portraits

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Art Photography

Loose Threads Dangle from Bizarrely Expressive Portraits Sewn by Yoon Ji Seon

November 30, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Rag face #21004” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 112 x 73 centimeters. All images © Yoon Ji Seon, courtesy of CRAIC AM, shared with permission

The cheeky, uncanny works that comprise Yoon Ji Seon’s ongoing Rag Face series bring the knotted, twisting, and generally convoluted entanglements of a subject’s psyche to the forefront. Her photographic portraits are printed on roughly cut pieces of canvases and then overlaid with rows of tight stitches and loose strings that drip from an eye or loop across a face. Adding color and depth, the threads “can be seen or felt like internal conflicts, external stimuli, umbilical cord, blood vessels, sagging skin, hair, or time as a point of each viewer,” the artist says.

Zany and outlandish in expression, the portraits are a playful mix of confusion and jest that Yoon derives from traditional Korean comedies, called madangnori. Those performances consider “the suffering and reality of the people through humor and satire while arousing the excitement of onlookers,” she says, explaining further:

I think what I’m doing these days is to make (an) ‘image’ of these comedies. What I want to pursue through my work is ‘humor’ in the end, but this humor does not bloom in happiness. During intense, painful, and chaotic lives, humor can be like a comma, to relax and recharge.

Because the sewn works are unique on either side, they produce mirrored images that are a distorted version of their counterpart, bolstering the strange, surreal affect of each piece.

The Rag Face series now spans decades of the Daejeon City, South Korea-based artist’s practice, and you can browse dozens of those pieces on her site. (via Lustik)

 

“Rag face #16020” (2016), sewing on fabric and photography, 141 x 97 centimeters

“Rag face #21003” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 94 x 68 centimeters

“Rag face #21004” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 112 x 73 centimeters

“Rag face #16015” (2016), sewing on fabric and photography, 47 x 26 centimeters

“Rag face #17010” (2017), sewing on fabric and photography, 128 x 97 centimeters

“Rag face #19003” (2019), sewing on fabric and photography, 146 x 119 centimeters

“Rag face #21002” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 170 x 118 centimeters

“Rag face #17010” (2017), sewing on fabric and photography, 128 x 97 centimeters

 

 



Art Craft

Social Issues and the Climate Crisis Intertwine in Subversive Crocheted Works by Jo Hamilton

November 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“I Crochet Portland” (2006-2009), mixed crocheted yarn, 63 x 114 inches. All images © Jo Hamilton, shared with permission

From a mix of wool fibers and yarn made from plastic waste, Scottish artist Jo Hamilton crochets large-scale portraits and architectural landscapes delineated with dangling threads. Her knotted pieces push the boundaries of art and craft traditions, bringing the two together in subversive portrayals of powerful women and metropolises marred by production. Unraveling at the edges, the textured works reflect on interlocking issues like unchecked capitalism, social disparities, and the increasingly urgent climate crisis.

All of the materials Hamilton uses are recycled, whether sourced from estate sales and resalers or created in studio. A few years ago, she started turning grocery bags, videotapes, and other household items into skeins of yarn-like threads—the artist shares some of this process on Instagram—as a way to reduce her impact on the environment, explaining:

We tend to glorify nature as an eternal and everlasting idea, separate from ourselves and our real-life actions. We’ve held on tightly to these ideas during the last few decades in the throes of late capitalism and globalization, and if we don’t change our thinking, policies and behavior immediately it will be too late. So I channeled my anxieties about over-production, pollution, and climate change into my work, using plastic in some of the works in contrast with the yarn.

If you’re in Portland, stop by Russo Lee Gallery to see Hamilton’s most recent works as part of her solo show Transitory Trespass, which closes on November 27.

 

“Cherry Steel Above and Below” (2017), mixed crocheted yarn, 68 x 122 inches

“Shinig Mountain Eclipse.” Photo by John Clark

Left: “Masked Metamorhic.” Right: “Masked Marbled.” Photos by John Clark

“Death Star PDX” (2018), mixed crocheted yarn, 45 x 52 inches. Photo by John Clark

“Isaac Montalvo” (2008), mixed yarn, 23 x 22 inches

“Head & Neck Dietician” (2016), mixed crocheted yarn, 29 x 27 inches

“Groucho Gia” (2013), mixed crocheted yarn, 51 x 36 inches

Hamilton with a 2019 outdoor crocheted mural project on SE Foster Road in Portland. Photo by Kevin McConnell

Hamilton with a 2019 outdoor crocheted mural project on SE Foster Road in Portland. Photo by Kevin McConnell

 

 



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 Photography

Gold Ornaments and Precious Stones Adorn Tender Photographic Portraits by Tawny Chatmon

November 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Joy” (2020), 24k gold leaf, acrylic on archival pigment print, 30 x 20 inches. All images © Tawny Chatmon, shared with permission

In If I’m No Longer Here, I Wanted You to Know, photographic artist Tawny Chatmon overlays portraits of young children and families with dabs of 24-karat gold leaf, precious stones, and watercolor details. The heavily adorned images are the latest in Chatmon’s superimposed works, which veered from digital collages to the hand-gilded pieces evocative of Gustav Klimt’s Golden Phase that are similar to those shown here, and respond to themes of unity and togetherness born out of the ongoing pandemic.

While many of Chatmon’s works previously centered on a single subject, she’s transitioned to also photographing two children at play or entire families, including fathers where she otherwise had not. She explains:

My father played such a paramount role in my, my sisters’, and my mother’s lives. It did not sit well with me that I wasn’t celebrating that in my work, too. It has been 10 years since we lost our father to prostate cancer, yet still, his lessons and love carry us through our days. I thought of my husband too, my brother-in-law, my friend’s fathers and husbands, and all of the world’s compassionate fathers and how important they are, and I especially wanted to celebrate Black fathers who are often depicted as anything other than what they truly are… phenomenal.

Through gilt embellishments, Chatmon emphasizes the beauty and value inherent in her subjects, whose joyful, tender expressions and gestures exude warmth and affection. “The past year’s pandemic revealed to me once more that time with our loved ones is not infinite… While the revelations of injustice leading to civil unrest reminded me of the urgency to continue to work towards a better future for our children,” she says. “I do not wish to wait for the perfect time, the perfect place, or the perfect day to express my love for family and friends.”

Currently based in Maryland, Chatmon will show some of her portraits with Galerie Myrtis at the 2022 Venice Biennial. She’s working on a new series titled Remnants, which explores themes of futurity and harmony through mosaic-style pieces comprised of snippets of the artist’s previous paintings. You can follow her progress on Instagram.

 

“Created in Her Image” (2020), 24k gold leaf, acrylic on archival pigment print, 40 x 30 inches

“Destined To Lead The Way” (2021), 24k gold leaf, acrylic, precious and semi-precious stones, on archival pigment print 34 x 22 inches

“He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” (2021), 24k gold leaf, 12k gold leaf, acrylic on archival pigment print, 46 x 28 inches

“Best” (2020), 24k gold leaf, acrylic on archival pigment print, 40 x 30 inches

“Look Forward, Beloved Boy” (2020), 24k gold leaf, acrylic on archival pigment print, 36 x 24 inches

“It Was Never Your Burden To Carry” (2020), 24k gold leaf, acrylic, watercolor on archival pigment print, 52 x 36 inches

“Sweet Heart” (2016/2020), 24k gold leaf, acrylic, precious stones on archival pigment print, 20 x 16 inches

“Ahead” (2020), 24k gold leaf, acrylic on archival pigment print, 28 x 21 inches

 

 



Illustration

Dizzying Patterns Envelop Imagined Characters in Portraits by Sofia Bonati

October 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Sofia Bonati, shared with permission

In the hypnotic portraits of Argentinian artist Sofia Bonati (previously), women find themselves embraced by backgrounds of black-and-white linework, foliage, and abstract geometries. The feminine characters often have rosy cheeks and earnest expressions, and they seamlessly meld with their patterned environments, which sometimes conceal the outlines of their figures and accentuate their unique facial features.

Now based in Oxfordshire, Bonati will show some of her dizzying drawings in a group exhibition with Wow x Wow this December. You can explore more of her works and recent commissions on Instagram and Behance, and pick up prints and other goods from Society6.

 

 

 



Art

Tufts of Printed Fabric Form Colorful Mixed-Media Portraits by Marcellina Oseghale Akpojotor

October 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Eyes on the Gold IV” (2018), 5 x 4 feet. All images courtesy of Rele Gallery, shared with permission

Using scraps of vibrant Ankara fabric, Lagos-based artist Marcellina Oseghale Akpojotor fashions intimate portraits that consider the fragmented and varied inner lives of her subjects. The intricately composed depictions rely on a cacophony of patterns arranged in loose ripples and tufts, creating a patchwork of color and texture. Although the textiles are Dutch in origin—they’re colloquially known as “African print fabrics”—they have a strong cultural significance, and by piecing together the assorted motifs, Akpojotor establishes a shared visual memory.

Set against uncluttered, domestic backdrops rendered in acrylic, the fiber-based figures are often disrupted with small spots of paint as a way to “speak to the influence our environment has in shaping us as individuals,” Akpojotor shares. “They represent the connections we have with our background and immediate society and how these often ignored elements form a part of our being.” Navigating the links between subjects and their surroundings is an ongoing concern for the artist, whose work delves into the effects of the current moment, in addition to the ways personal histories and the actions of previous generations have lasting impacts.

Akpojotor is represented by Rele Gallery, where her work will be on view later this month, and she’s currently working on pieces that explore how education affects women’s empowerment, which you can follow on Instagram. (via Women’s Art)

 

 

“Set to Flourish I” (2021), fabric and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

“Bright bright light II” (2020), mixed media, 2 x 2 feet

“Papa’s Girl (Kesiena’s Diary)” (2021), fabric, paper, and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

Detail of “Bright bright light II” (2020), mixed media, 2 x 2 feet

“Eyes on the Gold VI” (2018), 5 x 4 feet

“Ovoke (Kesiena’s diary)” (2019-2020), fabric and acrylic on canvas, 5 x 4 feet

“Dear Brother II” (2020), mixed media, 2 x 2 feet