Artist Lee Me Kyeoung (previously) continues her decades-long project of painting the dwindling number of Korean corner stores, rendering quaint shops in Yangsan, Gyeongju, Gunwi, Sangju, and Cheorwon as part of her ongoing A Small Store series. The delicate artworks capture the idiosyncrasies and tiny details of each locale, like a plastic washbasket left out front or signage hanging from the eaves, and the vast collection includes shops in both remote and bustling neighborhoods across South Korea. Encapsulating the unique qualities of the quickly shuttering stores, Me Keyoung’s paintings preserve their cultural legacies in detailed acrylic.
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Considering his practice a form of “drawing in the air,” artist Lee Sangsoo forges colorful, spiraled flamingos, dogs, parrots, and other creatures with long strips of metal. He sculpts the minimal works with resin or stainless steel depending on the size—he uses the latter for any piece that spans more than one meter—and coats each angled side with subtle gradients or a complementary palette. Although three-dimensional and sometimes so large that they tower over the landscape, the creatures are inspired by Picasso’s small, abstract animal drawings, which the artist explains:
Lines, planes, and colors are important elements that work in my work. The lines drawn in the two-dimensional sketchbook determine the large flow and form of the work, and it becomes three-dimensional in the three-dimensional space. The square lines are shown in various shapes and colors according to the flow and twist, and you can feel the dynamism in the still work. Also, depending on the flow, the thickness of the lines may be rhythmically thickened or thinned.
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Using scraps of vibrant Ankara fabric, Lagos-based artist Marcellina Oseghale Akpojotor fashions intimate portraits that consider the fragmented and varied inner lives of her subjects. The intricately composed depictions rely on a cacophony of patterns arranged in loose ripples and tufts, creating a patchwork of color and texture. Although the textiles are Dutch in origin—they’re colloquially known as “African print fabrics”—they have a strong cultural significance, and by piecing together the assorted motifs, Akpojotor establishes a shared visual memory.
Set against uncluttered, domestic backdrops rendered in acrylic, the fiber-based figures are often disrupted with small spots of paint as a way to “speak to the influence our environment has in shaping us as individuals,” Akpojotor shares. “They represent the connections we have with our background and immediate society and how these often ignored elements form a part of our being.” Navigating the links between subjects and their surroundings is an ongoing concern for the artist, whose work delves into the effects of the current moment, in addition to the ways personal histories and the actions of previous generations have lasting impacts.
Akpojotor is represented by Rele Gallery, where her work will be on view later this month, and she’s currently working on pieces that explore how education affects women’s empowerment, which you can follow on Instagram. (via Women’s Art)
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Between Wounds and Folds: Suspended Cow Carcasses and Tree Stumps Reveal Layers of Discarded Fabric by Tamara Kostianovsky
Working with the tattered remnants of consumer culture, artist Tamara Kostianovsky (previously) asks us to question the origins, process, and disastrous results of our seemingly unquenchable desire to buy and waste. Four distinct bodies of the artist’s work spanning fifteen years have been gathered at Smack Mellon in DUMBO, Brooklyn to form Between Wounds and Folds. The textile ecosystem of cow carcasses harboring new life, vibrantly hued cross-sections of trees, and colorful birds of prey, are constructed from repurposed fabrics and discarded textiles. In this final state, the soft pieces function as an echo of their concealed beginnings. Smack Mellon shares in a statement:
Through alternating softness and aggression, her installations identify the nuances of violence that exist between a personal encounter and its normalization on a social and ecological level. Kostianovsky’s work asks for a re-imagination of human rights and environmental redemption models in order to consider the resultant violence as part of a larger, inseparable system.
Between Wounds and Folds is on view until October 31, and you can explore more of the Brooklyn-based artist’s work on Instagram.
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In her vibrant, neon-lit paintings, artist Gigi Chen intertwines ornate jewelry, graffiti, and glowing signs emblematic of urban life with foliage, feathers, and wide expanses of sky. Her acrylic pieces center on birds and other small animals in their natural environments with surreal, manufactured additions: a heron cradles a bright pink house on its back, two rabbits peer over a bush at an illuminated parking sign, and an owl carries an old payphone across a glacial landscape.
A lifelong New Yorker, Chen tells Colossal that once her family immigrated to the U.S. from Guangdong, China, when she was eight months old, they didn’t often venture beyond the city’s confines. “The fear of not being able to communicate clearly with strangers was very prevalent growing up, and it really restrained us from doing too much traveling during my early childhood even though my parents could drive,” she says, noting that it wasn’t until an artist residency in Vermont when she was 18 that she found herself interacting with nature. “I realized how small the Big City really is. I was terrified of the pitch blackness, the dense forest, and the dirt and the bugs. But I was totally in love and overwhelmed by how sublime and random nature is.”
These early experiences continue to impact Chen’s work as she confronts lush, forest ecosystems and cloudy sunsets through the lens of city life. “The dichotomy of the neon onto natural subjects like leaves and birds and trees makes for beautiful metaphors about how people relate to the flora and fauna,” she says. “Adding artificial light sources to a natural environment helped me to reimagine and expand the kinds of stories I could tell and broaden how I could convey personal messages.”
Many of the animal protagonists embody the artist’s experiences particularly those in her new series Light My Way Home, which is on view through October 24 at Antler Gallery in Portland. The metaphorical works are ruminations on home, family, and the security those two provide, and the pieces often portray the artist and her sisters as red-winged blackbirds with her late mother as the blue heron. “Home Away From Home Away From Home,” which depicts the three smaller birds encircling the other as she flies away, “represents what happened after the death of my mother,” Chen says. “Here, we are seeking the sense of safety and stability that my mother once represented to us and endlessly chasing the Ideal of Home.”
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Artist and jewelry designer Debra Baxter (previously) explores the endurance of grief, mortality, and human bonds in Love Tears. Comprised of anatomical and figurative sculptures, the multifaceted series blend alabaster, quartz, and wood with delicate glass or metal to create forms that contrast the fragility of the body and natural world with the rugged topographies of crystals and rock.
Simultaneously corporeal and unearthly, the spliced works evoke the Victorian tradition of mourning jewelry, which used various motifs and deep colors as memorials. In “Catch Your Breath,” for example, branch-like veins in bronze sprawl throughout crystalline lungs, while “Love Hard” bisects a smooth, glass heart with spiky quartz. “There’s inevitable pain in every form of love,” Baxter says about the series. “I’m fascinated by the ways in which we decorate this grief and mourning, and I wanted to see how far I could push myself with balancing the immediate, often ornate, demonstration of loss, and my use of permanent materials. This is about loss and legacy.”
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Editor's Picks: Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.