For the facial furniture lover, Peskimo created these festive Xmas cards that’s sure to bring hairy cheer to that special Mustaccio in your life. Available at Moo.
Living matter thrives and dies within the intricate linework of Michigan-born artist Christina Mrozik. On large pieces of paper, she uses pen, ink, marker, and watercolor to compose semi-surreal visions of nature that are much different from the usual paintings of serene landscapes and friendly animals. Mrozik’s creatures bustle with a quiet ferocity: cranes perching on wolf carcasses split open with their progeny inside; owls flap wildly, trying to escape a rope of viscera that binds them to the roots below. Full of verdant symbolism, it somewhat resembles a twisted Garden of Eden, but it is important not to let the dark imagery overwhelm us; Mrozik’s vision of life-embracing-death (and vice versa) transcends existential horror, arriving at a depiction of nature that gives meaning to death and joins all living things in a greater life process.
The human perception of “nature” is central to Mrozik’s work. In her artist’s statement, she points out the seemingly contradictory “double perception” we have of nature: “it is either something to be glorified, or something to be dominated” (Source). We relish in its beauty and the idea of “untouched” lands, but we also wish to place ourselves above it, to separate ourselves, defining it as an “other” that can be controlled and exploited. Through her organic forms and the fusion of human and animal imagery, Mrozik’s art seeks to dissolve these imaginary boundaries, exemplifying how a sentience exists throughout all living things. As she concludes: “I feel that the basic stories of feeding, migration, shelter, mating, and self awareness are an essential part of our inner being and affect our view of the world both around us and within us.” (Source).
Bay Area-based printmaker Amber Fawn Keig‘s works on paper are a collection of colored pencil, gouache and lithographic prints—pulled together under the cohesive investigation of memory. The likenesses scratched out in her careful, stylistic black-and-white prints have the visually-loaded tinge of early 1990’s Americana. Keig usually works with imagery of her friends and family to create these works, although the narratives expressed are somewhat vague and seemingly fictional.
If anything, the litho prints pull the viewer in for a moment of intense technical examination, to look closely at Keig’s tiny, expert strokes, and to take in her careful thematic twists and turns, often embedded in the layered images she pulls together. While the black-and-white works stand well on their own, they’re complimented perfectly by the fluid, intuitive colorwork of her painted and pencil-drawn works. THe moments where the two mediums intersect are the most interesting, but each part of Keig’s current series seems to feed well into the same conceptual vein. While the scale is small, the subject matter is quite curious, and these works carry a kind of welcome, yet weary hominess in their portrayal of contemporary American experience.
Gustaph Meulemans’ use of geomtric shapes and screenprint color quality make his work stand out against todays vibrant and explosive colors.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was an American photographer known for his stylized black and white photographs. Mapplethorpe’s body of work is varied, he captured subject matter ranging from fellow artists to nudes. At times his works are simply beautiful, such as his photographs of lilies, and at others controversial, such as his homoerotic and S & M images, but always his work is provocative. In his own words he was “looking for the unexpected…looking for things I’ve never seen before.”
Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in the suburbs of Queens. Though he never graduated, he attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the late 1960s he met Patti Smith, who would become a life-long friend. Together they moved into the Chelsea Hotel and made art. Smith’s book, Just Kids, wonderfully documents their time together.
Ratio 3 in San Francisco recently opened a group show entitled Magnetic North featuring the work of Birgir Andrésson, Buck Ellison, Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Roni Horn, Ryan McGinley, Takeshi Murata, Geof Oppenheimer, Mitzi Pederson, and Christopher Williams. Through photography and sculpture each artist grapples with themes involving the natural world and the effects mankind has on planet earth. Multiple approaches are taken. Mitzi Pederson’s concrete and glitter fragment sculptures glisten as they speak of a broken environment while Sigurdur Gudmundsson’s Project for the Wind remains playful. The show is on view through May 11, 2013.
One of the most highly acclaimed contemporary artists from the Philippines, Ronald Ventura has garnered enormous international attention in recent years. He is noted for paintings featuring complex layering, combining images and styles raging from hyper realism to cartoons and graffiti — as well as for a significant body of sculptural work.
Ventura takes the layering process in his work as a metaphor for the multifaceted national identity of the Philippines. Over the centuries, the profound influences of various occupying powers – Spain, Japan, and the United States – along with the underlying indigenous culture, have produced a complex and at times uneasy sense of identity. Ventura explores this historical and psychic phenomenon through a dialogue of images evoking East and West, high and low, old and young – seen, for example, in allusions to Old Master paintings or Japanese and American cartoons. He draws our attention to the “second skin” of cultural signifiers that each person carries with him, however unwittingly. Ventura views skin as an expressive surface – written on with tattoos, concealed under layers of imagery, or exploding outwards to reveal an inner world of fantasy and conflict.
At times strangely numb, and at other points echoing a modernist affection for the coldest of structures and surfaces, the most recent work by Philadelphia painter Erin Murray certainly doesn’t lack in focus. Murray’s fixation on the bland, eerily coded architecture of American cities reveals an underlying criticism (or slightly tongue-in-cheek reference) to the simultaneous banality and sinister intentionality that exists in the spaces around us. Rather than allowing these ever-present backdrops of contemporary life to fade quietly into the background, she brings them forward in the hopes that the viewer will find the same suspicious significance in each graphic, expertly rendered façade.
Where her graphite works are dark and slightly ominous, the lush, surrealistic landscapes Murray has sketched out are deliciously disorienting. As a group, they reflect a curious interest in space, place and structure—something that might eventually push Murray’s works off the page and into the 3D realm.