Posts Tagged ‘painting’

Abstract City

Published March 25, 2010 by Molly

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Christoph Niemann’s illustrations are one-shot poems. You wouldn’t think it’d be possible to pack so much meaning / delight / humor into such simple images, but you’d be wrong. Niemann’s blog for the New York Times is called Abstract City, and it offers a running visual commentary on all things metro.

Ashlee Ferlito

Published March 18, 2010 by Molly

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San Francisco-based painter Ashlee Ferlito started out at Yale as a biology major but switched to art— a move that we can’t imagine happens very often within the ivory tower. Ferlito’s love of science abides, though, even as it intertwines with the influences of painting masters like Velasquez and Goya. The artist’s subjects have lately tipped towards animals (horses, swans, bulls, diabolical dogs, butterflies) and the cosmos (Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter), all rendered in glowing oils.

Best of all, Ferlito blogs about her painting endeavors in fascinating detail. You can watch the paintings evolve as Ferlito fiddles with them, fixing this and that and generally perfecting the images (”In this piece I was aiming for bark-like explosive feeling, an oppositional energy outward, so after it was pointed out to me that it seemed like the dog on the left was being stabbed I went back into the painting to try to rectify the situation.”)

Shary Boyle

Published March 17, 2010 by Graham

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Discovering Shary Boyle’s work is like biting into a pretty little pastry, only to realize, as your taste buds tingle and your mouth starts to water, that what you’ve actually sunk your teeth into is a sumptuous three-layer cake.

Maybe you’re been beckoned by her vibrant yet vexing illustrations. You surf to her website and take them all in, reveling in these seemingly sacrosanct tragicomic scenes from some distant galaxy’s breathtaking fluorescent apocalypse. An instinct in the back of your mind warns you to run, RUN– but it’s too late: you’re been ensnared in Boyle’s wild world. Next it’s her sculptures that catch your eye, those oddly silent, secret-filled sculptures, and before you know it you’ve discovered her creeping, carefully understated paintings. And what’s this– she does live projection? Yes, you discover, she tours with Toronto musician Doug Paisley in a group called Dark Hand and Lamplight, accompanying folk singing stallion Will Oldham to taverns in Big Sur where she lights up an overhead projector and makes magic with entrancing illustrations.

Once you’ve digested all the sickly sweetness and savory sensations of Shary Boyle’s work, a deep satisfaction settles in your belly– followed swiftly by an insatiable craving for more.

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Donald Baechler

Published March 9, 2010 by Molly

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Being a talented painter of a certain kind living in New York in the 1980s, Donald Baechler was lumped in with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf as a constituent of a certain downtown art scene. In reality, his work didn’t share many concerns with the graffiti-influenced aesthetic of his peers. Baechler’s singularity may or may not have something to do with his longevity, which is impressive. Clicking through his early paintings into the later flower paintings, crowd portraits, and sculptures is a trip in the best sense of the word.

Take a peek at the artist’s studio here, and check out this mini-profile in the T Magazine blog, in which the artist reveals as inspirations his striped socks, backyard, and three de Kooning drawings which he found on eBay for fifty bucks each. Score!

Nostalgia

Published February 18, 2010 by Molly

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The word “nostalgia” is a compound from ancient Greek consisting of νόστος, or nóstos (”returning home”) and ἄλγος or álgos (”ache”). Etymologies don’t get much more beautiful than that. In 1688 a Swiss doctor identified nostalgia as a medical disease— a kind of hypochondria of the heart. For the next couple of centuries people went on suffering and being diagnosed with this beautiful disease.

A professor of Slavic languages at Harvard named Svetlana Boym spent years studying various manifestations of nostalgia, and determined that there were two distinct types of the sensation. One she called “reflective nostalgia”, which consisted of longing for the past without denying the present. The second type she called “restorative nostalgia”, which involves inventing a tradition to make the past more coherent.

We thought of these things when confronted with Hollis Brown Thornton’s work. With its circuit boards, snow monsters, and stacked VHS tapes, Thornton’s images are nothing if not material evocations of that peculiar sweet-sour nostalgia feeling. The reflective kind, to be precise.

Conrad Ruiz

Published February 8, 2010 by Graham

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Wild colors explode across the epic images seared into Conrad Ruiz’s canvases. Bursting with epic drama, this San Franciscan’s paintings access the greatest heights of energy and excitement. Ruiz wields a strong comic sensibility, but his work has a secret depth brimming beneath its surface that transcends its endearing kitschiness. In his hands, the frozen image of a football coach being doused in Gatorade takes on a certain melancholy, and a glimpse of four track and field stars tumbling into oblivion amidst several pairs of whitey-tighties feels downright tragic. His stunningly detailed compositions demand your full attention and necessitate repeated views to meditate on their seductive mysteries.

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Kyle Pellet

Published February 4, 2010 by Molly

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Nice to see an artist who isn’t afraid of deploying the color pink in a judicious fashion. Kyle Pellet dabs his paintings with Pepto Bismol-pink, flamingo-pink, cotton candy-pink and other variations of that difficult shade. It certainly makes for a pleasant viewing experience. You don’t realize how much you miss the color until you see it in action.

Contentwise, Pellet has a predilection for drawing rubbery humanlike figures going about their obscure humanlike existence. His illustrations and animations are also worth checking out, as is this neat little summary of the drawing process as it happens. Good stuff.

Dantes Wharf

Published January 27, 2010 by Molly

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If you had a personal in-house artist to illustrate your nightmares (and maybe a couple of your dreams), the result would be something like Dantes Wharf.

Not sure what the overarching scheme of the site is, but it sure as hell does a good job at assembling all the classic nightmare signifiers in one place. We’ve got hominid skeletons, beady-eyed reptiles, de-gloved arms, swirling indescribable polygons, disturbing girls with Princess Leia buns, overenthusiastic canines, aliens, freaky kids, ultrasound machines, jellyfish, robots, anthropomorphism, googly eyes, human hearts, the food pyramid, blood, guts, horns, beaks, contorted mannequins and so much more.

The browsing might give you a heart attack but, hey, what’s a heart attack now and then? It’s worth it. We promise.

Paul Wackers

Published January 25, 2010 by Molly

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Visually speaking, the categories of “beautiful” and “challenging” overlap far less frequently than they should. This applies to any creative pursuit: architectural, musical, sartorial, and most definitely when it comes to painting.

Paul Wackers’ work exists in that tiny shared zone between the two categories. His paintings of abstracted machinery, natural growth and mountainous landscapes are as thought-provoking as they are stimulating, mixing recognizable geometric elements with head-scratching piles of…well, interesting-looking stuff.

Wackers’ paintings remind us a little of the psychedelic dreamscapes (nightmarescapes?) of Kirsten Deirup, but there’s no doubt he’s doing something all his own.

Chris Ballantyne

Published January 19, 2010 by Molly

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Chris Ballantyne’s paintings communicate a specific brand of serene, solitary joy. It’s a little like riding an endless left alone at the beach: slightly spooky, slightly amazing. Ballantyne’s work has its own rhythm and its own emptiness. He’s definitely comfortable with the void.

Floating on muted fields of color, the islands, waterfalls, jetties, pools and buildings of the artist’s work adopt a weird significance that is alternately touching and alienating. It’s the kind of work you want to look at all alone, with no one else in the gallery. Possibly it has something to do with the birds-eye perspective of the paintings, or the fact that his subjects are the stuff of everyday life—the kind of stuff we gloss over in the course of our routines. Nice to see that someone’s giving it a closer look.