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Art

Swirling Abstract Portraits by Firelei Báez Explore Identity in Diasporic Societies

February 14, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Sans-Souci” (2015), acrylic and ink on linen, 108 x 74 inches (274.3 x 188 cm)

Using acrylic, gouache, ink, and graphite, artist Firelei Báez creates intricate portraits that blur the boundaries between abstraction, realism, and surrealism. Báez forms human figures with skin comprised of swirling bursts of color and pattern, while meticulously rendered strands of hair and piercing eyes anchor the vibrant abstracted shapes as people. In a statement on her website, the artist’s practice is described as “a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work; her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies.”

Báez was born in the Dominican Republic and now lives and works in New York, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Cooper Union’s School of Art and Hunter College, respectively. She was recently commissioned by New York’s Metro Transit Authority to create an elaborate mosaic mural. The colorful multi-part work is part of a station redesign in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

Báez has exhibited widely and her first solo show in the Netherlands is on view through May 12, 2019 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. You can keep up with her latest work and creative endeavors on Instagram.

“Memory Board Listening (June 7th)” (2015), acrylic and Sennelier ink on YUPO paper, 40 x 30 inches (101.6 x 76.2 cm)

Vessel of Genealogies” (2016, acrylic), graphite and ink on paper, 40.5 x 70 inches (102.9 x 177.8 cm)

“To See Beyond It And To Access the Places That We Know Lie Outside Its Walls” (2015), Gouache and ink on paper, 84.5 x 50 inches (213.4 x 127 cm)

L: “Wanderlust Demanding Recompense” (2016), acrylic and ink on paper, 93 x 52 inches (236.2 x 132.1 cm) / R: “Ciguapa Pantera” (2015), acrylic and ink on paper, 95 x 69 inches (241.3 x 165.1 cm)

“Becoming New (A Tignon For Mami Wata)” (2016), acrylic on canvas 48 x 34 inches (121.9 x 86.4 cm)

“Patterns Of Resistance”

Of Love Possessed (Lessons on Alterity For G.D. and F.G At A Local BSS)” (2016), acrylic on Yupo paper
71 x 56 inches (180.3 x 142.2 cm)

 

 



Art

A Pair of Two-Story-Tall Pigeons Make a Home in Delhi During This Year’s Lodhi Art Festival

February 12, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

All images by Pranav Gohil, via Street Art News

All images by Pranav Gohil, via Street Art News

Artist Adele Renault (previously here and here) creates large-scale paintings of pigeons, highlighting the spectacular feather patterns and hues that might otherwise go unnoticed at the birds’ small scale. Recently the Belgian artist completed a mural of two grey and blue-toned pigeons for St+art India’s Lodhi Street Art Festival in Delhi. The bird on the right has its mouth agape, squawking at the one on the left from the other side of a window that peers into a courtyard. Programming for the festival runs through the end of March, 2019. You can view more of Renault’s large-scale paintings on her website and Instagram, and take a look at her Amsterdam-based space Unruly Gallery which she runs with collaborator Niels Shoe Meulman. (via Street Art News)

 

 



Art

Impasto Mountains Rise from the Canvas in Richly Textured Paintings by Conrad Jon Godly

February 8, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

"TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #5" (2018), oil on canvas, 170 x 170 cm

“TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #5” (2018), oil on canvas, 170 x 170 cm, all images courtesy of JD Malat Gallery

Conrad Jon Godly (previously) paints in thick, impasto strokes to form snow-capped peaks and mountain ranges in icy black, white, and blue. The textured formations on canvas have feathered edges that mimic the high altitude wind, a technique that makes you almost feel the subject’s arctic blast. The works are at once abstract and hyperreal. Blunt gestures of his paint knife obscure any sort of image at close viewing, and yet a pristine image of a mountain comes into view when one takes a few steps back.

Godly grew up in Davos, Switzerland amid the Swiss Alps, an environment that has become his muse. “My surroundings have a huge influence on me, artistically and personally,” he explains in the press release of his current exhibition To See is Not to Speak at JD Malat Gallery in London. “I don’t see myself as a landscape painter, I am interested in capturing the mood and feeling of light, or the reflection of the moon on snow.”

Godly had a previous life as a photographer where he learned how to harness light and understand visual texture. These lessons he brings into his large-scale canvases, which evoke the moody experience of cloudy mountain ranges covered in fresh snow. Currently the artist lives between Switzerland and Japan. His work is currently being exhibited at the Zona Maco art fair in Mexico City with JD Malat Gallery until February 10, 2019, and his solo exhibition with the gallery runs through March 2, 2019. You can see more of Godly’s paintings on his website and Instagram.

"TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #2" (2018), oil on canvas, 150 x 130 cm

“TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #2” (2018), oil on canvas, 150 x 130 cm

"TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #12" (2018), oil on canvas, 150 x 130 cm

“TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #12” (2018), oil on canvas, 150 x 130 cm

Conrad Jon Godly, "TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #4" (2018), oil on canvas, 170 x 140 cm, all images courtesy of JD Malat Gallery

Conrad Jon Godly, “TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #4” (2018), oil on canvas, 170 x 140 cm

"TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #6" (2018), Oil on Canvas, 170 x 230 cm

“TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #6” (2018), Oil on Canvas, 170 x 230 cm

"TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #7" (2018), oil on canvas, 200 x 170 cm

“TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #7” (2018), oil on canvas, 200 x 170 cm

"TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #10" (2018), oil on canvas, 170 x 200 cm

“TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #10” (2018), oil on canvas, 170 x 200 cm

"TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #11" (2018), oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm

“TO SEE IS NOT TO SPEAK #11” (2018), oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm

 

 



Art

Lavish Portraits of Missouri Citizens by Kehinde Wiley

February 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Madame Valmant”, 2018

Painter Kehinde Wiley is renowned for his large-scale portraits of Black subjects (perhaps most notably President Barack Obama). His most recent body of work is on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and draws inspiration from eight works of art in the museum’s collection, which are referenced in all but one of his paintings’ titles. Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is comprised of 11 portraits of people the artist met in 2017 on the city’s north side and in nearby Ferguson, the community where 18-year-old unarmed Black citizen Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014.

“My job is to see things in an accurate context in a society where so often black people are reduced to simple stereotypes,” Wiley explained in an interview with the St. Louis American. “What I’m doing is slowing down and taking time to honor people from every little detail of their being.  From their nails to the type of jeans that they are wearing – or that sort of timidity or boldness of their character.” The resulting portraits are filled with Wiley’s signature jewel tones and elaborate pattern work that interacts with his subjects, both showcasing and enveloping each figure. As contemporary Black Americans in their own clothing strike the grand postures of white Europeans of centuries past, Wiley juxtaposes the traditions and tensions of race and representation in the art world.

Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum (which is free and open to the public) in Saint Louis, Missouri until February 10, 2019. You can watch a video of the artist’s in-depth talk at the museum here. Wiley also shares his completed and in-progress works on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

“Jacob de Graeff”, 2018

“Three Girls in a Wood”, 2018

“Charles I”, 2018

“Mahogany Jones and Marcus Stokes”, 2018

 

 



Amazing Art

A Recursive Series of Paintings Inspired by One Woman’s Second-Ever Work of Art

February 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Over the last two weeks, Redditors have been slowly but steadily breaking the internet’s space-time continuum with a series of recursive paintings. The fateful catalyst was posted on Reddit two weeks ago, with a photo of a woman (the Redditor’s mother) holding a painting of a bird, her second painting ever. The photo’s caption, “My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It’s her 2nd painting,” inspired another user to paint a painting of the woman holding her painting, captioned “I painted somebody’s mom,” and mayhem ensued from there.

Each successive painting includes a caption chronicling their location in the multi-branched series. The result is a fascinating chain of events that connects online and offline experiences, and has gotten more than a few some-time painters back at their brushes. You can follow the progress of this real-life meme via Nick Kapur on Twitter.

 

 



Art

A New Book of Paintings by Tiffany Bozic Explores the Unity and Disjunction of the Natural World

January 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Triangle of Love”

The natural world gets an unusual interpretation through the lens of Northern California-based painter Tiffany Bozic (previously). She combines a highly developed realism with surreal juxtapositions of animals and plants in carefully composed paintings that question the “natural order” of the environment. In Triangle of Love, an owl family cozies up in a bed of gold-hued four leaf clovers, while in Aether, moths and caterpillars are drawn to a marbled pentagon hovering within a dew-dappled geometric spiderweb.

Bozic’s work over the last six years has been compiled into a forthcoming book, titled Unnatural Selections, published by Gingko Press. The artist explains to Colossal, “Since my paintings vary so widely from one to the next, I feel it’s important to be able to see them together as a continual ecosystem. Each contributes something to a larger dialog, and together they explore how we relate to each other and the natural world.”

Bozic often draws inspiration from direct experience exploring the world, which she often explores in tandem with her ornithologist husband. The works included in Unnatural Selections are also informed by her perspective as the mother of a young daughter. “By discovering universal commonalities between human beings and other living organisms, like reproduction and different parenting strategies, I felt more connected to the natural world and conscious of my role in it,” she explains.

Unnatural Selections is available for preorder on Amazon. You can also follow Bozic’s work and field explorations on Instagram, as she preps for her upcoming summer show at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon.

“Altruism”

L: “Joy”, R: “Emotion”

“Divide”

“Aether”

“Point of Origin”

 

 



Art Illustration

Layered Paintings by Betsy Walton Build Memory into Colorful Explorations of the Pacific Northwest

January 17, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Betsy Walton loosely imitates the landscape of Portland, Oregon in paintings infused with geodesic rocks and female subjects dressed as spellbinding goddesses. Walton works in layers, leaving some areas of the paintings bare with minimal sketches, while others have been painted, mixed with new media, or patched over multiple times.

“I paint over old versions of images so that there is a kind of memory to the painting,” she explains to Colossal. “I like being able to create an image that slowly unfolds. My hope is that a person looking at the finished work is able to have a long relationship with the image—lots of nuance to discover over time.”

Although Portland’s winters have become a primary point of inspiration, Walton likes to also bring in elements of travel by including flora that exist outside of the Pacific Northwest. She also includes natural phenomena or invisible structures that we might not see in everyday life, such as winding tree roots or the ribs of a female subject. “In each painting I am working through a kind of mindfulness process wherein I try to stay faithful to my ideas as they arise, even if I can’t explain it or it seems like a hard turn from where I started,” she explains. “It’s a delicate dance between unconditional acceptance of new ideas and subsequent editing phases where I try to refine the image and gain more clarity in the expression of the image’s story. ”

Walton’s first solo exhibition will open in May 2020 at Stephanie Chefas Projects in Portland. You can view more of her paintings on her website and Instagram.

 

 

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins