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Art Illustration

Miniature Watercolor Works by Ruby Silvious Are Painted on Stained Teabags

November 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

Ruby Silvious’s quaint seaside scenes and bucolic landscapes nestle between the torn edges and wrinkled folds of a used teabag. The Coxsackie, New York-based artist (previously) paints miniature scenes of everyday life on the stained paper pouches, leaving the string and tags intact as a reminder of the repurposed material’s origin. Silvious sells prints of her watercolor pieces on her site, and you can follow her latest projects and news about upcoming exhibitions—she will be showing her upcycled works in France and Japan in 2022—on Instagram.

 

 

 



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

Impasto Layers Blur Portraits and Landscapes in Li Songsong's Fragmented Oil Paintings

November 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

“I Am What I Am” (2020), 120 x 100 centimeters. All images © Li Songsong, shared with permission

Chinese artist Li Songsong (previously) obscures portraits and wider landscapes with thick dabs of oil paint. His textured, impasto works are based on found photographs or imagined scenes, and each conveys a narrative tied to ordinary moments or a broader shared history. Varying the extent of distortion in every piece, Songsong tells Colossal that interrogating personal identity is at the center of his practice. The “cultural and historical aspects are related to China, and the language and expressions are my own,” he explains.

Songsong’s recent works include a tender scene with an officer and his dog, a portrait of a hopeful pilot, and a panoramic shot featuring a crowd with hundreds of anonymous faces. The richly layered pieces speak to the haziness and fragmentary nature of memories and stories, especially those interpreted from a distance, and come into focus when viewed farther back with a squint.

Based in Beijing, Songsong is currently working on a new series of works, which you can follow on his site.

 

“Blondi” (2019), 210 x 180 centimeters

“Blondi” (2019), 210 x 210 centimeters

“Tea for Two” (2020), 210 x 210 centimeters

“No More Tears” (2020), 100 x 100 centimeters

“You Haven’t Looked at Me that Way in Years” (2020), 170 x 280 centimeters

“Three Decades” (2019), 210 x 420 centimeters

 

 



Art

A 14-Foot Box Truck Transforms into an Intimate Glimpse of Domestic Life in Swoon's Mobile Sculpture

November 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Lauren Silberman, © Swoon, shared with permission

Exploring trauma and addiction through intricate paper cuttings, pasted murals, and mythical stop-motion animations is at the heart of Caledonia Curry’s practice, and the Connecticut-born artist, who works as Swoon (previously), extends that approach in a mobile sculpture that peers into the intimacy of family life. Produced last year in collaboration with PBS American Portrait, “The House Our Family Built” transforms a 14-foot box truck into a roving domestic scene comprised of a cab cloaked in patterned wallpaper and a trailer split open to reveal a house-like environment.

Within the vehicle are objects synonymous with home life, including framed photos, children’s toys, and furniture, while a fence lines the perimeter in front of the truck. A family of two-dimensional painted figures from multiple generations occupies both the indoor and outdoor spaces, and  Swoon says the outdoor installation “asks viewers to consider the legacy of ancestral histories—whether through traditions, trauma, or repeated narratives—and the ways in which they inform how we understand and talk about ourselves.”

“The House Our Family Built” is on view this week at Nasher Sculpture Center as part of the Dallas Art Fair, and you can follow Swoon through the making-of process on PBS. Find an archive of her imaginative projects on her site, YouTube, and Instagram. (via Artnet)

 

 

 



Art

Poignant New Works by Pejac Confront the Urgency of Global Crises in Disquieting Detail

October 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Counterweight” (2021), oil, acrylic, and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters. All images © Pejac, shared with permission

Spanish street artist Pejac (previously) addresses the concept of “returning to normal” in a discerning new series that focuses on the urgency of the issues affecting the world today. Centered on the increasingly disastrous effects of the climate crisis and the social issues that dominate the news cycle, the artist speaks to the myriad global crises in his largest exhibition to date, which opens on October 30 in a former train factory in Berlin. Titled APNEA, the solo show features 45 of his newest works in myriad mediums and themes, including chaotic scenes in acrylic, oil, and spray paints, delicate honeycomb on cardboard, and large-scale sculptures and installations that occupy the industrial space.

Pejac created many of the pieces on view since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an ongoing concern that also formed the basis for his 2020 trio of interventions paying tribute to health care workers. The new series includes a disquieting depiction of the White House overcome by a violent riot, with canisters releasing billowing smoke and an unaware figure golfing in the foreground, in addition to a cyclone-like drain on a paint palette. Other pieces depict a surreal earthen map of the U.S. with state lines cracked in the dirt and a rendering of Rodin’s “The Thinker” precariously balanced on scaffolding. “During a time of lockdown, painting within the four walls of my studio felt like a liberation and a lifeline. APNEA represents this contradiction,” the artist says.

To coincide with the show’s opening, Pejac is releasing “The Boss” (shown below) as limited-edition prints and postcards available through a lottery system, and proceeds will be donated to Sea-Watch, a German NGO that has helped thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The artist also teamed up with the organization for an installation depicting a child wearing a life jacket atop Neo-Gothic Holy Cross Church in Berlin, a heartwrenching visual that draws attention to the refugee crisis. You can find out more about the release and see additional works on Instagram.

 

“Drain I” (2021), oil on artist’s palette, 50 x 40 x .4 centimeters

“Flying Ashes II” (2021), pyrography and colored pencil on wood, 189.5 x 121.8 x 3.8 centimeters

“Urban Albatros” (2019), oil, acrylic, and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters

“Geography Lesson II” (2020), oil and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters

“Landless Stranded” (2021)

“Animal Kingdom” (2021), oil, acrylic, and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters

Detail of “Sweet World” (2021), acrylic on honeycomb cardboard, 145 x 200 centimeters

“The Boss” (2021)

Detail of “The Boss” (2021)

“Social Distancing” (2021), oil and acrylic on viroc, 125 x 200 x 1.2 centimeters

Detail of “Social Distancing” (2021), oil and acrylic on viroc, 125 x 200 x 1.2 centimeters

Detail of “Social Distancing” (2021), oil and acrylic on viroc, 125 x 200 x 1.2 centimeters

 

 



Art

Innumerable Dots Cloak the Energetic Dancers in Betty Acquah's Pointillistic Paintings

October 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Child at Heart I,” acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40. All images © Betty Acquah, courtesy of Kuaba Gallery, shared with permission

Movement, motion, and emotion permeate the joyful, pointillistic paintings by Ghanaian artist Betty Acquah. Rendering dancing children, costumed troupes, and their surroundings simultaneously, Acquah conveys celebratory moments by cloaking her scenes with countless dots of acrylic. “The background echoes the movement of figures and therefore create(s) a pulsating surface that brings the composition alive,” she tells Colossal. “By extending dabs of color in the subject matter into the background and vice-versa, an illusion of movement is created.”

Each richly layered piece blurs the figures’ defining features, casting them as anonymous, everyday people. “Women are the unsung heroines of the Ghanaian Republic,” says a statement from Kuaba Gallery, which represents the artist. “The images she depicts tell of ordinary women working courageously towards a greater Ghana.”

Born near the Atlantic Ocean, Acquah is currently exploring beachscapes, aerial, abstract compositions, and the connection between younger women and their socioeconomic statuses. You can find more of her recent works at Kuaba Gallery. (via Women’s Art)

 

“Dance Fever,” acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60

“Child at Heart II,” acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40

“Exquisite,” acrylic on canvas, 35 x 83.5

“Banner of Victory,” acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50

“Carefree Days,” acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40