It may take a few glances to realize the work of Juan Carlos Manjarrez are paintings and not photographs. Manjarrez captures an amazing amount of detail and realism in his work. His black and white palette coupled with a photographic sensibility only add to his paintings’ hyper-realism. Amazingly, Manjarrez is a self-taught painter – though he has attended graduate school, he majored in architecture. Manjarrez has been exhibiting professionally for the past twenty years.
The street artist known as Above works primarily with stencils and spray paint. However it can also be said that he works primarily with politics and wit. Above’s pieces expound on their surroundings, such as cast shadows, trash cans, electrical wires and even preexisting street art. He also uses these surroundings to bring attention to political issues. For example, a line of silhouetted people queue up down a city block as a comment on Spain’s high unemployment rate and a reference to the lines at the unemployment office. Another piece was daringly executed near an ATM – a masked figure points a gun at the ATM with one hand, and is handing cash to a real homeless woman nearby with the other.
Illustration and design studio Brosmind created a series of illustrations that peeks under the surface. The series depicts 20 characters and what really goes on inside their bodies according to the wild imagination of the studio. Food, organs, pianos, even entire cities inhabit the bodies of each strange character. The series illustrates a curiosity for inner workings. Via the series’ statement, Brosmind says:
“We’ve been always passionate about how things work, and that’s why we created this project. A collection of 20 characters that are opening themselves with the help of a young Lydia Lopez (our lovely main character from our latest project SHE ).”
It may be an understatement to say that the artist that simply goes by the name of Mossi is interested in lines and line-making. His drawings are incredibly intricate, containing innumerable lines. Mossi uses typical color pens to create his a typical work. Each piece is a sort of portrait. However, more than faces, the drawings are just as much investigations of lines, pattern, and facial composition. The portraits are meditative, perhaps as much for the viewer as they were in creating for the artist. The bright colors, and extremely detailed pattern make for psychedelic-like work that’s easy to get lost in.
Street art has become especially exciting and unpredictable over the last several years. However, the last place many would expect to find it is on the water. The New York based street artist SWOON designed three sea vessels built from salvaged material. The “flotilla” sailed from the coast of Slovenia to Venice, Italy. Though, definitely not the street SWOON effectively brings an urban aesthetic to sea. Photographer Tod Seelie was along for the ride to document the trip. The photographs and wild journey are as amazing as the vessels themselves. The raucous mash up of materials perfectly match the crew and set the atmosphere for what was certainly a wild ride.
The photography of Amanda Charchian is like a vaguely familiar dream. Her series featured here make a strange sort of sense in much the way a dreams do. Titled When There is Nothing Left to Burn, You Have to Set Yourself on Fire, Charchian makes use of an all female cast of subjects, primary coloring, peculiar lighting, and hazily 1970’s fashion photography aesthetic for an understated surreal atmosphere. However, she especially makes skillful use of the scenery blending all of the components into one sun-induced hallucination. Interestingly, she says of her process:
“I really enjoy what I do, so I am constantly working. I am very fast paced and I like working in a trance state, so it doesn’t suit me to adhere to a particular plan. The process always starts with that sort of light bulb flash (usually when I am doing something really mundane), and then I refine the concept. With that concept lurking, the physical making of the work always becomes very intuitive.” (via)
Artist Gina Ruggeri skillfully plays with perspective and spatial illusion. Her work often takes the form of painted Mylar cutouts employing trope-l’oeil techniques. Natural objects such as logs, stones, and smoke seem to float off the wall and into the gallery space. In other work the white walls give way to rot, decay, and caverns. Though Ruggeri’s work is eye-catching a definite and clear painting tradition stands out in her work. She frequently forgoes the traditional canvas for plastic film but her composition and techniques is reminiscent of past styles. The background landscapes of Renaissance portraits appear to have outgrown their frames (and conventional physics for that matter) and now unfold directly on the gallery walls.
Artist Li Lihong expertly juxtaposes two familiar but disparate sets of imagery. He renders familiar corporate logos as three dimensional sculptures. However, these are more than just sculptures. Li uses traditional ceramicist techniques coupled with Chinese iconography. The pairing of traditional and contemporary, East and West, corporate and fine art isn’t such a violent clash one may expect. Rather, the over arching familiarity, through from contrasting sources, is nearly complimentary.