Hybrid Graphite Drawings by Mateo Pizarro Merge Animals and Humans with Unexpected Obstacles
Colombian artist Mateo Pizarro (previously) is inspired by contradictions. His graphite drawings combine animals with elements of human creation, merging nature with technological advancements or conflicting scenes. A four-winged goose resembles an airplane propeller while an ostrich walks around with a lightbulb as a replacement for its small head and beak. “Drawing these fantastical animals I have come to realize that the beasts that do exist are just as surreal [as those imagined]: a giraffe or an armadillo is just as improbable as any winged horse,” Pizarro tells Colossal.
His work is included in a group exhibition of works on paper titled Lenguajes en Papel which runs through March 7, 2019 at El Museo Gallery in Bogotá, and his solo exhibition An Anthology of Catastrophes at Heart Ego Contemporary Art in Monterrey runs through April, 2019. You can see more of Pizarro’s drawings on Instagram and Behance.
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Hyperrealistic Drawings by Arinze Stanley Capture Surreal Moments and Powerful Emotions
Self-taught Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley (previously) is a wizard when it comes to putting charcoal and graphite to paper. The artist creates hyperrealistic portraits at a scale just larger than life, spending hundreds of hours detailing his subjects’ skin, hair, and sweat so that the works are nearly indistinguishable from black and white photographs. The artist recently opened a solo exhibition of new drawings at Jonathan LeVine Projects in New Jersey titled Mirrors, which seeks to pull viewers in so that they can connect with and see themselves in the subjects.
From new takes on familiar works like in Negro Mona Lisa (below), to drawings with more surreal elements like Black Noise (above), the emotion that Stanley is able to depict in the faces and gestures is compelling even from a distance. Getting up close to one of his pieces adds to its weight, as the viewer’s brain tries to reconcile the amount of labor that went into each work.
In an artist statement on his website, Stanley explains that his art is “born out of the zeal for perfection both in skill, expression and devotion to create positive changes in the world.” In a press release for his current exhibition he tells Jonathan LeVine Projects that the process of drawing is “like energy transfer,” and that by transferring his energy through graphite, each blank piece of paper becomes art. Mirrors is on view through November 11 at the gallery’s space at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey. You can see more of his portraits on Instagram.
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The Human Figure Takes Shape in New Steel, Graphite, and Gypsum Sculptures by Emil Alzamora
The human figure is the through line of sculptor Emil Alzamora‘s emotive work previously covered both here and here. The body’s many poses and positions are explored in his multi-material practice which uses gypsum, graphite, stainless steel, and more to create his often life-size works. “I like to explore both material and form as well as the seemingly infinite sculpting processes to discover new visual narratives about life and art,” he tells Colossal. “Sometimes I will distort the figure, or encapsulate it or erode it depending on the material and the feeling am looking to capture.”
Alzamora is a British citizen born in Peru, who was raised in the United States and Spain and now lives and works in New York City. He will have upcoming solo exhibitions with Pontone Gallery in London next May, and Krause Gallery on New York City’s Lower East Side in the fall. You can see more of his sculptural works on his website and Instagram.
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New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow
Ethan Murrow (previously) creates large-scale graphite drawings of fictionalized heroes set against the deserted landscape of the American Southwest. His work presents these figures in confusing and illogical acts, a critique that addresses America’s habit of manipulating key moments from historical events.
“Through a mash-up of images,” said Murrow in an artist statement, “I hope to cut away at the neat and tidy narrative of progress and domination and create moments that deal with the abundant misinformation, deep confusion, genuine absurdity and billowing mass that has always kept this country on its toes.”
Murrow currently teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston at Tufts University. He has an upcoming solo exhibition of his monumental drawings at the Currier Museum of Art in the fall of this year. You can see more of his graphite works on his Instagram and website.
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Graphite Illustrations That Explore the Detailed Relationships of the Natural World by Zoe Keller
Zoe Keller creates detailed illustrations pulled from the natural world. Her fauna-based drawings are done completely in charcoal, drawing the eye to the subtle markings used to create either fur or scales. Source imagery for the works comes from nature and how it becomes mediated in books and field guides, however Keller often fills in areas of question with pieces pulled from her own inquisitions or memory.
“My curiosity about the natural world is what keeps me dialed in to my work,” Keller told Colossal. “Drawing is the best way that I’ve found to understand how organisms and ecosystems work. In order to draw something realistically you have to understand how it sits in space, how it moves, the mechanics of its insides. So for me tuning into the natural world means chasing an endless series of questions. On the most minute, piece-specific scale, this can mean asking how many whorls are in the shell of a particular species of snail. On a larger scale, I’ve been developing bodies of work that ask big questions about visually engaging with the natural world in ways that honor it and inspire others to protect it.”
Often the Portland-based artist’s subjects are related in a way that might not be known to the common viewer. This can range from a drawing of plants that are endangered in Oregon to a work concentrated on flowers that can only be found in a particular part of the US. This strategy allows a deeper research to go into her practice so that the final image is not just about aesthetics, but relates to a more immediate concern for the natural world.
Keller recently participated in a week-long backpacking artist residency called Signal Fire in the Klamath National Forest which was one of many inspirations for her upcoming solo exhibition Swarm, opening October 27 at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis. You can peek further into Keller’s practice on her Instagram and Facebook. (via Hi-Fructose)
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Mimesis: New Anatomical Paintings Depicting Flora and Fauna by Nunzio Paci
Bologna-based Italian artist Nunzio Paci (previously here and here) produces hauntingly detailed paintings that combine anatomical renderings with multi-colored blossoms and leaves. His latest series, Mimesis, is inspired by the idea of species evolving together over time, and the similarities shared by different organisms in order to better adapt to predators and climate.
“The concept, deriving from Plato and Aristotle’s theory on reality and imitation, draws inspiration from the natural phenomenon of mimicry in evolutionary biology and gives it a broader meaning,” Paci explained to Colossal. “In Mimesis, flora and fauna not only copy one another, they enmesh themselves in each other’s existence forming a cohesive organism, in an attempt to take shelter from the totality of the outside world.”
Within the series fauna helps to protect flora, creating a symbiotic relationship through the included animals’ death and rebirth. Flowers fill the hallows of presented carcasses while leaves grow to surround and overtake human skulls.
Paci recently exhibited these works as part of a solo show titled Mimesis at Galerie Stephanie in Manilla, Philippines and is currently a part of the group exhibition Dark Nature at Last Rites Gallery in New York City. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Facebook.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.