Bewildering Reflections and Perspectives Shift in the Hyperrealistic Oil Paintings of Nathan Walsh
In his intricate oil paintings, Nathan Walsh captures the textural sheen of rain on city streets and luminescent reflections in cafe windows. The artist has previously explored different vantage points in elaborate cityscapes, rendering the corners of buildings, corridors of skyscrapers, and expansive bridges in detailed, two-point perspective. Recently, he has further honed ideas around perception and the way the built environment presents uncanny optical illusions in the interplay of people and objects, light, and reflections.
The ideas for Walsh’s compositions often form as he wanders the streets of cities like New York and Paris, making sketches and taking photographs that he brings back to his studio, a converted Welsh Methodist chapel. “Up until last year, my work had been exclusively devoted to the urban landscape,” he tells Colossal, sharing that various objects like those spotted in an antique shop window in Paris’s 7th arrondissement signaled new references to his ideas around place and familiarity. He says:
I would travel, collect information, then return to my studio to respond to that material. “Metaphores” started in the same way: a trip to Paris, wandering aimlessly around the streets looking for ideas. On my return to the U.K., I realised a lot of the photographs and drawings I’d made were touching on similar subject matter to [my] home environment.
Pieces like “Metaphores” or “Rue de Saints” represent a shift in Walsh’s understanding of the urban landscape or more concisely, of how it is experienced. Elaborate window reflections warp our sense of space and fuse realism with imagination, such as in “Monarchs Drift,” in which the artist has spliced together scenes of Chicago and San Francisco. Walsh imbues the works with what he describes as a “hallucinatory quality which is ‘neither here nor there,'” embracing notions of transition, global connections, and his own memories of trips he has taken.
Walsh’s paintings will be featured in a forthcoming book published by Thames & Hudson dedicated to urban landscapes, and you can find more of his work on his website and Instagram.
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City Lights Cast an Aura of Anonymous Mystique Over Keita Morimoto’s Streetscapes
In Keita Morimoto’s paintings, soft yellow streetlights, LED shop signs, and clinical beams of a public transit stop expose the discomfiting nature of perpetual surveillance. Working in acrylic and oil, the Japanese artist explores the scenes of daily commutes, walks with friends, and trips to a vending machine. He shrouds his streets with shadows that add a mysterious aura to the works, a feeling bolstered by the anonymity of the places and people.
Morimoto refrains from incorporating distinct symbols, markings, or features that would identify and situate the locations within a specific cultural and geographical context and prefers, instead, to consider how many of the ails of modern life are ubiquitous. “In today’s society, many people suffer from the difficulty of living,” he says. While issues of surveillance, consumerism, and a desire for fast-paced production often dominate today’s world, the artist focuses on the pockets of calm, beauty, and magic to be found around every street corner.
Currently, Morimoto has works on view at Powerlong Museum in Shanghai and will be included in upcoming shows with Kotaro Nukaga in Tokyo and The Hole in New York. Find more of his enigmatic pieces on his site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Neon Lights and Urban Loneliness Shroud Cities After Dark in Liam Wong’s Panoramic Photo Book
The foundational idea behind Liam Wong’s new book is that “real life is just as potent, bizarre, and interesting as things we can imagine.” Released by the crowd-sourced publisher Volume, After Dark is a follow-up to the Edinburgh-born photographer’s first monograph, TO: KY: OO, which captured the empty Japanese streets under the glow of neon lights. Now Wong similarly documents city life with his signature cinematic style, although he ventures beyond Tokyo to unveil the nightlife of Osaka, Kyoto, London, Seoul, Paris, and Rome in wide, gleaming panoramas.
The 176-page book pinpoints instances of urban solitude and reveals a universal sense of loneliness that falls on a city when most of its residents are asleep. Wong (previously) tends to frame temporarily abandoned pockets of a business district or bustling neighborhood that will likely be chaotic with passersby in a few hours, giving his shots a futuristic bent that’s more evocative of a cybernetic video game than typical street photography. After Dark captures “the eerie emptiness of London’s Piccadilly Circus at 4:00 a.m., Seoul’s late-night taxi drivers moving along hushed roads, two birds sharing the warmth of neon sign in Hong Kong’s TSM District, and a salaryman waiting on an empty subway platform in Tokyo’s Akihabara district,” a statement says.
Signed and collector’s editions of After Dark, including one packaged with print, are available to fund now on Volume’s site. You also can purchase prints in Wong’s shop, and find more of his photos on Instagram. (via It’s Nice That)
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Clever Paper Cutouts by Paperboyo Transform Architecture and Landmarks into Amusing Scenes
Rich McCor (aka Paperboyo) has a way of imagining the potential for quirkiness and whimsy in existing architecture. Using tourist attractions, landmarks, and urban settings as his backdrops, the Brighton-based artist and photographer (previously) dreams up amusing scenes that he fashions with precise angles and black paper cutouts: the Arc de Triomphe playfully morphs into a massive LEGO figure, an upside-down shot of Regent Street becomes a boat canal, and the King’s Place facade functions as individual swimming lanes. McCor tends to travel widely to photograph his temporary silhouettes, although he’s focused on local regions in recent months. The Netherlands, New York, and Taipei are next up on his list, so keep an eye on Instagram for dispatches from those spots and add one of the clever collages to your collection by picking up a print in the Paperboyo shop.
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Urban Centers Undergo ‘Guerilla Greening’ in GIFs that Reimagine Cities with Lush Vegetation
The team over at WATG reenvisions some of the most iconic corridors in major cities in what the global design firm aptly describes as “guerilla greening.” Through a series of GIFs, streets in London, New York City, and Honolulu are transformed into lush, garden-like enclaves teeming with trees, new landscaping, and thick vegetation wrapping around the existing architecture. WATG poured years of research into the short animations, which visualize practical and viable adjustments that would improve air quality, promote bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and make the traditionally concrete-and-brick locales more ecologically diverse.
Read more about the ongoing project on the firm’s site, and keep an eye out for future transformations on Twitter and Instagram. (via Core77)
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Katsumi Hayakawa’s Congested Cities Are Constructed with Scrupulously Cut Paper Buildings
Meticulously cutting each piece by hand, Katsumi Hayakawa crafts dense cityscapes and urban districts from white paper. The Japanese artist assembles towers and various cube-like structures that are positioned in lengthy rows, resembling congested streets. Dotted with primary colors and metallic elements, the sculptures evoke electronic equipment like microchips and motherboards, which references the relationship between modern cities and technology. Hayakawa’s use of an ephemeral, organic material further contrasts the manufactured nature of both urban areas and technological inventions.
To explore more of the artist’s projects that are concerned with the complexity of modern life, head to Artsy.
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