Art

So Far So Good: Vivid Paintings by Murmure Take a Wry Perspective on the Climate Crisis

November 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Faille (Crack)” (2022), acrylic on canvas. All images © Murmure, shared with permission courtesy of Galerie LJ

Artists Paul Ressencourt and Simon Roche, a.k.a. Murmure (previously), have worked collaboratively for the past twelve years to synthesize a studio-based practice with large-scale street art. In high-contrast acrylic paintings, the duo reference the climate crisis and enduring problems of overconsumption, especially regarding the immense impact that humans have on marine life and rising sea levels. The artists’ new exhibition Jusqu’ici tout va bien, which translates to “So far so good,” approaches environmental catastrophes like thawing glaciers and overfishing from a characteristically sardonic perspective.

Ressencourt and Roche focus on the absurdity of capitalist systems in the face of destruction. Paradoxes abound as surveyors plot developments on a melting ice sheet, supine whales are served up as giant sushi rolls, and oblivious holiday-makers dive from icebergs and wade around shorelines devoid of flora and fauna. “In spite of everything, Murmure favors in their art a form of beauty which contrasts with the cruelty, the stupidity, and the urgency of the situations depicted in their works,” the exhibition statement explains.

Jusqu’ici tout va bien is on view at Galerie LJ in Paris through November 26. You can find more of Murmure’s work on their website and Instagram.

 

A painting by Murmure of a whale being served up as sushi with chopsticks.

“Whale Sushi” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

“Jusqu’ici tout va bien (Banquise)” or “So far so good (Ice)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

“Joyau” (2022)

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Joyau (Jewel)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of a whale underwater that is sliced into maki rolls.

“Whale Maki” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of two surveyors plotting lines on an ice sheet.

“Marquages (Markings)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

Two details of paintings by Murmure.

Left: Detail of “Whale Sushi.” Right: Detail of “Joyau”

Detail of “Faille”

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Joyau”

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Jusqu’ici tout va bien (Grande Banquise)”

 

 

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Photography

Salt Extraction Sites Turn Landscapes into Vivid Tapestries in Tom Hegen’s Aerial Photos

November 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

An aerial photo of vibrant fields of salt

All images © Tom Hegen, shared with permission

Since 2018, German photographer Tom Hegen (previously) has been soaring above regions from western Australia and Senegal to France and Spain as he documents the vivid landscapes of salt production. His mesmerizing aerial images peer down at evaporation ponds that carve the earth into a patchwork of vibrant hues. “What attracted me was the graphic and abstract appearance of these landscapes, which almost has a painterly quality. This is also the core feature that aerial photography has to offer: an unfamiliar few at ordinary things that surround us,” Hegen shares about the project.

Spanning nearly 300 pages, a forthcoming book titled Salt Works compiles more than 160 images from the series. Although their footprints vary widely, many of the areas spotlighted approach extraction in a similar manner: Harvesters often route seawater into these fields or small pockets of land, and the sun and wind help evaporate the liquid, leaving the crystalline minerals behind. Micro bacteria tint the salt into striking pastures of rose, aqua, and ochre, transforming the areas into rich tapestries of color.

Shop prints and posters from the series on Hegen’s site and pre-order Salt Works. Find more on Instagram and Behance.

 

Two aerial photos of vibrant fields of salt

An aerial photo of vibrant fields of salt

An aerial photo of vibrant fields of salt

An aerial photo of vibrant fields of salt

An aerial photo of vibrant fields of salt

An aerial photo of vibrant fields of salt

 

 



Art

Artist Harmonia Rosales Reinterprets Genesis through a Stunning Subversion of the Sistine Chapel

November 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A painted portrait of a woman with flowers

“Beyond the Peonies” (2022), oil on wood panel, 36 x 48 inches. All photos by Jeff McLane, courtesy of the artist and UTA Artist Space, shared with permission

At the heart of Garden of Eve, Harmonia Rosales’ comprehensive exhibition at UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills, is the power of narrative. The show spans years of Rosales’ career, featuring dozens of portraits in oil and perhaps the grandest work she’s produced thus far: encircled with lights, an upturned ship towers over the gallery, allowing viewers to pass underneath and peer upwards at the frescoed expanse.

Referencing the vessels utilized in the transatlantic slave trade, the lofty structure re-envisions the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and uses Michaelangelo’s Renaissance works as a blueprint to recast Genesis through the lens of female empowerment and Orishas, deities in religions of the African diaspora. Dozens of Rosales’ paintings, like “Birth of Eve” and her 2017 “Creation of God” that garnered viral attention, cloak the ship with a narrative that’s both widely recognizable and subversive in its telling, with Black and Latinx subjects at the center. “I didn’t want it to be a chapel ceiling because then that’s against everything I’m trying to convey, especially with this Yoruba religion,” Rosales shares with Colossal. “So why not put it on the undercarriage of a slave ship, the very thing that brought these stories to us?”

 

A photo of an illuminated ship in a gallery

Now based in Los Angeles, Rosales has roots in Chicago, the city where she began pursuing her art practice full-time and where she first conceived of the installation. Five years in the making, the project is a testament to the artist’s dedication to long-term thinking. Her process is relatively slow and requires as much research as hours at the easel, meaning she generally produces less than ten works each year. Back then, Rosales says, “I was trying to hide behind my paintings. I was thinking that, okay, if I just paint, people will understand that, but I knew I had to really speak on the paintings myself. This time allowed me to feel comfortable and to curate my message better in a way where all can understand.”

Rosales has long been concerned with communication and comprehension, particularly as she brings lesser-known deities into the mainstream and elevates such religious figures to the status of those within ancient Greco-Roman myth and the Christian iconography that have dominated much of art history. “All along, with all of these exhibitions, I was creating puzzle pieces, pieces to the Sistine Chapel,” she says about the smaller paintings. “Now people can go back and really understand it.”

Many of the works collapse time periods and blend references, like “Forbidden Fruit,” which centers on a woman encircled in a gold halo eating a slice of the pink melon. “Ever wonder why watermelon became a cruel stereotype?” Rosales asks. “It was the one fruit that symbolized Black self-sufficiency after emancipation.” Similarly, the titular work, “Garden of Eve,” centers on Yemaya, the mother of all Orishas in the Yoruba faith. Shielding her face from the chaos of children and florals, the spirit witnesses “the disruption of her perfect garden, (which) intentionally parallels the disruption of the African continent.”

 

A photo of paintings that mimic the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Detail of the installation

Ultimately, Rosales wants to question dominant Eurocentric narratives and to expose that the Orishas and religions she’s referencing are as old, enduring, and relevant as others. “What came first? Why have these gods been hidden? Why haven’t they been mainstreamed?” she posits. “To hide these gods, thus our identity, it’s keeping us in check. The more that they get out, the more that we are realizing that this is old. It strengthens us as a whole.”

Garden of Eve is up through November 30 in Beverly Hills. Rosales will continue working within stories of creation as she prepares for her solo show opening in March at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Until then, find more from her on Instagram.

 

A painting of children and a woman surrounded by flowers

“Garden of Eve” (2022), oil on wood panel, 48 x 72 inches

A painted portrait of a woman eating watermelon

“Forbidden Fruit” (2021), 48 x 36 inches

A painting of figures on a boat and coming to shore

Detail of the installation

A photo of an illuminated ship in a gallery

A photo of paintings that mimic the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Detail of the installation

A painted portrait of a woman surrounded by flowers

“Ori” (2022), oil on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches. Photo by Jeff McLane

A painted portrait of a woman against a background of yellow symbols

“Portrait of Eve” (2022), oil on wood panel, 36 x 36 inches

 

 



Guidi’s Ful/mine Is Born: An International Digital Project Promoting Art in All Forms

November 21, 2022

Guidi

A digital mockup of two computers and a drawing

Ful/mine is a collaborative network of underground artists from all over the world: a digital melting pot that’s becoming the home of unconventional performative art, music, illustration, poetry, literature, and cutting-edge artistic practices.

The idea was born from a commitment at the hands of Guidi—the iconic Italian shoe and bag designer known worldwide for its exceptional leather, stylistic flair, and avant-garde references—to showcase their deep bonds with experimental art. They are putting this need into practice by effectively supporting emerging artists through this patronage of the arts project, as in the Italian lineage of “Mecenate” (just like Lorenzo De Medici, who by coincidence was born in Tuscany, same as Guidi).

Each piece of art displayed on Ful/mine is commissioned by a curatorial board (visual artist and editor Ruben Spini, art curator Vittoria De Franchis, and Art Director Enrico Manganaro under the guidance of Editorial and Artistic Director Virginia W. Ricci), and then displayed in what we can define as a freaky digital artspace pushing the boundaries of the ordinary.

With Ful/mine (follow on Instagram at @fulmine.art), Guidi wants to put people at the center, especially the artists who are already involved in @GUIDI_community on Instagram, which counts more than 80,000 followers from around the world. By immersing visitors in underground art in all of its manifestations, Ful/mine acts as a container of multisensory experiences, prompting audiences to change their perspectives and get constantly inspired.

“Ful/mine is a chamber of wonders where those uncanny sparks that enlighten and strike us are showcased and connected. Impulsive, impetuous, bold, and electric. Just like a lightning bolt.” —Virginia W. Ricci, Editorial and Artistic Director of Ful/mine

To learn more, visit fulmine.art and watch the video manifesto.

 

A video still of a forest

Christina Vantzou, “Talking Fish” (still)

A digital mockup of two phones and a drawing

A still of a video with a colorful center

Rebecca Salvadori

 

 



Art

Enigmatic Sketchbooks Record Visual Stories in Colored Pencil and Ink by Katherine Akmulun

November 21, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

All images © Katherine Akmulun, shared with permission

One way to approach the cinematic sketchbook drawings by Katherine Akmulun is to think about literature. “When we read a book, not only do we look at the characters, but the characters are looking at us,” she says. “And they see much more than we think.” This awareness forms the basis of the artist’s ongoing series of drawings that capture intimate interactions, bold gestures, and momentary expressions. From a young age, a fascination with human anatomy and love of reading inspired a wish to become “a kind of writer,” she explains, and “since I feel insecure about words, the only way out for me was to keep a kind of personal diary with sketches instead of words.”

In ballpoint pen and colored pencil, Akmulun explores the duality of two facing pages by creating images that are distinctive from each other yet empathetic to one another. A close-up of hands grasping lightly at the fingertips complements a joyful scene of two women dancing, or a young child clasps her mother’s hand while gazing across the binding at a man who walks briskly across an open plane. Part story and part snapshot, the mysterious narratives reference historic images and are open to interpretation. “The funny thing is that different people can see different scenes in the same picture,” she says. “And this is incredibly cool, because we all have different life experiences, different environments, and different interests.”

Akmulun travels often and is influenced by the nuances of everyday experiences, which she captures using a minimal palette. She aims to collect and record feelings and memories in the books, but she’s not precious about keeping them intact. “I love to rip out pages,” she says. “I like to realize that the pages of my personal diary can travel the world, and can find their home not only in my sketchbook. I am pleased that people want to have a piece of my personal world in their home.”

Akmulun occasionally makes pages available for sale, and you can follow more of her work on Instagram.

 

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.   A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

 

 



Art

Harmonious Drawings and Sculptural Renderings by Louise Despont Conjure Balance in Nature

November 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches. All images courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NYC, and Galerie Isa, Mumbai, shared with permission

Balance, symmetry, and the geometries of proportion create a distinct visual lexicon for Louise Despont. Working in graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger paper, the French American artist practices an alchemy of pattern and color, fusing the two into intricate, contemplative renderings that evoke natural elements. “I think my work has always attempted to bridge the worlds of plant wisdom and healing with a language of architecture,” Despont tells Colossal. “I’m interested in drawing the invisible, in attempting to represent the unseen but nonetheless powerful forces and systems that surround and inhabit us. I’m interested in art-making as a co-creative experience, a bit like gardening. I plant the seeds and tend to the work, but what grows comes from its own source.”

Inspired by the homeopathy and alternative medicine practiced by the artist’s mother, Despont’s works often hearken back to botanical forms as she renders petals and writhing stems in pastel hues. Her sculptural drawings utilize bamboo and string to perfectly mirror the sweeping lines and circular shapes on each side of a three-dimensional form, and this desire for engineered precision is a nod to her grandfather, father, and partner who all have backgrounds in architecture. Whether on paper or dyed fabric, her works illuminate nature’s organic harmonies and are tinged with a reverence for its more mystical properties, focusing on the energies and expressions of the world around us.

Before moving to her current home in Mallorca, Despont was featured in three Art21 films in New York and Bali that offer insight into her earlier practice. The artist’s drawings will be on view at Art Basel in Miami this December with Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, and she is currently working on a book slated for release next year. For glimpses into her studio and process, head to Instagram.

 

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Aconite,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A photo of a bamboo sculptural drawings on pink cotton

“Ignatia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Vital Force IV,” graphite, colored pencil, and pure gold leaf on antique ledger book page, 18 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Arsenicum Album Constitution,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 56 1/4 x 48 inches

Four photos of bamboo sculptural drawings on dark dyed cotton

Top left: “Arsenicum,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Top right: “Veratrum Album,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Bottom left: “Silicia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 73 x 59 inches. Bottom right: “Conium,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Calc Fluor,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 53 x 67 1/4 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

 

 

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