portraits

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Photography

Lavish Portraits by Lakin Ogunbanwo Document the Contemporary Traditions of Nigerian Brides

October 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs by Lakin Ogunbanwo, courtesy of Niki Cryan Gallery

Photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo creates colorful portraits of Nigerian women that are simultaneously majestic and dreamy. Set against gauzy draped backdrops, Ogunbanwo’s subjects are dressed for bridal ceremonies in vibrant lace bodices, sculptural headdresses, and embellished tulle veils. In a statement on the series, the artist describes his use of veiled portraiture “to document the complexity of his culture, and counteract the West’s monolithic narratives of Africa and women.” The series, titled e wá wo mi (“come look at me”), documents “the traditional ceremonial wear of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani tribes, amongst others. Rather than objectively archive these as past-traditions, however, he mimics the pageantry of weddings in present Nigeria.”

e wá wo mi is currently on view at Niki Cryan Gallery, in tandem with another of Ogunbanwo’s series, Are We Good Enough. The exhibition runs from October 14 to November 3, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. The photographer’s work has also been featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times, as well as the Grid Photo Biennial in Cape Town, South Africa. See more of Ogunbanwo’s stylized portraiture on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Complex Bent Wire Portraits by Spenser Little Become Street Post Accessories

September 29, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Photograph: © Julie

California-based artist Spenser Little has spent the past 15 years creating sculptures by bending and cutting wire into figurative portraits and phrases. His lightweight pieces have been installed on lamp posts and other existing structures around the world and have also been exhibited in numerous gallery shows.

According to Little, a few of his sculptures combine multiple pieces and include moving parts, though most of his work is made using one continuous piece of wire. The artist bends the rigid material using a pair of needle-nose pliers until it fits the image of his subject or his imagination. The work ranges from playful figures that interact with their surroundings to pointed commentaries on an internet and tech-obsessed society. Collectors encounter the sculptures framed and presented in a gallery setting, while others wire portraits have been left behind for pedestrians and explorers to find deep in caves and high above the streets.

Head over to Thinkspace Gallery to browse Spenser Little’s available pieces, and follow the artist on Instagram to see where his sculpture-leaving travels will take him next.

Photograph: © Julie

Photograph: © Julie

Photograph: © Julie

 

 



Art

African Fabrics Connect to Form Quilted Portraits of Black Figures by Bisa Butler

September 28, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Broom Jumpers. Credits: Ian Rubinstein / Claire Oliver Gallery

Brooklyn-based artist Bisa Butler (previously) uses brightly colored cotton, wool, and chiffon fabrics with bold patterns to piece together quilts featuring detailed portraits of Black people. The materials and themes connect American subjects with their African roots and tell visual stories of history and culture.

Butler is a New Jersey-born African American artist with Ghanian heritage. A closer look at her portraits reveals intricate mosaics of shapes and patterns and complex multi-hued skin tones. For her James Baldwin-inspired piece “I Am Not Your Negro,” Butler created a portrait of a man seated in a pose similar to Rodin’s “Thinker” and a warm complexion inspired by The Fire Next Time, an important book written by Baldwin that was first published in 1963. “I used reds and oranges in his complexion to indicate this while this man sits calmly [there] is fire inside,” Butler said in a statement. “I use colorful imaginative colors in my figures because I am connecting color to emotion and I want their images to indicate a personality, mood, and temperament.”

The artist’s quilts also incorporate nods to Black wedding traditions, references to historically Black colleges and universities, and other elements that speak to the Black and African American experience. The Katonah Museum of Art is set to host the artist’s first solo museum exhibition with approximately 25 of her quilts on display from March 15 to June 14, 2020.

To learn more about the Bisa Butler’s work, head over to the Claire Oliver Gallery website and follow the artist on Instagram.

I Am Not Your Negro

Dear Mama

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (detail)

Kindred

To God and Truth (detail)

To God and Truth (detail)

Bisa at work

Bisa at work

 

 



Photography

Quirky Juxtapositions Capture Imperfect Human Moments in Photographs by Shin Noguchi

September 27, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs shared with permission of the artist

Photographer Shin Noguchi spends his time, camera in hand, in Japan’s public spaces, observing and seeking out candid moments that reflect the humorous, heartbreaking, and bizarre realities of the human experience. Noguchi shares with Colossal that he values the existential affirmation of human life that he gleans from his work, accepting his and others’ situations as they are. The artist shies away from the term ‘street photographer’, as he views his work as more of a sociological experience.

“To shoot people with a camera is, for me, is like saying hello,” the photographer explains. “Sometime I use my mouth for it, sometime I use my eyes, and sometimes my camera, that’s it. I just really enjoy ‘talking’ or making conversation with people in the street, and if I use a camera for it, I always use the viewfinder; I never use hip-shots to hide myself.”

Noguchi tells Colossal that he was raised in a very creative household, and quickly fell in love with photography as a teen when his father gave him an old Fujica camera. Of the innumerable memorable moments Noguchi has encountered over the years, two memories stand out in particular.

After an exhausting day one February, in which the photographer had spent four hours shooting during heavy snowfall in Kamakura, he passed by a life-size mascot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken store, with the snow-crested Colonel Sanders offering a quiet, seemingly reassuring smile. On another winter’s day, Noguchi observed a craftsman carrying dozens of shoji (paper-paned interior doors) out of a Shibakoen temple for routine re-covering. Growing tired from his repetitive labors, the man finally punched a hole in the paper to make the shoji easier to carry.

You can follow along with Noguchi’s visual discoveries on Instagram and explore his extensive portfolio on his website. (via The Guardian)

 

 



Art Photography

Flower Blossoms Envelop Solitary Figures in Fares Micue’s Self-Portrait Photographs

September 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Golden Girl”, All photographs shared with permission of the artist

Spain-based photographer Fares Micue uses herself as a muse in spare, otherworldly portraits. Mostly set on plain backgroundsthough Micue does occasionally shoot on locationeach photograph depicts the artist incorporated with a botanical element. In some works, Micue’s face is obscured in a glass bowl sphere bursting with flowers; in others, blossoms cascade down her shoulders.

“It always starts with an idea in my head and the feeling I want to portray. Most times I create a sketch of the image I want to create together with as many details as I can get like colors, mood, location, clothing, props, etc… as well as a short story about the image,” Micue says. Even when working indoors, the artist uses exclusively natural light, and also utilized Photoshop to edit her final images in a way that matches her inner vision.

The photographer shares with Colossal that she is self-taught and started exploring the medium as a hobby in 2009. Micue grew to love the process of creating and critiquing each image as a conceptual work. In pursuing her work more seriously, the artist explains, she hopes to cultivate a range of emotional responses in viewers similar to how she feels in conceptualizing her photographs.

You can see more of Micue’s self-portraits on Instagram and her Saatchi Art profile, where limited edition prints are available for purchase. (via The Jealous Curator)

“Overthinking”

“Hunted”

“Eternal Sunshine”

“Lovely Us”

“Utopia”

“Celestial Girl”

“Deeply in Love”

“Tree of Life”

“Hanabi”

 

 



Art Illustration

Scribbled Portraits of Brooding Figures by Adam Riches

September 25, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Artist Adam Riches uses pen and ink to create frenetic portraits of brooding anonymous figures. The monochrome illustrations emerge out of blank backgrounds, with broad, gestural lines skittering and looping across the paper. Often, pen drawings fall into two stylistic categories: contour drawings that capture the outlines and edges of their subject, or super-smooth ones that seem to defy the fine point of the pen with layered hatch marks. In forging his own style, Riches uses highly varied density in his mark-making to create volume and suggest shadows, while also utilizing each line as a distinctive shape. In a recent video interview with BBC, the artist explains, “the drawings are quite intuitive and are done spontaneously. They reveal themselves as I’m making them.”

Riches will be showing his work at PULSE Art Fair in Miami Beach in December, 2019, and his artwork is available for purchase through Nadia Arnold. See more of the artist’s scribbled portraits as well as his work in charcoal on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

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Art

Trompe l’oeil Paintings of Brushstrokes Form Abstract Portraits by Teppei Takeda

September 18, 2019

Johnny Waldman

Japanese artist Teppei Takeda uses the trompe l’oeil technique to recreate the act of painting in the form of abstract portraits. The completed paintings are anonymous, rather than of a specific person, and are meticulously put together through highly detailed paintings of gestural strokes.

Takeda is somewhat of an anomaly. The 41-year old worked for a decade almost exclusively within the confines of his studio in Yamagata, waiting for the right moment when he would unveil his paintings to the world. That day came in the summer of 2016 when Takeda held his first solo exhibition at local gallery Kuguru. Here’s what his current gallerist, Maho Kubota Gallery, had to say about the show:

There was no special advertising or publicity, but the ten portraits that he exhibited had such an impact on viewers that the news soon spread, reaching people who would travel to Yamagata from far away to see his works and collectors hoping to buy.

Teppei Takeda’s current show at Maho Kubota Gallery in Tokyo, titled “Paintings of Paintings,” recently opened and is on view through October 12, 2019. Morioka Shoten, the Ginza bookshop that only carries 1 title per week, is currently selling Takeda’s book of paintings (through 9/15). (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)