San Antonio-based artist Jason Limon (previously) conjures paper sculptures of 18th Century-style gowns, organs, and hollowed skulls with acrylic paint. The uncanny structures trap his recurring skeletal characters in cramped boxes and funhouse-esque constructions, where they attempt to disentangle themselves from their surroundings. Rendered in muted pigments, or what the artist calls “repressed tones,” the paintings utilize the anonymity and ubiquity of the bony figures to invoke emotional narratives. Limon explains:
Paper allows us to know the stories of the past, and I’ve always been drawn to that notion… I use paper to build the shapes to tell my thoughts. In most instances, I will use box-like or folded paper shapes, but more recently I want to explore the insides of these containers to see what complexities I might find.
The pieces shown here are part of Limon’s ongoing Fragments series and are part of Stripped Down on view through June 5 at Haven Gallery in Long Island. Limon also has another solo show slated for November at San Antonio’s BLK WHT GRY, and until then, you can browse originals and prints in his shop and follow his works on Instagram.
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An exhibition now on view at ICA Miami samples the recurring themes and motifs that are central to artist Hugh Hayden’s body of work: twisting flames spout from a wooden Adirondack chair and spindly twigs envelop a massive skeleton carved from bald cypress trees, two works that evoke the Dallas native’s barbed furniture and embedded branch designs. In a suspended installation comprised of metallic instruments and pots, faces mimicking traditional African masks emerge from copper cookware similar to the cast iron skillets he presented last year.
The metaphorical new pieces comprise Boogey Men, Hayden’s solo show that responds to myriad social dynamics, cultural issues, and an increasingly tense political environment through imposing, anthropomorphic forms and more subtle works. At the center of the exhibition space is a hammered stainless steel car disguised by a sheet painted in white. Both cartoonish and sinister in its reference to hooded Klansmen, the titular sculpture is an effective indictment of police brutality. Hayden gives attention to the origins of facets of American culture in the pieces that surround that central work, alluding to jazz and culinary traditions.
Boogey Men is on view in Miami through April 17, 2022, before it travels to the Blaffer Art Museum for a stay from June 11 to August 21. You can find more of Hayden’s work and view the process behind many of the pieces shown here on his Instagram.
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Brooklyn-based artist Guno Park evokes the tradition of memento mori with an exquisite new drawing highlighting the precarious line between life and death. Titled “Nature of Things,” the meticulously crosshatched piece rendered in graphite stands at a striking 85 inches, portraying the oversized human figure with botanicals winding around its spinal column and through its chest. “Putting the skeleton together with vine, leaves, and flowers represents for me the power of nature and its inevitability of continuum. I find comfort in nature,” the artist says.
Park shares that although skulls and bones are common subject matter, he relegated most to his sketchbook until magnifying the concept a few months into the pandemic. “This drawing has been a journey —as many drawings are—that started a little more than a year ago…I think our whole world was reminded of how close death can be, and I had a constant reminder of it on the news and media,” he says.
In addition to his studio practice, Park teaches drawing at The New York Academy of Art, ArtCenter, and New York Film Academy, and you can see more of his figurative drawings on Instagram.
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In his ongoing Fragments series, San Antonio-based artist Jason Limon (previously) uses muted jewel and earth tones to paint uncanny scenarios for his recurring skeleton figure. The bony subject finds itself in a variety of bizarre situations, whether bursting from a tube of paint, orchestrating a puppet show with a pair of ornate paper hands, or nervously awaiting an encroaching fire. Often set against backdrops filled with multi-colored dabs of paint, his small pieces are imbued with a sense of creative problem-solving as he traps figures in scenes with boxes of pencils, scuffed erasers, and other craft supplies.
Although skeletons are typically tied to ideas of death and afterlife, Limon sees the anatomical subject as a universal image that allows him “to portray a thought, feeling or idea without the identity of the figure getting in the way,” although he tends to pair the ubiquitous form with actions and environments that are tied to his personal life. “My biggest concern has always been what’s been going on around closest to me and that is my family. Things were not so easy growing up in our family, and these days we’ve been able to get closer and help each other out,” he shares.
Originals, prints, and a few wearables are available in Limon’s shop, and you have a few chances to see his unearthly works in the coming months: at the LA Art Show from July 29 to August 1, at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica in September and October, and at Long Island’s Haven Gallery in April 2022. Until then, head to Instagram for an extensive archive of his pieces.
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Vibrant Skeletal Interpretations of Celebrities and Fashion Icons Define Bradley Theodore’s Paintings
Energetic brushstrokes, chromatic colors, and the skeletons of pop culture icons make up the prolific work of Miami-based artist Bradley Theodore. His bold use of color is inspired by his roots in Turks and Caicos and the fashionable subjects he’s met in New York and Miami.
The skeletal theme represents something far from morbid. Theodore explained to Omeleto in his documentary Becoming: Bradley Theodore, “a skull for me represents a symbol of a person’s spirit. It’s like I’m wrapping someone’s soul around their skeletal system.” Theodore finds a middle layer of vibrancy that serves as a source of unity.
Theodore is a self-taught painter learning primarily from YouTube and by analyzing the techniques of famous artists, like Salvador Dalí. The artistic practice came from a particularly dark period in his life where he decided that rather than be consumed by darkness, he would metamorphose through art. Theodore spent a year in near-total isolation obsessively painting—so much so that he injured his shoulder from repetitive motion.
Theodore emerged from isolation and painted an outdoor mural of fashion icons Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld together to honor their long-term friendship. The debut went viral and remains one of the artist’s most iconic pieces.
Since then, Theodore has depicted some of the most recognizable icons from fashion, music, celebrity, and history, including Tom Ford, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Kate Moss, Prince, Cara Delevingne, and Queen Elizabeth. His murals can be spotted on the streets of major cities, like Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Oslo, and Paris.
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In an effort to make his otherworldy works more accessible, San Antonio-based artist Jason Limon began creating a substantial collection of small paintings in 2008. Today, Limon continues to add to his Fragments series, which centers on skeletal figures and anatomical forms that often feature stripes, polka dots, and other intricate patterns. His anthropomorphic works indicate movement, like a tube of bone cream that oozes out a skeleton or another character who drives a metal spear through a cracked heart.
With a focused color palette of muted jewel tones and neutrals, Limon’s uncanny projects largely consider how history pervades daily life. “Within the elements that surround us every day are bits of someone else—a record of thoughts made up of color, typography and symbols marked onto paper and metal to represent products throughout time,” he said in a statement.
The artist tells Colossal that Fragments feels especially personal and serves as an exploration of ideas that often turn into larger projects. “I will sometimes have some of these smaller pieces in gallery shows, but for the most part they are a direct connection between me and the collectors,” he says. “I often hear them tell me that the piece struck a chord on how they are feeling or how it relates to their past.”
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Editor's Picks: History
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.