History of Rise and Fall. 6.5′ x 6.5′, pen & acrylic ink
History of Rise and Fall, detail
Ark. 3′ x 4′, pen & acrylic ink
Foretoken. 6′ x 11′, pen & acrylic ink
The task of Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu is seemingly impossible: a blank paper canvas larger than a person spread before him, a small acrylic pen in his hand, and hundreds of days to fill with faintly imperceptible progress from a mind brimming with explosive creativity. Manabu works in areas measuring roughly 4″ square, spending eight hours a day, often for years, on a single drawing that can eventually dominate an entire wall. Traditional Japanese architecture clashes with giant mangled tree roots, while swarms of birds and fish dart through the water or atmosphere in a complete visual cacophony that somehow results in a single cohesive image. The most unbelievable aspect being that Manabu has no idea what the final artwork will look like, but instead explores each work organically from day to day as he progresses inch by inch.
Manabu’s most recent work, Meltdown, which explores the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake was recently on view at the West Vancouver Museum, and next month will embark on a 10 by 13 foot panel in Madison, Wisconsin which the artist estimates will take upward of three years to complete.
Artist Amy Casey (previously) just unveiled a new collection of work at Zg Gallery here in Chicago. Titled Putting Down Roots the paintings continue an ongoing fictional saga of characters living in Casey’s artwork who often face great adversity from killer plants, collapsing structures, and other desperate means to keep their cities afloat or intact. From the looks of it things have improved dramatically for these little painted inhabitants who appear to have weathered the storm and are now thriving within Casey’s bizarre, suspended worlds. From the artist:
After any pendulum swing of chaos grinds to a slow halt, there will come a time when you will have to decide if you are going to wallow in the rubble or take what remains and create a new empire. Building upon recent work, I have been in search of a solid ground. A bit less kinetic than past work, I have been trying to take what was left of the world in my paintings and create a stability of sorts, thinking about community ties and the security (or illusion of security) needed to nurture growth. Cities are fascinating creatures that I am just beginning to scratch the surface of.
In the video above from Cleveland Arts Prize she talks at length about her process and the continuing narrative that weaves through years of her art. Interestingly, every building or house in each of her paintings is based on actual source materials. Casey will take photographs of some 500 individual houses, office buildings, and water towers which she then uses as reference for every small small structure you see in her artwork.
Putting Down Roots will be up through July 6th, with a smaller selection of work on view through August. All images copyright Amy Casey, courtesy Zg Gallery.
Guadalajara-based painter Omar Ortiz (nsfw) recently completed this amazing new oil painting titled Salto de Fe (Leap of Faith). Ortiz is an accomplished hyperrealistic painter and commands fine control over light and skin tone in all of his paintings which he generally paints on large canvases. You can also find him on Facebook. (via ghost in the machine)
Greek artist Nikos Gyftakis created this wonderful series of swirling self-portraits between 2004-2005. The works are made with oil pastels on canvas and are actually quite large, with a few of the pieces taller than 5′ (1.5m). You can see many more from this series and more of his recent work in his work gallery. (via empty kingdom)
Artist Ekaterina Panikanova creates densely layered paintings across large spreads of old books and other documents, resulting in artwork that blurs the lines between painting, installation and collage. Born in St. Petersburg in 1975 Panikanova graduated at the top of her class from the Academy of Fine Arts and was subsequently given a studio to work from for five years. She now lives and works in Rome. Much of what you see above was from her second ever solo show Un, due, tre, fuoco at z2o Galleria earlier this year, and if you’d like to see more, check out her website. (via this isn’t happiness)
While Dutch artist Joris Kuipers spent years studying traditional painting and fine art techniques at both the Arnhem Academy and the Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen, his installations fly in the face of anything traditional. While borrowing from ideas rooted in expressionism as far as the application of paint and use of color, the artist constructs large-scale installations that spiral and twist off the walls, blurring the lines between painting and sculpture.
Two of his most recent works shown here were installed at Galerie Jaap Sleper in Utrecht and Het Plafond in Rotterdam. The artworks are made from suspended and raised components of depron foam coated with acrylic paint, appearing like a storm of whirling clouds or maybe flowers. I really hope he continues in this direction. (via saatchi online)