.
Artist and filmmaker Philip Haas has taken 16th century paintings and brought them into modern day in the form of larger than life sculptures. Haas has created four busts of the paintings titled The Four Seasons by Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The original paintings portray four busts cleverly formed from fruits, vegetables, and flora that represent each of the four seasons. The piece Autumn appropriately displays lush fruit making up the person’s plump cheeks, while Winter is revealed through bare twigs for hair and lumpy roots for the face. Haas’s sculptures are enormous and spectacular replicas of these paintings, down to every last plant that makes up the face of each character. The paintings as well as the sculptures portray and compare the never-ending cycle of life and unavoidable aging of humans in a beautiful and fascinating way.
What is absolutely amazing about the work being re-imagined and recreated as sculptures is that each of the works are fifteen feet high. Each intricate face completely engulfs the viewer in its interesting details, allowing you to examine every leaf, vegetable, and vine protruding from their facial features. Haas has given us a monumental series of works that shine a new light on the original masterpieces from the 1500’s. Haas’s sculptures have been shown all around the United States in a variety of unique venues including the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.