surreal

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Art Illustration

Graphite Portraits Distort and Intertwine Subjects to Visualize Metaphors of the Body

April 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Miles Johnston, shared with permission

Malmö, Sweden-based artist Miles Johnston portrays subjects whose figures are in states of flux, whether through fragmented bodies, multiplied faces, or limbs contorted into impossible positions. Often depicting Johnston (previously) or his partner, the graphite portraits distort typical anatomy in a way that balances the familiar with the unknown and visualizes the thoughts and emotions otherwise hidden inside the mind.

Whether set against a trippy backdrop or quiet beach, each piece portrays the experience of the body “through a kind of internal metaphorical language,” the artist says. He explains further:

We don’t directly experience the actual biochemical facts of what is happening in our bodies, hormones secreting, weird little proteins and neurons doing whatever it is they do. Instead, we have a whole language of expressions like stomach tied up in knots, feeling empty, torn in two, burning with anger, etc… I’m aiming for this sort of naive direct representation of what things feel like instead of a literal representation of how they look from the outside.

Keep an eye on Johnston’s site and Instagram for news on upcoming print releases and his latest works.

 

 

 



Art

Ironic Compositions Juxtapose Outlandish Scenarios in Paco Pomet's New Paintings

April 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

“The Lesson” (2020), oil on canvas, 130 x 170 centimeters. All images © Paco Pomet, shared with permission

In Beginnings, Spanish artist Paco Pomet (previously) visualizes a series of jarring and absurd scenarios born out of an equally concerning event. He juxtaposes disparate elements—a mushroom cloud erupting in a classroom, women cavalierly poking at a tabletop sunrise, a mountain range lying on an operating table—in a series of satirical commentaries infused with pop culture references and nods to art history.

Generally contrasting a black-and-white scene with a recurring, full-color sunrise or sunset, Pomet’s compositions merge time periods and situations to mark the start of a new reality, a broad theme tied to the current moment. “Romanticism with a twist of irony is a very powerful visual engine,” he says about the series.

If you’re in Santa Monica, Beginnings is on view through May 8 at Richard Heller Gallery. Otherwise, find more of Pomet’s humorous and bizarre compositions on Artsy and Instagram.

 

“Little Big Grief” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 66 9/10 inches

“Hesperides” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 66 9/10 inches

“Melancholy School” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 59 1/10 inches

“The Art of Scaling” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 59 1/10 inches

“Headstrong” (2020), oil on canvas, 23 3/5 × 28 7/10 inches

“Classicism” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 × 73 inches

“Das Erhabene Büro (diptych)” (2020), oil on canvas, 59 1/10 × 102 2/5 inches

 

 

 



Animation Art

An Uncanny Animated Short by Fernando Livschitz Twists Mundane Scenes into Bizarre Alternatives

April 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

Argentinian director Fernando Livschitz (previously), who helms Black Sheep Films, is back with a surreal short film that envisions everyday activities and scenes with a slightly unsettling spin. Infused with Livschitz’s distinct penchant for humor and absurdity, “Anywhere Can Happen” is set to a rendition of “What a Wonderful World” by Reuben and the Dark and AG and descends into an uncanny universe of galactic rollercoasters, dimension-traveling trains, and oversized hands keen on manipulating the landscape. Watch the animated short above, and find more of Livschitz’s cleverly bizarre projects on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Faces and Fingers Glazed in Celadon Emerge from Surreal Vessels by Canopic Studio

March 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Canopic Studio, shared with permission

Disembodied faces and fingers encircle the surreal vessels created by Canopic Studio, a Los Angeles-based practice helmed by Claire and Curran Wedner. Known for their ceramics that display human anatomy in a repetitious pattern, the husband and wife recently diverged from the black-and-white works previously mentioned on Colossal to create a series entirely in celadon, a jade color with a rich history.

The translucent glaze originated in China and was prominent throughout the country for centuries before being replaced by blue-and-white porcelain. It’s traditionally made with a bit of iron oxide—too little creates a blue color, while too much produces a darker olive or black—and then fired in a reducing kiln at a high temperature.

Curran says he first experimented with the glaze in 2004 as part of a ceramics class and returned to it now after researching cone 10 gas firing and reduction, or the process of decreasing oxygen in the kiln. The resulting pieces shift in color with the light, a trait that dovetails with the studio’s interest in mutable identities and idiosyncrasies that shows up in the shape of their works.

Pieces are created using the same mold to produce similar, but not identical, body parts. When attached in rows on the mug or bowl, the single face or finger becomes one of many, each defined by its slight difference. “I’m interested in identity and how it shifts when we go from being alone to being a part of a crowd,” Curran says. He explains:

I like prodding that space in between, where identity feels almost pliable or molten, then hardens, then shifts again, and so on. When the face I’m using is pulled from a single mold, it has a surreal quality—so identical it’s almost eerie, and all the tiny flaws and differences come forward when they otherwise wouldn’t.

Right now, Canopic Studio is in the process of creating a line of face medallions finished with 22 karat gold. The duo list new pieces bi-monthly on Etsy, and you can keep an eye out for shop updates and see works-in-progress on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Photography

New Perspective-Bending Collages by Lola Dupré Distort and Reconfigure Pets and Portraits

March 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Cleo” (2020), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. All images © Lola Dupré, shared with permission

Glasgow-based artist Lola Dupré (previously) continues her practice of slicing and rearranging photographs and art historical works into cleverly surreal collages. Her newest manipulations include a blockheaded Léon Bonnat, an entire row of irresistible puppy eyes, and a twisted rendition of George Stubbs’s “The Kongouro from New Holland.” Dupré’s cat, Charlie, still finds himself as fodder for the unusual works—see two pieces centered on him below—and the artist is currently in the process of creating her 33rd portrait of the orange-and-white feline. Find more of the Dupré’s compositions in the latest issue of Standart Magazine, shop originals and prints on her site, and see the distorted works in person at Portland’s Brassworks Gallery later this year. You also can follow along with the contorted creations on Instagram and Behance.

 

“Kayack” (2020), 11.6 x 8.2 inches

“Roo after Stubbs” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches

Left: “After Leon Bonnat” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. Right: “The Community” (2020), 8.2 x 11.6 inches

“Charlie 32” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches

“Hardy” (2020), 16.5 x 11.5 inches

Left: “Cat after Nathaniel Currier” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. Right: “Rand” (2021), 11.5 x 16.5 inches

“Charlie 31” (2021), 11.6 x 8.2 inches

 

 



Photography

Contorted Limbs and Bodies Disrupt the Mundane in Surreal Photographs by Cristina Coral

February 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Cristina Coral, shared with permission

Photographer Cristina Coral has an eye for subtle alterations that transform seemingly ordinary scenes into surreal images brimming with illusion. Often centered on a solitary woman, the conceptual photographs rely on texture, pattern, and the figures’ contorted poses. A limp hand protrudes from a bush, strawberry locks drape over a brocade couch, and a teacup precariously balances on a pair of feet.

Coral, who is based in Italy but frequently travels to Germany and Slovenia, currently is working on a project based on memory and what’s forgotten. The mixed-media works, some of which she’s shared on Instagram, fuse photographs and textiles in a way that allows portions of the original image to peek through.

If you’re in Paris, Coral’s deftly composed works will be included in a group exhibition at the Decorative Arts Museum this summer. Until then, take a virtual tour of the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition, which includes a few of Coral’s pieces, and explore hundreds of her photographs on her site.