graphite

Posts tagged
with graphite



Art

Brimming with Lush Texture, Mixed-Media Tapestries by April Bey Envision an Afrofuturist World

May 5, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

“Your Failure is Not a Victory for Me” (2022), watercolor, graphite, acrylic paint, digitally printed/woven textiles, hand sewing, 110 x 72 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and GAVLAK Los Angeles | Palm Beach. All images shared with permission

How do we get from where we are to where we want to be with all of these constructs in the way? How do we move forward if we are constantly having to fight back? The past rolls in like a fog and clogs conversations about tomorrow with despair.

April Bey, a Black, queer, mixed-media artist, reminds us that sometimes, in order to get free, we must transcend. Positioning herself within the Afro-futurist tradition, she works with a fictional universe called Atlantica. Atlantica is inspired by the alien stories her father used to tell her as a child to explain racial oppression in the Bahamas and the U.S. Now, based in Los Angeles, Bey uses Atlantica to construct the aesthetics of the future—a reality where Black people are free from the confines of white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism.

As a Nassau, Bahamas native, Bey also incorporates the region’s tropical flora in her work. She positions the futurity of Black people in direct relationship to the environment, which can manifest as a physical landscape buzzing with harmonious texture, and draws on the legacy of Black art and literature that demonstrates how the natural world has always been part of Black liberation.

Her intricate stitching of Black people in grandeur also adds a layer of decadence to these stories that is reminiscent of African diasporic cuisine. Food seasoned over long periods of time or slow-cooked absorbs the depths of those flavors, and when tasted, envelops the palette. The process and attention to detail, alongside the historical and cultural knowledge, are the foundation.

 

“Don’t Think We’re Soft Because We’re Gracious” (2022), watercolor printed sherpa and sequins on canvas hand-sewn into faux fur, 45.5 x 57 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and GAVLAK Los Angeles | Palm Beach

This work, like the environment and cuisine, is immersive. Sequins, eco-fur frames, wax fabric woven into large-scale blankets, and colorful patterns are enticing in their pleasure and vitality. The sense-heavy appeal helps transport the viewer beyond the visual and into the spirit of the body, connecting generations across space and time and planting the seeds of the future. Alexis Pauline Gumbs demonstrates this connection in an essay on combat breathing, which our ancestors used to claim their freedom in a world that would not acknowledge it, and Bey conjures this through-line in stirring pieces such as “Don’t Think We’re Soft Because We’re Gracious.”

Bey’s work adds to the long and transformative history of Black and queer people who have subverted power structures through futurity, love, and hybridity. And how fitting? For she knows that to be queer is to live in the future anyway.

You can catch the artist’s solo exhibition, Colonial Swag, at TERN Gallery until May 28 and follow her on Instagram for updates and to see close-ups of her works.

 

“Calathea Azul” (2022), woven textiles, sherpa textiles, resin, glitter on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and GAVLAK Los Angeles | Palm Beach

“I’m the One Selling the Records…They Comin to See ME” (2021), digitally woven tapestry, sherpa, canvas, metallic cord, glitter (currency), hand-sewing, epoxy resin on wood panel, 36 x 48 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and GAVLAK Los Angeles | Palm Beach

“Fear No Man” (2022), digitally printed and woven blanket with hand-sewn “African” Chinese knockoff wax fabric, 80 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and GAVLAK Los Angeles | Palm Beach

“Calathea Barrette” (2022), woven textiles, sherpa textiles, resin, glitter on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and GAVLAK Los Angeles | Palm Beach

“They Fine Pass Mami Wata” (2022), woven textiles, sherpa, metallic thread, resin, glitter on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and TERN Gallery

“You Toilet Paper Soft” (2022), woven textiles, sherpa, metallic thread, resin, glitter on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of April Bey and TERN Gallery

 

 



Art

Through Blocks of Geometric Color, Artist Derrick Adams Celebrates the Joy of Self-Expression

April 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Style Variation 35” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters. All images © Derrick Adams, courtesy Salon 94, New York

In Looks, artist Derrick Adams references the immense potential of a wig to alter an appearance and construct a persona. The exhibition, which is on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art through May 29 alongside a survey of art and fashion photography titled The New Black Vanguard (opens May 8), shows nine of Adam’s portraits rendered in the artist’s distinct geometric style evocative of “Benin heads, Kwele masks, Kota reliquary figures,” and other West African masks and sculptures, he says in a statement.

Standing more than eight feet tall, the acrylic-and-graphite works center on busts with direct gazes, their faces mapped with different skin tones and makeup lining rounded eyelids and lips. The elaborate wigs in rainbow stripes and faded ombre are inspired by the salons and shops in Adams’ Brooklyn neighborhood. He reinterprets these functional wearables as bold, two-dimensional portraits that speak to the importance of hair in Black culture and the power of defining oneself through spectacular, joyful adornments. He explains about the works:

I feel more than ever that it is essential for artists to make work that celebrates Black culture. As a Black man, I am aware of my vulnerability and susceptibility to trauma and oppression on a daily basis. I personally don’t need to be reminded of it in art and choose to instead highlight Black normalcy. Those who participate in Black culture understand there are images that are less important for us to see than images of joy.

For more of Adams’ works across painting, sculpture, collage, and performance, visit his site and Instagram.

 

“Style Variation 33” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 34” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 37” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 28” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 32” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

 

 



Art

Floral Arrangements Instigate Trivial Actions in Ethan Murrow’s Meticulous Graphite Drawings

March 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Retreat” (2022), graphite on paper, 36 x 36 inches. All images © Ethan Murrow and courtesy of Winston Wächter Fine Art New York, shared with permission

In his solo exhibition Magic Bridge, Vermont-born artist Ethan Murrow (previously) overwhelms his subjects with sprawling floral assemblages that cloud their senses and judgment. The graphite drawings center largely on figures undertaking precarious and trivial activities to exert some form of control, often through futile underwater adventures and inexplicable actions atop wooden platforms.

On view at Winston Wächter through April 30, the meticulous renderings are tinged with parody and embrace the bizarre and indeterminate. In addition to the smaller works on paper, Murrow is also creating a large-scale mural in his signature imaginative style at the New York gallery—see the work-in-progress on Instagram. Each of the pieces “mull(s) the lines between logic and belief,” he writes.

A limited-edition lithograph of Murrow’s “Planting Time” is currently available from Deb Chaney Editions, and the artist also has works on view at Winston Wächter’s Seattle space through March 19.

 

“Garnering” (2021), graphite on paper, 48 x 48 inches

“Drumbeat” (2022), graphite on paper, 48 x 36 inches

“Harmony” (2021), graphite on paper, 80 x 46 inches

“Conviction” (2022), graphite on paper, 36 x 48 inches

“Glow” (2022), graphite on paper, 36 x 36 inches

“The Vaudeville Admiral” (2021), high flow acrylic on panel, 48 x 60 inches

 

 



Art

Reality and Imagined Meditative States Converge in Tomás Sánchez’s Tranquil Landscapes

November 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Light: Outside, Inside” (2021), acrylic on linen, 100 x 80 centimeters. All images © Tomás Sánchez, shared with permission

Through serene, idyllic landscapes, Tomás Sánchez visualizes his long-harbored fascination with meditation. The practice, the Cuban painter says, is “where I find many of the answers to questions that transcend from the personal to the universal. Meditation is not always a fleeting time. Meditation is not a punctual exercise; it is a constant practice.”

Rather than conceptualize the exercise as a temporary state, Sánchez views mediation as a lens to interpret the world, a recurring theme that has foregrounded much of his work during the last few decades. His acrylic paintings and hazy graphite drawings, which take months if not years to complete, highlight the immensity and awe-inspiring qualities of a forest thick with vegetation or a nearby waterfall and offer perspective through a lone, nondescript figure often found amongst the trees. Distinct and heavily detailed, the realistic landscapes aren’t based on a specific place but rather are imagined spaces available only through a ruminative state.

If you’re in New York, stop by Marlborough Gallery to see Sánchez’s solo show, which is on view from November 18 to January 22. Titled Inner Landscape, the exhibition encompasses multiple pieces never shown before, including the pristine scenes shown here. Until then, explore more of his works on Instagram.

 

“Inner Lagoon…Thought-Cloud” (2016), acrylic on canvas, 200 x 199.3 centimeters

“La batalla” (2015), acrylic on linen, 200 x 250 centimeters

“El río va” (2020), acrylic on linen, 121.3 x 99.1 centimeters

“Aislado” (2015), acrylic on canvas, 199.7 x 249.9 centimeters

“Diagonales” (2018), conté crayon on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 centimeters

 

 



Art Illustration

Mystery and Fantasy Veil Black-and-White Illustrations by Artist David Álvarez

November 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Pinoccio.” All images © David Álvarez, shared with permission

Continually fascinated by the potential of the human figure, Mexico-based artist David Álvarez (previously) illustrates richly textured scenes with a dose of fantasy and surrealism: a bird’s perch transfixes a character who’s sprouted a branch nose, a man writhes on the ground as he grows from a gnarled stump, and a Cheshire cat lifts a blanket to unveil a moon hidden beneath. Underlying many of his works is “the expressive force and the gesture of the human body,” Álvarez tells Colossal, themes that are rendered through highlights and dense markings in graphite that add intrigue and mystery to the monochromatic depictions.

The illustrations shown here are a mix of personal projects and commissions, and “Cage” is slated for the cover of Álvarez’s forthcoming book about overcoming prejudices and stereotypes called Bird Woman. You can follow his black-and-white works on Instagram, and shop sketches, prints, and originals.

 

“Monkeys”

“Metamorpho”

“Agony”

Left: “Cage.” Right: “The Collector”

“Awareness”

“Cheshire”

“Mice”

 

 



Art

Marred with Dark Hole Punches, Monochromatic Drawings and Paintings Evoke Depression-Era Negatives

October 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Hashimoto Contemporary, shared with permission

Nearly a century since it began, the Great Depression is still largely associated with the iconic imagery that’s come to define the era. Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” and Walker Evans’s portrait of the distinctly tight-lipped Allie Mae Burroughs are two foundational shots that establish the period’s visual record, and they accompany the approximately 175,000 photographs also commissioned by the U.S. Farm Security Administration during those years.

While vast in number, this collection is understood today as being limited in scope, particularly in relation to its failure to reflect racial diversity, because the head of the FSA from 1935 to 1941, Roy Stryker, effaced images he felt didn’t align with the agency’s goals. When he wanted to reject a photo and prevent its dissemination, he would mark it with a hole punch, an erasure that Tulsa-based artist Joel Daniel Phillips evokes in his striking series Killing the Negative Pt. 2.

The ongoing project reimagines intimate portraits and wider shots from that period as meticulous graphite and charcoal drawings and oil paintings in shades of red. Monochromatic and ranging from small portraits to life-sized renderings, Phillips’s works complicate the narratives expunged from the historical record by focusing on a wider and more diverse swath of the population. “When the black voids of Roy Stryker’s hole punch are placed front and center, the reality of just how much power that a single, White man had to shape the narrative re-frames and re-defines the entire discussion,” the artist said in an interview about the first part of the project.

Included in Killing the Negative Pt. 2, which runs from October 9 to 20 at Hashimoto Contemporary’s new Los Angeles gallery, are glimpses into both rural and urban life with large-scale paintings of an older farmer, young girl outfitted in a frilly dress, and a panoramic shot of a migrant family and their makeshift living quarters. One smaller work (shown below) recreates a selfie that FSA photographer John Vachon snapped “in a hotel room mirror while on assignment. He took several of these, and apparently, Roy Styker (the head of the FSA) particularly hated this one, since he punched it twice,” the artist writes.

To see more of Killing the Negative, head to Phillips’s site and peek into his process on Instagram.

 

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Artist Cat Enamel Pins