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Expressive Hands Capture Portraits of Relationships and Cultural Heritage in Malisa Suchanya’s Acrylic Paintings
In vivid pinks, reds, greens, and blues, Oakland-based artist Malisa Suchanya renders the expressive contours of hands immersed in florals and ornamental motifs. Interested in painting the human figure, she started to focus on the appendages specifically during the pandemic, sharing that she “found a deep love and satisfaction in trying to convey emotion and reflect relationships all through the different arrangements, compositions, and entanglement.” She then participated in Var Gallery’s ongoing 30 x 30 x 30 project, which invites artists to make 30 artworks in 30 days every January, spurring creativity at the start of the new year.
“I know very well that it’s projects like these that harbor an amazing environment for growth, and that was exactly what it was for me,” Suchanya says. Required to complete a painting per day, she spent about five hours on each work, plus an hour or two to prepare the next one. “Over the course of the month, I did find that my technique of painting changed quite a bit. It became a bit more time efficient and I was layering my colors with more confidence and ease… and it became close to meditative.”
Suchanya organized three sub-series within the collection, including portraits of hands belonging people who have have deeply impacted her throughout her life, reflections on being with others, and her cultural identity and upbringing in Singapore. Hands blossom from floral arrangements in the portraits series and are titled with individuals’ names, while limbs that twist and float on a black background comprise a set exploring the nuances of relationships. And looking to her Chinese, Indonesian, and Thai heritage, she included examples of colorful, traditional masks framed by hands.
Throughout the year, Suchanya participates in markets and artist fairs around the country, including San Jose Made, which you can find updates about on her website and Instagram. She will also have a solo exhibition at Mom and Pop Art Shop in Point Richmond, California, later this year, and 30 x 30 x 30 continues at Var Gallery in Milwaukee through June 4.
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Ukrainian Artist Julia Pilipchatina Draws on the Centuries-Old Tradition of Porcelain Painting with the Future In Mind
In the 7th or 8th century, Chinese artisans devised a way to combine feldspar and kaolin and fire it at a very high temperature to produce the first porcelain, which was traded globally and highly sought-after for its elegant surfaces and ornate designs. The precise process wasn’t easy to replicate: not until the early 18th century did makers in Germany first achieve the right mix of materials and methods to produce the ceramic in Europe. Around the world, the bright, white surfaces of dinnerware and decorative vessels provided canvases for the painstaking craft of porcelain painting, emphasizing numerous patterned layers of colorful glaze. For Ukrainian artist Julia Pilipchatina, the craft of hand-embellishing plates connects her to a rich creative legacy and to personal stories and family heirlooms.
Formally educated as a historian, Pilipchatina is fascinated by the profound ties to ancestry and culture that tableware represents. “By choosing a unique plate for ourselves, we draw upon our own values, and—I hope—these objects remain in our families as testament to the lives of past generations,” she says. As a refugee from Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, the artist was forced to close her workshop, leave all of her belongings behind—save for her two dogs—and start from scratch. Now in Belgium, she’s developing a series of plates depicting detailed, chromatic insects with spotted wings, serrated legs, and feathery feet. She says:
The Beetles series was born out of an attempt to overcome my fear. It’s difficult for me to approach the topic of war. It’s too painful and feels like a black hole that drags me in as soon as I focus on it. But I suppose the nature of fear is the same, and I decided to take on a somewhat safe but strong and irrational fear of insects.
While insects have long appeared in ceramic tableware alongside other popular motifs like birds, trees, and bucolic landscapes, Pilipchatina renders each critter in a style mirroring her watercolor illustrations, inspired by an encyclopedia depicting exotic, jewel-colored specimens in intricate detail. The more she studied the images, the more the creatures ceased to be a source of anxiety as she noted their elaborate patterns and found beauty in their vibrance and textures.
Each bug’s bold, saturated color emerges through the meticulous layering of thin coats of paint, or overglaze, to the surface, then firing the piece at 800 degrees Celsius. “The cycle consists of heating and cooling to room temperature, which means that one firing can last 12 hours,” Pilipchatina says. “Since the paint is semi-transparent, achieving brightness, depth, and contrast requires many layers, and therefore many firings.”
Emphasizing beauty as a reprieve from the loss of her home and the ugliness of war, the artist focuses on tenderness and fragility in the natural world and humanity’s relationship with it and one another. Combining art and utility, an elegantly crafted dish emphasizes longevity, continuity, and tradition while connecting loved ones around the table. She says, “Having an item that belonged to a grandmother or great-grandmother is of great value and rarity. Now, I am creating such objects for the future.”
Pilipchatina explores a range of decorative ceramic designs in addition to a few series of illustrations about her dogs and children’s stories. You can find much more of her work on Behance, Instagram, and in her Etsy shop.
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A Collaborative Photo Project Imagines a World Where Street Artists Have Free Rein
What would artists create if all of the world’s surfaces could become a canvas? Joseph Ford—of Invisible Jumpers fame—responds to this question in a new project called Impossible Street Art. Collaborating with eight artists including Peeta (previously), Levalet (previously), and Victoria Villasana (previously), Ford reimagines the possibilities of public spaces that are otherwise inaccessible due to scale, safety issues, or restrictions.
To begin the project, Ford photographed the locations, which include the Panthéon, the Seven Sisters cliffs in Sussex, and the center of a highway in Los Angeles, and then handed over enlarged prints to the artists. Once their additions were complete, he returned to the original sites and documented the altered images against the original backdrop. Playful and imaginative, the juxtaposed photos envision “a parallel universe where (artists) have complete artistic freedom.”
Shop the limited-edition prints and find behind-the-scenes looks at Ford’s process on his site.
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Invoking the Divine Feminine, Delita Martin’s Mixed-Media Portraits Embrace Self-Empowerment
“Duality is the idea that there are two realms within (the) spirit world,” says Delita Martin, “one that is seen and one that is unseen.” This coupling is a grounding force for the artist as she practices an alchemy of spirit and aesthetics, coaxing dynamic figures from a mélange of patterns, materials, and symbols.
Through a vivid body of work titled Conjure, Martin explores what it means to be self-empowered as a Black woman and embrace “the veilscape,” a spirit world in which the unseen, freedom from racism and sexism, transformation, and ancestral connection prevail. The artist refers to this space as an “intangible reality” and returns to it again and again as she overlays her relief-printed portraits with charcoal, acrylic, gold leaf, and threaded details.
While this conceptual layer remains throughout all of Martin’s works, her vast use of symbols shifts with each portrait. She might feature a bird mid-flight, as in “Flying (Feather Skirt),” for example, to convey an unrestricted spirit, or a full flock bound to a subject’s shoulders as in “Feathers” to communicate the experience of being tethered to another. Recurring in different forms on garments or backdrops, circles are similarly evocative as they reference the connection between the divine feminine and the moon. Color, too, is emblematic. She shares:
Although I do not subscribe to any particular theory on color, I very much believe that color causes a reaction and can connect with the human spirit. For my own purposes, colors like red and orange carry a fiery energy, and blues are very calming and actually connect more closely to the spirit world in my work than any other color. I tend to favor blues the most in my work. Yellows and golds are what I consider outdoor colors that reference the earth, colors that are closely related to the waking world. Greens I connect with nature and growth. Purples/burgundy I associate with mystery and time.
Washes of acrylic or fragments of colorful patterns blur the distinction between body and surroundings, emphasizing the co-existence of the physical and spiritual worlds and reminding the viewer that part of the self always remains invisible and hidden behind the veil.
Martin, who is based in Huffman, Texas, and represented by Galerie Myrtis, will have new portraits on view this month at Tiwani Contemporary in London and is teaching a printmaking course in Salzburg this July. Find more of Conjure and other works on her site and Instagram.
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‘A World History of Women Photographers’ Unearths Hundreds of Images that Enrich the Canon
Photography is often touted as one of the most accessible and democratic mediums, making it a prime choice for those with little institutional support or access to funding. A new book edited by Luce Lebart and Marie Robert and published by Thames & Hudson explores the work of more than 300 women, many of whom were underrecognized during their lifetimes, and all of whose practices centered around the camera.
Recently translated from French by Ruth Taylor and Bethany Wright, the hefty A World History of Women Photographers is a corrective encyclopedia highlighting those with outsized impacts on the medium. The 504-page book pairs hundreds of images with text by an international roster of 160 women writers, granting similar space to each photographer and unearthing a chronically undervalued group. “With this collection of artists, it is not so much a matter of producing a counter-narrative or of deconstructing histories that already exist but of completing them. We have no desire to burn idols or topple statues, only to erect new ones, and to create a narrative that is richer and more fair,” the editors write in the introduction. “In other words, there is an urgent need to write another history, and to write it differently.”
Included in the chronologically organized text that spans from 1850 to today are luminaries like Carrie Mae Weems and Zanelle Muholi (previously), in addition to those who have only recently come into public view. The Argentine photographer Josefina Oliver (b. 1875) was largely unknown until her great-niece unearthed her archives in 2006, for example, and that same year, Karimeh Abbud (b. 1863), the first woman to establish a studio in Palestine in the early 20th century, was recognized for her distinct portraiture style in the first major exhibition of her work. “This ‘world tour’ enables us to re-evaluate some women who were celebrated and acknowledged in their own time, to remember others now unjustly forgotten, and to discover others whose work was never exhibited or discussed during their lifetime,” the editors say.
A World History of Women Photographers, created as part of the Rencontres d’Arles and Kering’s Women in Motion project, is currently available on Bookshop. (via Hyperallergic)
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Future-Proof Your Digital Identity With a .ART Domain
Celebrate creativity with .ART, the premier domain for the global art community, as it marks six years since its launch and approaches a significant milestone of 300,000 registrations. With an impressive roster of users from prestigious art institutions and renowned brands—such as The Louvre, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Ars Electronica Festival, Bank of America Art Fund, Porsche, and many more—the platform’s consistent growth highlights its undeniable impact on the art world. Individual artists, art enthusiasts, and creative minds also flock to .ART, with “NameSurname.art” being among the most sought-after standard format for domain names.
Elevate your online presence with a premium .ART domain that stands out as a unique and artistic identifier. Examples of projects embracing the power of thoughtfully chosen domains include OG.ART, a platform curating collections of dynamic generative art; C2.ART, a full-service firm specializing in investment-level art; and NORTH.ART, a regional online art gallery and art news source for the North of the UK.
Embrace the digital revolution with the platform’s compatibility with Web3 and blockchain technology. More than 3,000 recently purchased .ART domains are related to NFTs and Web3, reflecting the growing trend. The platform offers matching ENS and DNS domains, bridging Web2 and Web3 platforms seamlessly. At PROTOCOL.ART, users can register the ENS name to complement their existing .ART website, allowing it to function as a web address and email, and they can even link to a wallet, NFT, or digital asset on Ethereum and other blockchain networks. With exclusive registration rights for the matching ENS name, domain owners can ensure a consistent and clear digital identity across Web2 and Web3.
Notable creatives like contemporary artist and designer Ali Sabet (SABET.ART), new media artist and crypto art historian Martin Lukas Ostachowski (MLO.ART), and photographer and digital creator Yakob (YAKOB.ART) have already capitalized on the benefits of ENS-DNS integration.
By choosing .ART, you also contribute to the Art Therapy Initiative, which promotes the therapeutic benefits of art. Through this initiative, the platform has funded a fellowship in Art Therapy at George Washington University.
Embrace the future of digital creativity.
Discover and secure your ideal domain at get.art. Use code “COLOSSAL23” for a 50 percent discount on any domain’s first-year registration fee.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
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