Art History Photography

An Immense New Book Surveys the Work of More Than 300 African Artists

October 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

Zanele Muholi, Bhekezakhe, Parktown (2016), gelatin silver print, 50 × 35.9 centimeters. Photo © Zanele Muholi. Stevenson, Amsterdam, Cape Town and Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson, New York

One of the most expansive volumes of its kind, African Artists: From 1882 to Now compiles a broad sampling of works from more than 300 modern and contemporary artists born or living on the continent. Within its 350-plus pages, the massive text spans a range of mediums and aesthetics, from Mary Sibande’s sprawling postcolonial installations and Wangechi Mutu’s fantastical watercolor collages to the cotton-embroidered photographs by Joana Choumali. The forthcoming volume follows the publisher’s 2019 book Great Women Artists, which gathers works from 400 artists from 54 countries across 500 years, and it’s available for pre-order from Phaidon and Bookshop.

 

Papa Ibra Tall, “La semeuse d’étoiles (‘The Star Sower’)” (undated), tapestry, 201 × 298 centimeters. Photo © the artist

Kwesi Botchway, “Green Fluffy Coat” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 78.7 × 78.7 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy of Gallery 1957, Accra

Mary Sibande, “A Reversed Retrogress: Scene 1” (2013), lifesize fiberglass mannequins and cotton textile, 180 × 120 × 120 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy of the artist

Michele Mathison, “Breaking Ground” (2014), steel and enamel, 203 × 104 × 40 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy Michele Mathison and WHATIFTHEWORLD

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, “Fragile 5” (2018), acrylic and oil on canvas, 187 × 196 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy of the artist and October Gallery, London

John Akomfrah. “Vertigo Sea” (2015). Photo © the artist and Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery

 

 



Art

12,000 Sheets of Wrinkled Rice Paper Drape Around a Monumental Installation by Zhu Jinshi

October 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters. All images courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries, shared with permission

More than 12,000 sheets of delicate Xuan paper form the ruffled exterior of Zhu Jinshi’s suspended “Boat” sculpture. The renowned artist, who’s currently living and working in his hometown of Beijing, is widely regarded for pioneering Chinese abstract art, and this monumental installation from 2015 is a reflection of his conceptual, meditative practice.

Spanning 18 meters long and seven meters wide, “Boat” is comprised of wrinkled paper layers draped around bamboo frames. Countless thin cotton threads hold the individual components in place and intersect the curved, tunnel-like form with straight lines that extend vertically to the ceiling. Bisected with a central space for viewers to pass through, the metaphorical work considers the passage of time and space and is an extension of Zhu’s 2007 installation “Wave of Materials” (shown below), which features a single, halved form anchored to the gallery floor with stones.

The artist is exhibiting at West Bund Art and Design 2021 next month and is opening a solo in Shanghai at the end of the year. Until then, explore an archive of his works at Pearl Lam Galleries and on Artsy.

 

“Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters

Detail of “Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters

Detail of “Boat” (2015), Xuan (rice) paper, bamboo, cotton threads, 18 x 7 meters

“Wave of Materials” (2007), Xuan paper, cotton thread, bamboo, and stones

“Wave of Materials” (2007), Xuan paper, cotton thread, bamboo, and stones

 

 



Art

Drawings and Paintings by Pat Perry Reinterpret American Stories with Tender Absurdity

October 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Recital XII” (2021), acrylic on panel, framed, 26 x 48 inches. All images courtesy of Hashimoto Contemporary, shared with permission

In Pat Perry’s Sensemaking, there’s no rubric for telling a story. In quiet scenes framed through roadside vantage points and performances of costumed figures and contemporary symbols, the Detroit-based artist (previously) considers the deeply American tendency to configure the world with single, flat narratives. Perry takes an opposing approach, though, and instead layers his pieces with contradiction, complexity, and unusual details that reflect the current moment.

Rendered in subtle color palettes, his drawings and paintings pull from the visual lexicon of Midwestern life (i.e. children playing on pipe abandoned in a field or a lone figure sitting at a card table on the sidewalk), although they contain imaginative twists and nuanced social commentary: swimming pools sit below an underpass, banners display Craigslist ads, and fleeting social media trends are printed on large posters. “These paintings and drawings offer a joyful glimpse into an invented world; one that’s closely related to the one right in front of us; one that we so often struggle to see clearly and make sense of,” a statement about the series says.

 

Sensemakers” (2021), acrylic on panel, framed, 48 x 57 inches

In a lengthy essay published by Juxtapoz back in August, Perry elaborates on the impetus for his latest works, which center around a broad theme of flawed logic. He revists his attempts to understand the world through the lens of his religious childhood in Michigan and later, the anarchic ideologies that guided his early adult years, and the two conflicting narratives profoundly impact the artist’s approach today. “Chapter Three of my life so far has had something to do with recognizing that truly lessening suffering maybe has less to do with understanding the world, or playing an oversized role in it. It may not be about constantly ‘using my voice,'” he writes.

Sensemaking, which features dozens of new paintings, charcoal drawings, and works in acrylic and pen, is on view from October 6 through November 16 at Hashimoto Contemporary in New York, and you can follow Perry’s work on Instagram.

 

“Recital XIII” (2021), acrylic on panel, framed, 48 x 54 inches

“River Friends” (2021), acrylic on panel, framed, 49 x 64 inches

“Black Square” (2021), acrylic on panel, framed, 42 x 48 inches

“Video Wishing Well” (2021), acrylic on panel, framed, 20 x 20 inches

“NPC Melek Taus” (2021), acrylic on panel, framed, 29 x 54 inches

“Indexers 1” (2021), acrylic, pencil, and pen, framed, 22 x 30 inches

“Glossary” (2021), acrylic, pencil, and pen, framed, 22 x 30 inches

“Indexers 2” (2021), acrylic, pencil, and pen, framed, 22 x 30 inches

 

 



Art

Fantastical Digital Paintings Position Wildlife in Unnaturally Colorful Environments

October 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Grove Square Galleries, shared with permission

Photographic artist Jim Naughten casts a fantastical, candy-colored lens over luxuriant ecosystems and surreal animal portraits in Eremozoic, a solo exhibition on view at Grove Square Galleries through November 18. Comprised of digitally altered compositions, the series centers on rhinos, manatees, and myriad wild animals in strange, unearthly settings: a tall brown bear stands on its hind legs in a field of bright pink grass, a gorilla rests in similarly vibrant foliage, and orangutans swing through leafy branches in shades of blue.

While the animals usually are isolated in true color, the backdrops evoke infrared photography, and Naughten’s unnatural alterations tinge the otherwise realistic imagery with magical elements. The artist says the manipulations convey humanity’s ever-growing disconnect with the environment, which he explains in a statement:

I’m interested in how, in the evolutionary blink of an eye, humans have come to dominate and overwhelm the planet and how far our relationship with the natural world has fundamentally and dangerously shifted from that of our ancestors. I hope the work will create awareness and discourse about this disconnection, our fictionalized ideas about nature and possibilities for positive change.

Although the pieces venture into a strange realm of kaleidoscopic details, they have biological reality at their core, and the exhibition title, Eremozoic, refers to the current era of the earth’s evolution. Biologist and writer E. O. Wilson introduced the term to characterize this “period of mass extinction due to human activity. The Eremozoic Age is alternatively referred to as The Age of Loneliness, and this sense of dislocation and disorientation is captured in Naughten’s depiction of nature as an unfamiliar, unnatural realm.”

In addition to the collection shown here, Naughten shares a variety of otherworldly renderings on his site and Instagram. (via Creative Boom)

 

 

 



Art Craft

An Exhibition of 50 Piñatas Explores the Cultural Significance of the Festive Object

October 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Installation view of Roberto Benavidez’s sculptures (front) and Isaias Rodriguez, “resilience” (2021) (back). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America. All images courtesy of Craft in America, shared with permission

A ubiquitous decoration at birthdays and family celebrations, piñatas are conventionally associated with fun, festivity, and of course, their potential to split open and release candy and other treats. Now on view at Craft in America, a group exhibition re-envisions the party staple by connecting it with contemporary practices that extend the playful artform’s capacity for social and political commentary.

Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration features approximately 50 works from Mexico- and U.S.-based artists and collectives, who explore the evolution of traditional construction techniques and the object’s broad cultural significance that reaches beyond its Mexican heritage. The fantastical creatures of Roberto Benavidez’s illuminated manuscript series, for example, encapsulate questions about race and sin, while Justin Favela (previously) translates the confrontation between American pop culture and Latinx experiences into fringed, abstract landscapes. Other works include a massive COVID-19 vaccine bottle by Lisbeth Palacios, Diana Benavidez’s motorized cars that speak to issues at the San Diego/Tijuana border, and a swarm of tiny suspended monarchs by Isaias Rodriguez.

If you’re in Los Angeles, stop by Craft in America before December 4 to see the exhibition in person or take a virtual tour on the nonprofit’s site.  (via Hyperallergic)

 

Roberto Benavidez, “Illuminated Hybrid No. 3” (2019). Photo by the artist

Detail of Isaias Rodriguez, “resilience” (2021). Photo by Matthew Hermosillo

Justin Favela, “Baño de los Pescaditos (after José María Velasco)” (2019). Photo courtesy of the artist

Left: Lorena Robletto (Amazing Piñatas), “Alebrije Installation” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America. Right: Lorena Robletto (Amazing Piñatas), “Seven Point Star Installation” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Roberto Benavidez, “Illuminated Hybrid No. 5” (2018). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Left: Giovanni Valderas, “No Hay Pedo (Canary)”  (2016). Photo by Giovanni Valderas. Right: Lisbeth Palacios (All Party Art), “COVID Vaccine” (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

Diana Benavidez, installation view of “Border Crosser” and “La Pinche Migra” (from Vehículos Transfronterizos series) (2021). Photo by Madison Metro, Craft in America

 

 



Art

13 Staircases Blanketed with Prismatic Murals Evocative of Andean Textiles Run Through Lima's Hills

October 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Jeremy Flores, © Xomatok, shared with permission

Artist Xomatok (previously) translates the vibrant, geometric motifs of handwoven Andean blankets, or llicllas, into large-scale works that mark the pathways through the hilly Alisos de Amauta neighborhood in Lima, Peru. Painted during the course of two months as part of the Municipality of Lima’s Pinta Lima Bicentenario, the 13 interventions were a collaborative undertaking by the artist and local residents, who transformed the public staircases that wind through the district into multi-level canvases. The resulting patterns are kaleidoscopic and highlight a spectrum of bright colors and symmetries often associated with the traditional textiles. In a note to Colossal, Xomatok says community members will add to the project as a way to continue celebrating their cultural history, and you can take an aerial tour of the finished pieces on the artist’s Instagram.