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Art History

This Warty Pig Painting Is Thought To Be the Oldest Cave Art in the World

January 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Deep within Leang Tedongnge, a cave tucked away on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, archaeologists discovered this mulberry-hued painting of a warty pig and two hand silhouettes potentially belonging to the artist, which is now believed to be the oldest figurative work in the world. A study published in Science Advances this week says the impeccably preserved rendering is at least 45,500 years old, which predates previously discovered depictions of mythical creatures in the region. Those prior findings date back about 43,900 years.

Questions remain about the exact age of the work and who made it. Archaeologists from Griffith University, who helmed the mission, utilized uranium-series dating to determine how old the speleothem, or mineral deposits, of the cave is rather than the actual painting. There’s also debate about whether modern humans are responsible for the renderings, a question that’s complicated by the fact that the only skeletal remains that date back at least 45,500 years in Sulawesi belong to early hominins.

Dr. Adam Brumm, who co-authored the study, told The New York Times that researchers expect to discover similar artworks in the region, although the cave paintings are deteriorating at a rapid rate and could fade before they’re ever uncovered. “It is very worrying, and given the current situation the end result is likely to be the eventual destruction of this ice age Indonesian art, perhaps even within our lifetime,” Brumm said.

 

 

 

 



Art

Bold, Striking Portraits by Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe Render Expressive Subjects in Shades of Gray

January 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Red Bandana on Green Suit” (2020), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches. All images © Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe courtesy of Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, shared with permission

Set against bold, impasto backdrops, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe’s portraits emphasize the subjects’ spirits, their emotional states and idiosyncracies conveyed through facial expression, gesture, and garments—striped suits, wide-brimmed hats, and bright red bandanas tied around their necks. He renders figures in shades of gray, painting distinctive artworks that embrace the multitudes of Black life through striking and powerful depictions. The goal, the Ghanaian artist (previously) said in an interview with Juxtapoz, is “to capture what they want to say but cannot say in just one image. So that when you see the figure or the painting, you wonder who the person is.”

Quaicoe’s next solo show will run from April to May 2021 at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles. Until then, see more of his vibrant portraits on Artsy and Instagram.

 

“Wilde Wilde West” (2020), oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

“Lady in Sunglasses” (2020), oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

“Glare” (2020), oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Left: “DOPE” (2020), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches. Right: “Green Wall” (2020), oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

“Observing” (2020), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

“Wiyaala” (2020), oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

“Bandana Cowboy” (2020), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

 

 



Art

Bold Brushstrokes Energize Abstract, Pixelated Landscapes by Artist Jason Anderson

January 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Uprising” (2020). All images © Jason Anderson, shared with permission

Jason Anderson visualizes city skylines, swooping highway exchanges, and a range of urban landscapes through prismatic, impasto strokes of oil paint. The U.K.-based artist begins each painting with a black-and-white sketch before turning to the linen canvas and translating the lively works. In recent months, he’s incorporated more curved lines and saturated tones alongside the pastels he’s used previously, resulting in abstract scenes of horizons and city centers rendered through a mosaic of color.

“I relish the often frantic nature of mixing and arranging the paint in thick impressionistic daubs and submitting to a process that creates its own detail and form,” the artist says in a statement. “This forces me to be bold and decisive; it also produces a kaleidoscope of shape and tone (reminiscent of stained-glass) which portrays the ever-present movement and energy found in nature.”

Although all of Anderson’s works are currently sold out, you can follow updates on his commissions and new pieces on his site and view his finished paintings and sketches on Instagram.

 

“Terminus” (2019)

“Sheer” (2020)

“Mistral” (2020)

“Centrifuge” (2020)

“Plaid” (2020)

“Pulse” (2020)

“Branch” (2020)

“Hearth” (2020)

 

 



Art Illustration

Minuscule Scenes Appear Against the Backdrop of Used Tea Bags in Watercolor Paintings by Ruby Silvious

December 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

From her studio in Coxsackie, New York, Ruby Silvious (previously) repurposes the thin paper pouches holding her beverage of choice into miniature canvases. Sometimes strung together or ripped to remove the leaves, Silvious’s tea bags depict the quiet, unassuming moments of everyday life: Passersby trudge through the snow, masks hang to dry, and two women meet for a swim on the naturally dyed backdrops. The artist generally keeps the string and tag attached, matching the mundane subject matter with the material’s ritualistic origins.

Following her 2019 release Reclaimed Canvas, Silvious is working on another book and preparing for upcoming solo shows in France, Germany, and Japan. Shop prints on her site, and follow her soothing works on Instagram and Tumblr.

 

 

 



Art

Natural Elements Emerge from Vintage Garments in Trompe L'oeil Sculptures by Artist Ron Isaacs

December 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

Left: “Up and Up” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 43 × 14 × 4 1/2 inches. Right: “Aviary” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 42 1/2 × 23 × 4 inches. All images © Ron Isaacs, shared with permission

Vintage clothing and nature collide in the trompe l’oeil works of Ron Isaacs (previously). Autumn leaves flow from a pastel pocketbook, songbirds emerge from a dress seam, and branches extend the length of formalwear. Despite appearing as fully formed sculptures complete with layered textiles and organic ephemera, the illusory works are constructed as reliefs with Finnish birch plywood that’s painted with matte acrylics.

Isaacs’s oeuvre is poetic and deliberately evasive as the Lexington-based artist renders vintage garments that represent an imagined figure. Whether appearing to be lying flat or slowly drifting to the floor, the slips and blouses evoke a “vivid human presence, as well as their own histories and mysteries,” he says. Brush, withered leaves, and raw elements further enhance the lively qualities while drawing connections between people’s lives and nature.

In a note to Colossal, Isaacs shares how his art and experience intersect:

My work evolves slowly, mostly as a matter of increased and prolonged stages of refinement, and perhaps of concept. The passage of time continues as an undercurrent to the work; as I am now seventy-nine, I have to consider things like what constitutes a life-time supply of plywood and paint—and that I have to make proverbial hay while the proverbial sun shines.

Isaacs is represented by Momentum Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, and you can view more of his elegant works on Artsy.

 

“Calla,” acrylic on birch plywood construction, 33 × 57 × 3 inches

“Passerines,” acrylic on birch plywood construction, 23 × 42 3/4 × 6 inches

Detail of “Aviary” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 42 1/2 × 23 × 4 inches

 

 



Art

Paper Torsos Covered with Ancient Chinese Paintings by Peng Wei Reimagine Femininity

December 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Peng Wei, courtesy of Tina Keng Gallery, shared with permission

Through delicately layered flax and cotton paper, Peng Wei (previously) reconceptualizes common notions of femininity. The Chinese artist casts figurative sculptures depicting only the human torso, which are shapely in front and abstractly gathered in back. Inky tableaus of spectral figures, scenes of war, and domestic tasks all evoking ancient Chinese narratives—like Paragons of Feminine Virtue by Ming-dynasty thinker Lv Kun and Qing-dynasty novelist Pu Songling’s Strange Tales from the Chinese Studio—envelop the exterior. Combined with evocative poses, Peng’s freehand paintings subvert traditional understandings of women’s roles by removing their original context and displaying them anew.

Many of the delicately sculpted works shown here are part of Feminine Space, a collection that “privileges the female vantage point,” a statement says. Peng’s “stance is less an insouciant look from afar than an earnest gaze that pierces through the ancient works of Chinese literature.” If you’re in Taiwan, Feminine Space is on view through January 30, 2021, at Tina Keng Gallery. Otherwise, explore more of Peng’s work on Artsy.