“Family is intrinsic to my creativity,” says Ismail Zaidy about his photographic practice that’s grounded in color, emotion, and various aspects of Moroccan culture. In many of his conceptual images, Zaidy’s brother and sister serve as models positioned among swathes of pastel fabrics or balancing between taught ropes. Shot against the sandy backdrops of windswept deserts, each photograph amplifies movement and an interplay between light and shadow.
Pairing with the abstract and minimal aesthetic, Zaidy uses simple editing tools and only the camera on a Samsung Galaxy S5. He draws on his passion for color through silks, cotton, and other textiles that evoke the imagery of his upbringing. “When I was a kid, I used to live in a modest area in Marrakech where I was watching the way the women would wear their fabrics, hike and djellaba out on the streets. These women are still a huge inspiration for me today,” he says.
Although the involvement of Zaidy’s siblings began out of necessity when others weren’t available, they continue to offer direction and insight into the concepts, which the 23-year-old photographer explains:
I’m trying to shine a light on certain subjects. A lack of communication, distance between siblings and their parents, and family estrangement are problems that affect many but are rarely talked about. I am trying to treat this issue throughout my work in a poetic way, showing that family is one of the most valuable gifts in our lives.
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Relying on a simple color palette, Amy Victoria Marsh crafts minimalist ceramics meant to inspire positivity and humor. The Manchester-based artist creates playful pieces ranging from supine women reading to others wrapped up on a sushi bed to her “Happy Poo” collection. Her pastel fortune cookie even comes in an illustrated package with an uplifting saying stuffed inside.
Marsh tells It’s Nice That that much of her lighthearted work has been inspired by a 2016 visit to Japan. “From the typography found everywhere, to the personification of most objects, the Japanese have a unique take on design, which I find hugely inspiring,” she said. Her love for all things tiny, though, began during her childhood. “I was madly into toys such as Polly Pocket and Sylvanian Families and loved looking at illustrated stamps,” she said. “Looking back at my childhood it’s no wonder I’m making some of the work I am today!”
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Focusing heavily on the female figure, painter Prudence Flint combines pastels and flat, geometric shapes in her minimalistic works. Rarely showing their faces directly, Flint’s oil paintings often portray women lying down, sitting, or performing daily tasks like showering while they look straight ahead, adding to the pieces’ pensive atmospheres.
In a recent interview with Juxtapoz, the painter expounded on why she mostly centers on women, saying she wants them “to be all things, whole, boundless, perverse, and representative of humanity. I want to give voice to this experience of being alive, now, in this culture, as a woman.” The ways Flint constructs female bodies exemplifies these ideas of womanhood, as she often paints small heads on top of broad torsos and long limbs.
As a woman, I feel constantly up against the idea of what is meant to be happening to me versus what is actually happening to me … I think I have found a solution by distorting the bodies, which becomes representative of what experience does to you. It marks you and creates emotional weight.
Flint’s self-portrait “The Wish” is on view from January 16 to 30 at High Line Nine in New York as part of ME, an exhibition that considers the relationship between identity and the face. If you can’t see the Melbourne-based artist’s paintings in person, head to Instagram where she shares much of her work.
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Pastel artist Zaria Forman’s subject of choice is the glacier. The natural phenomenon that occurs around the globe is a critical element of cold-weather ecosystems, as well as a barometer of global climate health. The Brooklyn-based artist travels worldwide, often accompanying scientific expeditions, to experience and document glaciers firsthand, taking thousands of reference photographs to inform her enormous pastel drawings.
In translating her real-world travels on to paper, Forman shares that she draws from memory as well as from her reference photographs. “Occasionally I will re-shape the ice a little, or simplify a busy background to create a balanced composition, but 90% of the time I am depicting the exact scene that I witnessed, because I want to stay true to the landscape that existed at that point in time.”
Forman shares with Colossal that her passion for remote landscapes was sparked in childhood, when she traveled the world with her family—including her fine art photographer mother. As an adult she has channeled this fascination with our planet’s vast and varied landscapes into her art practice.
Climate change is arguably the largest crisis we face as a global society. I feel a responsibility as an artist to address this in my work, especially since I’ve had the rare opportunity to travel to remote places at the forefront of the crisis. Psychology tells us that humans take action and make decisions based on emotion above all else. Studies have shown that art impacts our emotions. I convey the beauty as opposed to the devastation of threatened places in my work. If people can experience the sublimity of these landscapes, perhaps they will be inspired to protect and preserve them.
Many of the works shown here feature Greenland’s glaciers. Last winter, Forman also re-visited Antactica and Patagonia’s southern ice fields, and she has just started working on a series around Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. “Impressively, Perito Moreno glacier is the third largest reserve of fresh water on the planet, surpassed only by the Antarctic and Greenland Ice sheets,” Forman explains to Colossal. “It also happens to be the only glacier in the southern ice fields that is not retreating. But it’s not advancing, either. I am excited to dive into its details and textures in these new compositions.”
Next summer, Forman’s solo show will be on view at Winston Wächter Fine Art in Seattle. The artist is also curating an exhibition for the National Geographic Endurance, a polar expedition ship, which will be installed in February, 2020. Follow along with Forman’s work and travels on Instagram.
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WanJin Gim (previously) continues to amaze with his detailed drawings that show the nuanced colors and textures of bare skin. Most often working on kraft paper, Gim uses cross hatching—a technique most commonly associated with ink drawings or prints—with an array of colors to capture hands, arms, feet, and the occasional cat. Though simple in subject, Gim’s drawings pulsate with the gestural energy that informs the postures of each carefully rendered limb. You can see more of the Seoul-based artist’s work on Instagram, and find prints of his drawings on Gim’s online store.
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Zaria Forman (previously here and here) creates incredibly realistic drawings of Antarctica’s icebergs, producing large pastel works that capture the sculptural beauty of the quickly shrinking forms. This past winter, the artist had the opportunity to be side-by-side with the the towering ice shelfs, observing their magnitude aboard the National Geographic Explorer during a four week art residency.
The residency gave her the opportunity to further embody the natural formations, providing a new perspective to create her large-scale drawings.
“Many of us are intellectually aware that climate change is our greatest global challenge, and yet the problem may feel abstract, the imperiled landscapes remote,” says Forman. “I hope my drawings make Antarctica’s fragility visceral to the viewer, emulating the overpowering experience of being beside a glacier.”
Forman has a solo exhibition of her work titled Antarctica opening at Winston Wächter gallery in Seattle on September 9 and running through November 4, 2017. You can watch a timelapse of Forman completing her drawing Whale Bay, Antarctica no.4 in the video below. (via Juxtapoz)
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