Vegetation and Hybrid Figures Entwine in Winnie Truong’s Mythical Collaged Drawings
Canadian artist Winnie Truong recontextualizes the sleek, piecey qualities of human hair in her cut-paper collages. Constructed in layers within rectangular frames, the surreal works utilize the soft texture to depict flowers, vegetation, and strange anthropomorphic figures with elongated fingers and faces obscured by body parts or surroundings. Each piece is rooted in Truong’s drawing practice, and the colored pencil renderings add depth to the mythical compositions.
An extension of her two-dimensional works, these dioramas similarly explore the connection between women and nature. Many of the hybrid figures are entangled with foliage and their own anatomies, positioning traditional understandings of beauty alongside disorienting and more fantastic forms.
Visit Truong’s Instagram for more of her recent works and a glimpse into her process.
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Vivid Contours and Bold Colors Illuminate Empowering Portraits by Naledi Tshegofatso Modupi
In vibrant and expressive digital portraits, Cape Town-based artist Naledi Tshegofatso Modupi captures the essence of individual style, confidence, and joy. Pools of color highlight eyelids, cheekbones, chins, or ears while continuous lines define the contours of the subjects’ features and profiles. Intricate linear patterns adorn an array of distinctive hairstyles and accessories, celebrating women’s unique and empowering stories. Focusing on the beauty of Black people, the artist says in a statement that she aims to “inspire confidence and awaken hope in those who are able to find their reflections in her pieces.”
Modupi will have work in Modern Flavours with Brutal Curation in Cape Town from June 11 to July 1. She also has prints available in her shop, and you can find more of her work on Instagram and Behance.
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Garments of Grass and Flowers by Jeanne Simmons Fuse Bodies to the Landscape
“When we spend a lot of time in a place, and if we are paying attention, a kind of intimacy develops,” says Jeanne Simmons. The artist, who’s based in the Pacific Northwest, grounds her practice in this sense of familiarity and ease with her surroundings. “We come to know the plants that grow there and the critters that roam there… We may even begin to feel that we ourselves have become part of that place, and it is this feeling that sustains and inspires me.”
After gathering natural materials like branches, wild vegetables, and bark, Simmons constructs garments that intertwine her own body and those of others with the landscape and obscure the distinction between the two. In one work, a full skirt made of Queen Anne’s Lace trails from the artist’s waist and blends with a meadow, while another piece braids dried vegetation into a model’s blond hair, developing a feet-long braid that appears to emerge from the ground. “Grass Cocoon” is similar, twisting locks into the material and swaddling a figure’s body in a sheath of green. “This is how I celebrate and deepen my connection with the natural world. I suppose I have discovered that the best way for me to become part of the landscape… is to wear it,” she shares. “It is also, at least in part, a lamentation for the catastrophic loss of that connection that we are witnessing in real-time.”
Simmons has several works in progress at the moment, including a kelp shroud and fennel gown, and is collaborating with director and producer Ward Serrill on a film about her practice. Keep up with those projects on her site and Instagram. (via Lustik)
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Activist Symbols and Witty Scenarios Are Woven into Towering Hair Sculptures by Laetitia Ky
Laetitia Ky exercises art activism by braiding African identity into hair sculpture. Born from the lack of representation she experienced growing up on the Ivory Coast, her practice started by cutting the silky straight strands off of her Barbie doll heads and meticulously re-stitching curly extensions as a child. In Love and Justice, Ky’s towering sculptures are embedded into aspects of everyday life. She draws on the strength and durability of Black hair texture to weave traditional instruments, regional wildlife, and bodies in motion into interactive portraits that capture the beauty in common aspects of culture across the continent.
Each image in this 200-page collection published by Princeton Architectural Press makes a statement. Ky explores the roots of this work through the creative shape and design of traditional African hairstyles pre-colonialism. She uses symbols in her sculptures to respond to current struggles like a justice scale balancing gender icons on either side, a uterus with fallopian tubes that transform into middle fingers, or stretch marks on a woman’s body. In her self-love chapter, Ky’s images explore the joys of self-knowledge with acts such as playing a guitar made of hair, toasting a braided wine glass, or wrapping her neck with a life-sized hand that offers the scent of a flower.
Head to Bookshop to purchase this memoir that offers insight into the artist’s journey toward embracing Black beauty, and check out her viral hair sculptures and portraits on Instagram.
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Through Blocks of Geometric Color, Artist Derrick Adams Celebrates the Joy of Self-Expression
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.
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Furry Tendrils and Tufts of Technicolor Hair Erupt Across Shoplifter’s Immersive Installations
Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, otherwise known as Shoplifter (previously), fittingly describes her immersive environments of hair as “an exploded rainbow.” Cloaking walls with neon fur and hanging tendrils of fuzzy fibers from the ceiling, the artist creates enormous, extravagantly colored landscapes designed to be ruffled and stroked as viewers pass through the cave-like walls and underneath the suspended strands.
In a new interview with Lousiana Channel, Shoplifter recounts her first encounter with the medium as a child in Iceland and her later move to New York, where she’s spent the last 25 years creating kaleidoscopic landscapes brimming with textures. She perpetually gravitates toward vibrant, bold color palettes because of their therapeutic, playful, and ornamental qualities, and although she creates such strikingly manufactured installations, she describes her practice as a form of “hyper-nature… I’m not competing with nature. I just exaggerate and create this abstraction that resembles it but isn’t literal.”
Watch the full interview above to dive deeper into Shoplifter’s inspirations and process, and see an archive of her technicolor creations on Instagram.
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