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.
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Spain-based photographer Fares Micue uses herself as a muse in spare, otherworldly portraits. Mostly set on plain backgrounds—though Micue does occasionally shoot on location—each 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.
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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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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)
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Australian artist Fintan Magee travels the world to paint large-scale murals depicting intimate, often tender, moments of focus and imagination. The artist uses his platform as a renowned muralist and studio artist to raise awareness around looming society issues like climate change and forced human migration.
Magee combines a realist style with more abstracted or fantastical elements: a child wearing swimming gear carries an iceberg in his backpack, and a grieving young man’s arms blur and pixelate into geometric patterns. The figures in each piece seem to be unaware of the viewer, gazing off into the distance or attentive to the task at hand. Though his characters are anonymous, everyday people, Magee gives a sense of specificity and personality to each subject, from nuanced facial expressions and gestures to detailed depictions of apparel.
Magee is based in Brisbane, Australia, where he grew up. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Giffith University. He most recently completed murals with Kirk Gallery’s Out in the Open event in Denmark and the Vancouver Mural Festival. See more of Magee’s latest work on Instagram and if you enjoy Magee’s socially conscious portraits, also check out Pat Perry. (via Booooooom)
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In a new photographic series artist Ayana V. Jackson explores the colonial gaze and historical portraiture traditions. Figures, all played by Jackson herself, appear in classical poses, draped in fishing nets, glittering flip-flops, and elegant Western gowns of years past. Each figure is inspired by African and African Disaporic water spirits including Olokun, Mame Coumba bang, Kianda, Drexciya, Yenanja and Mamiwata.
A statement from Mariane Ibrahim Gallery explains, “Jackson has used the archival impulse to assess the impact of the colonial gaze on the history of photography and its relationship to ideas about the body. She uses her lens to deconstruct 19th and early 20th century portraiture as a means for questioning photography’s role in constructing identities.”
The artist, who is based between New York, Hong Kong, and Johannesburg, also had a solo show this year at David Klein Gallery in Detroit. Her work has been collected by the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Detroit Institute of Art, Museum of African Contemporary Art Al-Maaden in Marrakesh, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. Jackson was the 2018 recipient of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.
This body of work is on view from September 20 – October 26, 2019 in Jackson’s solo show, Take Me to the Water. The exhibition is at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, which recently relocated from Seattle to Chicago. See more of Jackson’s photography on her website and Instagram. (via Artsy)
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New York-based painter Robin F. Williams captures figures—often women—in powerful poses. Her canvases usually center on one figure, whose broad shoulders and dramatic gestures fill the frame. Williams works with a range of painting styles, including more gestural, layered techniques as well as building slick, flat fields of color. In an interview with Juxtapoz (she is also on the cover of their Summer 2019 issue), Williams shared her approach to creating her unique paintings:
I am interested in micro-expressions and how we read each other’s cues. There seems to be a lot of illiteracy around body language and not enough acknowledgment that non-verbal cues can be, and sometimes have to be, very complicated. I want to compress time in these paintings by using multiple markers within one piece, either through form or narrative. The goal is not to make a painting that feels timeless, but to make a painting that feels outside of time. It’s a way to discuss how images of women have consistently been so problematic.
Williams’ solo show, With Pleasure, recently opened at Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, and runs through October 26, 2019. In addition to creating her own work, the artist has been an adjunct faculty member at the School of Visual Arts since 2013. If you enjoy Williams’ intimate, dynamic approach to female portraiture, also check out Hope Gangloff and Kathryn Engberg. Follow along with Williams on Instagram. (via this isn’t happiness)
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