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Art

Introspective Oil Paintings by Laura Berger Convey Transformation and Protection Through Entwined Bodies

September 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Chrysalis” (2022), oil on canvas, 40 x 54 inches. All images courtesy of Stephanie Chefas Projects, shared with permission

In Chrysalis, artist Laura Berger encapsulates the raw emotional energy of transformation in a soft, subdued color palette of blues and pinks. The solo show on view now at Stephanie Chefas Projects features a collection of oil paintings that center on entwined figures, their bodies protected by each other and their limbs sometimes positioned as shields.

In comparison to Berger’s earlier paintings, this body of work diverges in opacity, with translucent appendages and torsos emerging through other figures. Moonlight or a sheer veil similarly blanket some of the subjects as they huddle together in compact groups. The artist describes the works:

I’m interested in painting as a means to explore what it means to be human, what it means to be alive in this time and connected to each other—all with our own histories, our stories—but sharing in our collective humanity and our ties to what came before us and what will come next. I initially started painting as a therapeutic practice, and that continues to be the foundation for my work: using color as a centering healing tool and a way to sit with different combined energies; using narrative and composition exploration as a way to work through various experiences or memories.

If you’re in Portland, you can see Chrysalis through September 24. Otherwise, find more from Berger on Instagram, and find available prints in her shop.

 

“Accommodation” (2022), oil on canvas, 34 x 26 inches.

“Sheath” (2022), oil on canvas, 44 x 32 inches.

“The Rose Veil” (2022), oil on canvas, 40 x 52 inches.

“A Fleeting Touch 2” (2022), oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches.

“Portrait of a Woman Dissolving” (2022), oil on canvas, 40 x 24 inches.

“Fresh” (2022), oil on canvas, 40 x 34 inches.

“A Fleeting Touch 1” (2022), oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches.

 

 

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Art

Ruled by Children, Kevin Peterson’s Paintings Find Hope Among Environmental Collapse

September 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Steady” (2022), oil on cradled wood panel, 36 × 24 inches. All images © Kevin Peterson, shared with permission

Houston-based artist Kevin Peterson (previously) continues to translate the uncertainty of today’s world into dystopian works with equal amounts despair and optimism. Scenes brimming with waste material and urban decay find boundless confidence and life in children, who unflinchingly nuzzle up to polar bears or balance atop a crumbling brick wall. Offering hope in the face of climate catastrophe and economic collapse, Peterson’s oil paintings are deeply personal, sometimes reflecting his own son and daughter as subjects. The artists tells Colossal:

I hope the coming generations are wiser, more empathetic, more courageous.  When I’m watching my kids, I’m always projecting my own insecurities and fears onto them, assuming they will suffer from my own deficiencies. I can not tell you how excited I feel when I see them diverge from those characteristics, and I realize they are not me. They are better than me in so many ways, and that is what anchors my hope for them and the future.

Many of Peterson’s works shown here are on view through September 24 at Thinkspace Projects in Los Angeles, which also has a couple of prints available. You can also follow his forward-looking practice on Instagram.

 

“Cove” (2022), oil on cradled wood panel, 24 × 18 inches

“Stay,” oil on panel, 28 x 28 inches

“Fellowship” (2022), oil on cradled wood panel, 32 × 24 inches

“Company” (2022), oil on cradled wood panel, 32 × 24 inches

“Fall” (2022), oil on cradled wood panel, 20 × 16 inches

 

 



Art

Solitude and Nature’s Ephemerality Emanates from the Illuminated Forms in Sung Hwa Kim’s Paintings

September 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Untitled” (2022), soft pastels and acrylic on paper, 12 x 9 inches. All images © Sung Hwa Kim, shared with permission

A sense of solitude and the finitude of time pervade the quiet, introspective works by Sung Hwa Kim. Rendering overgrown landscapes shrouded by night, the Korean artist wields the connection between ephemerality and memory, sometimes invoking nostalgia, as well. His acrylic paintings focus on fleeting acts like a glowing lightning bug or butterfly hovering above the grass while utilizing light to “symbolize the spirit of things we once loved, have lost, despair and longing. I wanted to capture these feelings and tell the viewers that even in our darkest times, there’s always light and not lose hope,” he shares.

Much of Kim’s work revolves around witnessing the world around him, and his practice includes regular walks or bike rides near his Brooklyn home. “I’m always searching for moments that are frequently overlooked in my everyday life—weeds growing in sidewalk cracks, sneakers hanging from telephone lines, fireflies in Central Park,” he shares. “It’s essential to my practice to be actively attentive and open and receptive to the world around me. It’s these moments of pause that I still enjoy and get my inspiration.”

Explore an archive of Kim’s meditative works on his site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“We follow the night, looking for the light” (2022), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 40 x 50 inches

“It’s alright. We’ve all been born for the first time on this planet” (2021), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

“Your sun is my moon, my moon is your sun. Under the same sky that we share, everything is alive and has a soul” (2022), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 72 x 60 inches

“Shed your body, reveal itself. It’s with and within us” (2021), acrylic, flashe, and gouache on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

“They are not gone. They will wait for you and be with you” (2022), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 40 x 60 inches

“I woke up. The moon is full, so I send my wishes to the universe” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

 

 



Art

Bound by Cord, the Women of Arghavan Khosravi’s Paintings Exemplify the Borderless Fight for Equality

August 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Miraj (2),” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, elastic cord, 120 x 80 x 6 centimeters. All images © Arghavan Khosravi, shared with permission

Through layered, mixed-media paintings, Iranian artist Arghavan Khosravi (previously) alludes to the multivalent effects of losing freedom and human rights. Elastic cord binds her protagonists to their own limbs or surroundings, their individual characteristics partially concealed or fragmented as a result of restriction. Her subjects are often women who are confined to domestic spaces, hidden behind painted wooden panels, or physically tied to a situation or person.

Working in vibrant, saturated colors, Khosravi blends surreal imagery with the motifs of Persian textiles and architecture. The artist tells Colossal that although she still grounds her work in her experiences in Iran, she’s begun to broaden the conceptual aspects of her practice. “My goal is to have a more universal approach so women coming from different countries, cultures, and generations can relate to the paintings. The fight for gender equality is universal, and there is still a long road ahead of us,” she says.

Khosravi has a limited-edition print available through Art for Change, and her first institutional show is up through September 5 at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. She opens a solo exhibition at Rockefeller Center on September 6 and has another slated for later this year at Stems Gallery in Belgium. Until then, find more of her work on Instagram.

 

“The Castle,” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, elastic cord, 105 x 80 x 6 centimeters

“The Pomegranate Garden,” acrylic on canvas mounted on shaped wood panels, 74 x 57 x 8 inches

“Dreaming,” acrylic on canvas, wood panel, 121 x 121 x 4 centimeters

“The Stage,” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, polyester rope, fifteen parts, 200 x 120 x 3 centimeters

“The Garden,” acrylic on canvas mounted on shaped wood panels, 59 x 71 x 6 inches

“The Curtain,” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, Plexiglas, polyester rope, 61 x 120 x 10 centimeters, 99 x 77 x 7 centimeters

 

 



Art

‘Division of Birds’ Opens at Paradigm Gallery with a Vast Exploration of the Avian World

August 25, 2022

Colossal

Gigi Chen. All images © the artists, shared with permission

From the caves of Lascaux to ancient engravings and jewelry, feathered life has populated some of the earliest artworks known to exist. A group exhibition opening this week at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia expands on this tradition by bringing together 11 artists working today who harness the vast creative potential of the avian world.

Curated by Colossal’s founder and editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson, Division of Birds flies through a wide array of styles and mediums in 30 pieces that consider winged creatures through both realism and fantasy. Working in vibrant acrylic, Gigi Chen imagines moss enveloping an oversized bluebird, while Calvin Ma creates a beaked disguise for his signature character. Other pieces include Drew Mosley’s caged owls and the energetically swirling feathers by Fio Silva.

Division of Birds runs through September 18, and if you’re in Philadelphia, join Colossal at the gallery for the opening reception on August 26.

 

Felicia Chiao

Fio Silva

Roberto Benavidez

Dina Brodsky

Calvin Ma

Drew Mosley

 

 



Art

The Aquatic and Terrestrial Life of Southern California Merges into Hybrid Creatures in Jon Ching’s Paintings

August 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

“King Tide.” All images © Jon Ching, courtesy of Beinart Gallery, shared with permission

Los Angeles-based artist Jon Ching imagines the fantastic possibilities of melding Earth’s flora and fauna, rendering bizarre creatures with mushroom feathers and striped tulip fins. His latest oil paintings, which are on view this fall in Habitat at Beinart Gallery, extend this interest in hybridity by blending aquatic, aerial, and terrestrial organisms and their environments.

Marine ecosystems appear in many of the pieces, alongside cacti and succulents native to Ching’s home in southern California. In “King Tide,” for example, rising water approaches a cockatoo with plant-like plumage, and “Acclimate” depicts two green parrots perched on aloe growing below the surface. Each work envisions how different ecologies could converge and references nature’s resilience, the climate crisis, and the growing necessity of adapting to a changing world.

Ching’s solo show Habitat runs from September 11 to October 2 in Melbourne. Prints and stickers are available in his shop, and you can follow his latest works on Instagram.

 

“Acclimate”

“Reparation”

Left: “Hygge.” Right: “Think Tank”

“Double Vision”

“Flash Point”

Left: “Jungle Gym.” Right: “Neogenesis”

“Long Game”