surreal

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Art

Playfully Surreal Scenarios Emerge from Innumerable Acrylic Dots in Quint Buchholz’s Paintings

August 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Quint Buchholz, shared with permission

When viewing the uncanny scenes of Munich-based artist Quint Buchholz, it’s evident that play, experimentation, and exploring the uncharted are central tenets of his practice: a string quintet precariously balances above the sea, sightseers take advantage of the view atop a giant man, and a pigeon doubles as an apartment complex.

Each piece toys with scale and sensibility, and Buchholz enlarges some characters to preposterous sizes while positioning others in strange, seemingly impossible situations. “I enjoy the various possibilities that emerge when you reflect on the world and on your own life and move beyond the boundaries of what we believe is real,” he shares. “For me, the notion of play, of trying things out is a central element in art. And playing in this way opens up many unexpected doors.”

Painted with brushes in various sizes on paper or cardboard, the grainy texture present in the works evokes pointillism or film photography, the latter of which Buchholz says was an early inspiration. The dotted effect is also “a way of connecting the very calm character of my painting technique with a structure that was still lively,” he says, noting that the style also “lifts (the characters) out of known reality, maybe into a different mode of reflecting and associating.”

The artist will open a solo exhibition at KunstRaum Heilsbronn this October, and he has a number of prints available through Beuteltier Art Galerie. Find more of his surreal paintings on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Humor Infuses Exaggerated Features in Lola Dupre’s Meticulously Distorted Collages

August 17, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Randy 3,” 8.2 x 11.6 inches. All images © Lola Dupre, shared with permission

Glasgow-based artist Lola Dupre’s evocative and often humorous photographic collages of animals, historic images, and portraits tap into the unique personalities and emotions of her subjects. A cross-eyed cat has its vision multiplied, and a Shiba Inu’s joyful face pokes out of an enormous body in a play on repetition and perception. Dupre captures a range of expressions in both human and animal form (previously), exaggerating a raised eyebrow or fuzzy paw by layering numerous pieces of paper to extend legs, arm, eyes, and other features.

Dupre’s work will be included in Division of Birds at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia, and you can find more pieces on her website, Behance, and Instagram.

 

“Andromeda,” 11.6 x 8.2 inches

“Hercules,” 11.6 x 8.2 inches

Left: “Toni,” 8.2 x 11.6 inches, from original photography by Dacefer. Right: “David,” 8.2 x 11.6 inches, from original photography by David Sierra

“Fluffy,” 8.2 x 11.6 inches

“Ivor, After Walter Chandoha,” 11.6 x 8.2 inches

“Mari,” 8.2 x 11.6 inches, from original photography by Laerke Rose

Left: “Melange,” 8.2 x 11.6 inches. Right: “Mia,” 8.2 x 11.6 inches, from original photography by Arsalan Danish

 

 



Art Illustration

In Graham Franciose’s ‘Morning Coffee Paintings,’ Dreamlike Watercolor Works Capture the Day’s Unmediated Emotion

August 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

Day 75, “Always There, Always Changing.” All images © Graham Franciose, shared with permission

Many days, artist and illustrator Graham Franciose sits down with watercolor, gouache, and a small sheet of cotton paper to paint a whimsical scene or surreal moment. A skateboarder carries a tree in a backpack, an anxious figure peeks through a colorful monster mask, and an oversized lion snarls at an approaching man. “I like to do these first thing in the morning when I am still not fully awake and start with a blank slate and no preconceived idea,” he tells Colossal.

Dreamlike in style and subject matter, the works are part of an ongoing series simply titled Morning Coffee Paintings. Since Franciose began the ritualistic project in 2019, he’s created about 450 pieces, which reflect a range of moods through mysterious scenarios and quiet, contemplative figures. “I put my phone on the tripod and start the timelapse camera and just start drawing.  I’ve noticed that by filming them it keeps me from second-guessing myself or spending too much time deliberating about choices like color or composition and forces me to just trust myself and my practice,” he shares.

An exercise in experimentation and releasing perfectionism, the paintings are also a visual diary of the artist’s practice and unfiltered emotional states. “Sometimes recurring themes, symbols, or concepts will come up in different ways, and they do evolve and change over time,” he says.

Franciose is currently based in Seattle where he runs Get Nice. Gallery. There are still a few of July’s original paintings available on the series’ site, and you can shop prints at Sebastian Foster, Austin Art Garage, and Bloom. If you’re in New Hampshire, you can see some of his pieces in the Enormous Tiny Art #33 at Nahcotta Gallery early next year. Otherwise, follow him on Instagram for updates on new paintings.

 

Day 76, “How to Be Brave”

Day 78, “Shroom Shade”

Left: Day 66, “You Haven’t Even Mentioned My New Hat.” Right: Day 26, “You Can Take It With You”

Day 47, “Defense”

Left: Day 52, “Onward.” Right: Day 68, “What Your Rings Will Reveal”

Day 71, “Not Rowing Just Going with the Flowing”

Day 23, “What Was and What Will Be”

 

 



Photography

Bewildering Inconveniences Trap Subjects in Uncomfortable Scenarios in Ben Zank’s Surreal Photography

August 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Some people live on the block, I just live under it.” All images © Ben Zank, shared with permission

The ordinary collides with the bizarre in Ben Zank’s photography. Set on the street, on construction sites, or in grassy fields, his surreal images capture subjects in unequivocally inconvenient positions: A businessman finds himself trapped under a concrete block, a wood pile stacks atop one figure, and another precariously grasps the edge of a sinkhole. Often hiding their faces behind barriers or through a distinctly avoidant turn of the head, Zank anonymizes his subjects, making their awkward predicaments appear all the more inevitable and bound to happen to unassuming passersby.

Find an archive of the New York City-based photographer’s strange situations on Instagram and Twitter.

 

“Blocked”

“Stay alert”

“Logical thinking”

“The Last Grasstronaut”

“I think I’m falling for you”

Left: “Caught on tape.” Right: “Mixed signals”

“Moonwalker”

 

 



Illustration

Digital Collages by Beto Val Splice Vintage Illustrations into Surreal Hybrid Creatures

July 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Beto Val, shared with permission

Ecuadorian artist Beto Val alchemizes vintage illustrations into bizarre compositions that blend fruits with fowl and aquatic life with land animals. Using imagery available through the public domain, Val cuts and repositions fins, wings, and scaly talons into surreal creatures: round owl faces peer out from pineapples, autumn leaves sprout from tropical birds, and a rendering evocative of a biological chart displays fish with bodies made of strawberries, brains, and an early, industrial locomotive. Blending the analog illustrations with the artist’s digital manipulations, the collages encompass a range of characters from the whimsical to the absurd.

Val offers prints and other goods in his shop, and his book, The Great Book of the Imaginary Animal Kingdom, is available from Bookshop. You can follow the strange hybrids he dreams up next on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Mystery and Disquieting Stillness Pervade the Surreal, Conceptual Photos by Oleg Oprisco

July 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Oleg Oprisco, shared with permission

Throughout Russia’s war, photographer Oleg Oprisco (previously) has remained in his native Ukraine creating works that reflect the unjust aggression and its devastating effects. Oprisco is known for his conceptual shots that involve elaborately constructed props and scenes that capture his distinct sense of surreality. Relying on neutrals and subdued tones rather than a bold color palette, the mysterious, dreamlike images tend to center on a single figure within a quiet and unoccupied landscape.

In one recent photo directly addressing the war, a woman stands in the center of a deserted cobblestone street, her architectural backpack glowing with light. The poignant shot references the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and a similar image of a figure sheltering a dog from the rain speaks to the countless animals now struggling to survive without their human companions.

All of Oprisco’s works are available as prints. For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his process and sets, check out his Instagram.