Hyperrealist painter Kevin Peterson paints fairytale-like interactions of children and wolves, birds, and bears in scenes much different than the pastoral worlds of storybooks. Instead Peterson places the unlikely packs in distressed cities filled with decaying buildings and urban detritus. Despite the worn surroundings, the young girls in the paintings maintain a sense of innocence while they bravely explore the streets with their powerful compatriots.
“My work is about the varied journeys that we take through life,” explains Peterson in his artist statement. “It’s about growing up and living in a world that is broken. These paintings are about trauma, fear and loneliness and the strength that it takes to survive and thrive. They each contain the contrast of the untainted, young and innocent against a backdrop of a worn, ragged, and defiled world.”
Installed to beautify the space of Vallero Square in Jerusalem, these four interactive flowers bloom and close in a fluid response to the pedestrians that pass underneath their red, over-sized petals. Designed by HQ Architects, the public sculptures are 30-feet tall and dwarf those who choose to walk beneath and around their gargantuan motion-activated blooms.
Depending on the season or time of day, the flowers provide light or shade—a welcomed resource to passengers exiting the nearby tram. When no one is around, the flowers gradually wilt by deflating and effectively ‘closing’ their petals to the city around them.
Housed in the former home of the 10-story International Shoe Company, the sprawling 600,000 square-foot City Museum in St. Louis is quite possibly the ultimate urban playground ever constructed. The museum is the brainchild of artist and sculptor Bob Cassilly who opened the space in 1997 after years of renovation and construction. Although Cassilly passed away in 2011, the museum is perpetually under construction as new features are added or improved thanks to a ragtag group of 20 artists known affectionately as the Cassilly Crew.
So what can you find at the City Museum? How about a sky-high jungle gym making use of two repurposed airplanes, two towering 10-story slides and numerous multi-floor slides, a rooftop Ferris wheel and a cantilevered school bus that juts out from the roof, subterranean caves, a pipe organ, hundreds of feet of tunnels that traverse from floor to floor, an aquarium, ball pits, a shoe lace factory, a circus arts facility, restaurants, and even a bar… because why not? All the materials used to build the museum including salvaged bridges, old chimneys, construction cranes, and miles of tile are sourced locally, making the entire endeavor a massive recycling project.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart) and live in the midwestern United States or have any other means to get to St. Louis, if you aren’t immediately planning a trip to City Museum, you’re missing out on life. On my first visit last year our family hardly left the museum for two days. It is the complete antithesis to commercialized theme parks like Disneyland. You can see more photos at Gallery Hip.
Lights at the Bus Stop. Oil on canvas. 120 x 120 cm
5ª Avenida.195 x 195 cm
Empire State. 146 x 146 cm
Afternoon From High Line Park. Oil on canvas. 120 x 120 cm.
Cristóbal Pérez García’s oil painted scenes are those found in twilight or dusk, landscapes encased in smog and the highly trafficked realities of living in an urban metropolis. The vantage points are those of the pedestrian, Garcia’s own view when embarking on a new city to paint. He recently shared a video, Traffic, that gives a short, but intimate glimpse into his process both within the studio and on the street.
Garcia’s highly textured paintings give a nice balance to the blurred masses of city inhabitants and his detailed buses, cabs, and cars. Each painting also has an emphasis on light, either natural or the reflection of vehicle and traffic lights in the crowded streets.
Garcia was born in 1976 in Álora, Málaga and studied painting and sculpture at the Universidad de Granada, Spain. Garcia has upcoming exhibitions at Galería Mar from March 5-18, and Art Expo New York from April 23-26. You can see more of Garcia’s urban landscapes on his website and frequently posted on Twitter. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
When first discovering these paintings by Korean artist Jieun Park, either on a distant gallery wall or on a small website thumbnail, you might first mistake them for nothing more than thick abstract brushstrokes on on a large canvas. A closer look reveals entire nighttime cityscapes embedded in the blots of paint, glimpses of Paris, Hong Kong, Prague, and other cities from Park’s travels. The artist has numerous prints and originals available over on Saatchi Online.
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.