Looking Through The Glass
When I first wrote about the work of Sydney, Australia's Mark Whalen years ago, I was fascinated by his use of bright pinks and blues in angular ways that can't possibly exist in "real life". Now, in 2012, Whalen has taken those same tendencies and brought them into a Homer Simpson-meets-3D-world level of trippiness, as parabolic three-dimensional grids cross with graph paper lines and shapes in various stages of dimension transformation. Lankier versions of the same characters Whalen used before traverse his far out illustrated environments in varying chaotic states. Some are being swallowed up by giant golden chess pieces; some engaging in ritualistic sacrifices; others falling down stairs and holding up basketballs on royal pedastals. More on Whalen soon. For now, enjoy these works, for a modern M.C. Escher-esque take on pattern and space, as swabbed in bright colors, humor, perversions, and rituals.
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"Night Song", shot entirely in a single take and without the teeniest bit of post-editing, sees a scramble of projected black and white characters, shapes, and words transforming vocalist and director Kim Krans' face and form into entirely new compositions every couple seconds. In the brief Q&A below, Krans addresses the concept behind the video and its creation process, and a small gallery of her visual art can be viewed. Their upcoming record, Grace & Lies, will be released via No Quarter Records this month.

 

 

Seattle artist Bette Burgoyne creates intricate colored pencil drawings that flow like the mechanizations of the universe. Inspired by geometry and pattern-based forms as well as nature, science, mathematics, and music, Burgoyne places heavy reliance on how perspectives and viewpoints shift and unfold over time. As she states simply in her personal statement, "My intention is to reveal a spectacle of wood, water, light and atmosphere; to share my enthusiasm for these processes and patterns that overlay, harmonize and echo one another." In the Q&A below, Burgoyne expands on this intention by describing her approach, factors that led her to her current body of work, and how music plays a significant role on her process.

 

With variation in degrees of shading and texture, the black and white watercolor and graphite pieces by Ottawa's Nimit Malavia seem to be caught in varying degrees of completion. The epic 26 Point Stag, above, seems like a page out of Greek mythology or a fantasy novel, while Arranged, below, bleeds and combines geometries like a page out of a manga or graphic novel. These pieces are showing now at Spoke Art (816 Sutter Street, San Francisco), through April 28th, 2012. See more colorful and poetically romantic images, such as the ones on the bottom of this post, on her website, along with more black and white whimsies.

 

Often by way of the unrefined medium of ballpoint pen, UK artist Mark Powell turns vintage envelopes into portraits of the elderly. His high-contrast black-and-white images find their strength in wrinkles, as though making some sort of meta-commentary about aging faces upon aging trees. Creases separate mouths from noses and stamps and seals make fanciful bindis, stressing that there is a story to be found in every one of these century-old envelopes, whether infused with Powell's artistic intentions of not.

 

Oh, but of course Oakland's Randy Colosky is the main artist showing at this month's Gallery Hijinks (2309 Bryant St., San Francisco) show (stated in a knowing-yet-pleasantly-surprised way)! Nondeterministic Algorithm. shown below, is a series of seven ink drawings on paper that use repetition of the same shapes to plot unique paths in three-dimensional space, like slithering cosmic Slinkys. Given their color palettes, one might almost expect for them to pop out and swallow you into a cascading vortex, upon one's donning of a pair of 3-D glasses -- or perhaps even without. The show is on display through April 28th, 2012. Below, Colosky gives some insight into his artwork.

 

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Chicago-based illustrator and artist Jacob Van Loon has recently taken inspiration from the films of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. Two of Van Loon's latest pieces, The Moguls (Stalker) and Let Alone A Planet (Solaris) -- named after two Tarkovsky films of the same name -- are chaotic and multi-layered mixed media works inspired by the content, moods, and color palettes of those films. "I can't think of a director who has done more with film as a medium," says Van Loon of Tarkovsky. "I was dealing with the assignment of dense conceptual material during the painting process. I found it easier to speculate on the latent aspects of both films; the psychological confrontations posed by the pace, sound, and color." Though Van Loon readily admits that both films felt initially inaccessible to him, the Q&A below will show how repeat viewings led to the gelling of his artistic style with philosophical and psychological interpretations of Tarkovsky's themes.

(TOP) The Moguls (Stalker) Diptych 24"x40"; (BOTTOM) The Moguls (Stalker) Detail - Watercolor, graphite View entire Stalker Series On Jacob Van Loon's Website

 

Up through the end of this week at Carmichael Gallery in Culver City (5795 Washington Blvd.) is a globe-trotting exhibition with a somewhat street art lean.

Bumblebee

The appearance of materials such as stencils, spraypaint, and unconventional installation materials makes sense when one considers the curator of the show is none other than Los Angeles street artist Bumblebee -- an individual that really runs with his moniker to create miniature beehives and models that he attaches to abandoned phone booths. In this group show, he pulls his work off the street and into a gallery setting. What is perhaps most impressive about the curation of this show is that beneath its sophisticated facade, each and every artist knows how to get down to the nitty-gritty and how to take his or her works to the street. Perhaps this quote can serve as a fitting summary for this show:
"There are many artists in the urban / street art movement. For this show, each artist was selected based on his or her unique voice and ability to push the boundaries of the genre, while remaining true to its origins." - Bumblebee

Hyuro

Valencia by way of Buenos Aires artist Hyuro makes drawings which blur the lines of where individuals begin and end. A heavy aspect of this all-in-oneness lays focus on hair, which she textures delicately and with great dimensional purpose. Expect a post soon about her street art brilliance.
Our Hands Will Eventually Destroy Everything Beautiful, a new body of work by Japanese illustrator Fumi Nakamura, is the result of a personal period of growth. After a mental breakdown and a year of hiatus from art, Nakamura realized that she needed to leave behind a past of pain and suffering to grow into the person she is now becoming. "I was chasing after unrealistic thoughts and hopes during that year... Then one day, something inside of me snapped and I came to the realization that I need to move on and get rid of my 'problems' -- beautiful memories with someone I loved, childhood trauma, pains of growing up and literally everything since they were the core source of my regrets and grudges..." Nakamura says in an interview with Thinkspace Gallery. "... I had (and still do have) a problem with holding onto the past heavily to the point where it was making me so miserable. I wanted to change and stop running away from reality -- in order to do that, I decided to "destroy." So I can maintain pieces of life together, survive in a place called "life." I became honest, out-spoken and decided to cut all the things out that are affecting me and my life negatively." These new pieces by Nakamura use negative space and delicate graphite and colored pencil drawings to accentuate the"intense but fragile," and ultimately, serve as captive reminders of human fragility. Though these images are beautiful, there is a darkness to them; animals are shot straight through by arrows, eyeballs are held in hands, and symbols of death are given significant attention.
If ever there was a gallery that were my soulmate -- or that I would want to be my soulmate, anyway -- it would be San Francisco's Gallery Hijinks. Their opening this Saturday, February 4th, features the works of New York artist Matthew Craven, who painstakingly inks and collages geometric black and white images onto aged paper. His source imagery reads vaguely familiar, perhaps reminiscent of old Roman or Greek ruins paired alongside patterns from the Peruvian Andes or West African baskets? It's anyone's guess after Craven's done synthesizing together historical and cultural elements from across the globe to create his own minimalistic mythologies. (8 IMAGES TOTAL)