surreal

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Art

Ornate Birds and Sea Creatures Spring to Life With Environmental Embellishments of Flowers and Foliage

October 19, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Ellen Jewett (previously) continues to create sculptures of animals from the land and sea, crafting realistic depictions with a surreal edge. Each porcelain creature features elaborate elements that connect the animal back to its natural environment—such as green leaves that sprout from the wings of a black cockatoo, or tiny yellow fish that are found along the spines of her ornately patterned seahorses.

After she forms each sea turtle, octopus, or fish from porcelain, Jewett free-models a wire armature by hand and coats the piece in polymer. This addition allows her to connect detailed elements such as flowers and other fauna to the animals fins or claws. Her solo exhibition On Wilderness is on view at the Ottawa School of Art’s Main Gallery in Ontario, Canada through November 18, 2018. Her work is also being exhibited in the group exhibition Nature Imagined at the Wilding Museum of Art and Nature in Solvang, California through January 2019. You can learn more about her process by following her work on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Rural Iceland Transformed Into A Rouge-Tinted World by Photographer Al Mefer

October 1, 2018

Anna Marks

Al Mefer transforms rural Iceland into a rouge-tinted world, producing images that make the area’s shrubbery look like candy floss, and moss-covered landscapes appear like red velvet cake. Mefer photographs a mixture of Icelandic topography, from iconic waterfalls to fields full of pink sheep. His photographs reveal the elements of the natural world that are often blurred into the background, such as the clustered patterns moss makes when growing on boulders, or how water froths was it spills over a waterfall.

Mefer’s project Dreamscapes of Iceland started while Mefer was traveling around the country with friends, and began to use a reflex camera to capture the country’s beautiful scenes. While exploring the Golden Circle, in the South of the country, Mefer photographed locations that would imprint an indelible memory upon him: Skógafoss’s waterfalls, cliffs and coastline, and Jökulsárlón’s glacial lake. “Iceland has been photographed a million times,” says Mefer, “I wanted to picture it in a way that it’d feel new yet as oneiric in the images as it is to see it live.”

The red and pink colors in Mefer’s photographs resemble the reddish hues inside the human body; the tones magnify the differences in texture and form between the living and non-living whilst having an emotional impact on the viewer. “Color affects us emotionally and I often focus my attention on it as a tool to rewrite reality,” he explains. Although some of Mefer’s photographs include people, a stillness is still captured in each photograph. “There’s a common trait among my projects to feel that the landscapes are mysterious and unexplored,” Mefer says. “They’re lonely even if populated.”

To view more of Mefer’s work visit his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Surreal Assemblages by Betsy Youngquist Combine Human Features with Beaded Animals

September 10, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Betsy Youngquist creates three-dimensional mixed media utilizing beadwork, crystals, and found doll parts like eyes, mouths, and hands. The elements merge to create surreal creatures that exist between human and animal, mixing animated facial features with long tentacles or hooves. For the works, Youngquist and her partner R. Scott Long first cut apart antique doll heads to determine what sort of animal the face might inspire. Next, Long sculpts a form for the sculpture and Youngquist adheres an assemblage of glass beads, stones, and eyes.

“History and the energy of times past are contained in old materials, in addition to bead color and bead variations that you can’t find among contemporary beads,” the artist explains about her decision to use vintage beads in her mosaic-like pieces. “While playing in my studio I love the intuitive dance of selection, when everything starts humming along and I know which bead choices to make. Beads as a material are ancient and primal. I love that about them. There is also definitely a meditative quality to working with beads.”

Youngquist runs the New Orleans-based Gallery Two with fellow artist Ann Marie Cianciolo, and has work in the exhibition Season of the Surreal at Patina Gallery in Sante Fe, New Mexico from November 2 and through December 2, 2018. You can see more of her beaded sculptures on her website and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Infrared Photographs by Pierre-Louis Ferrer Capture French Landscapes in Bright Yellow Hues

August 31, 2018

Anna Marks

In French photographer Pierre-Louis Ferrer’s vibrant photographs, Dordogne, France is transformed into an enchanted land bathed in canary yellow. Ferrer’s colorful photographs illustrate the country’s idyllic topography, where the leaves upon the trees, fresh grass, and sculpted shrubbery are captured in the same vivid color.

While photographing, Ferrer takes time to observe his environment and decide on the best photographic technique to use. For his Dordogne photographs, Ferrer used an infrared photography technique which allowed him to capture the landscape in brilliant yellows. “My artistic approach is based on the invisible and imperceptible,” Ferrer tells Colossal. “I work with invisible parts of light (infrared and ultraviolet) and with techniques like long exposure to offer alternative views of our world.”

This yellow effect in Ferrer’s Dordogne photographs is due to a mix of visible and infrared light, and each plant species appears different depending on how it reacts to the light. “I use a selective filter that let’s pass a large part of infrared light and a small part of visible light,” Ferrer explains. “The main subjects of this technique are trees and foliage because they react a lot under infrared light.”

Although yellow is prevalent in nature; found in bananas, autumnal leaves, egg yolks, and the irises of some animal’s eyes, in Ferrer’s photographs he standardizes all natural elements, highlighting the color’s prevalence in natural forms.

As human eyes are not used to infrared light (due to its longer wavelengths), Ferrer’s photographs invite viewers to see Dordogne as through they are in a different dimension. The extravagant Jardins Suspendus at Marqueyssac and its ivy-covered châteaux are transformed into an ethereal world that might otherwise only appear in paintings.

Although fantastical, Ferrer’s photographs encourage mindfulness and allow us to reflect upon the importance of nature. “My goals are to invite contemplation, to realize the place of nature in urban places, to make aware of the impact of our environment on us, and our impact on the environment.”

To view more about his work visit his website and Instagram.

 

 



Illustration

Multi-Dimensional Illustrations Weave Together Mysterious Narratives by Victo Ngai

July 18, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Los Angeles-based illustrator and storyboard artist Victo Ngai produces layered illustrations that reveal elaborate worlds filled with unexpected details. A beautiful expanse of unencumbered nature stands guarded inside a wide-mouthed bullfrog, while a seaside city burns with brilliant flames in the fabric of a heroine’s dress. Each scene inspires the viewer to pause, making sure they haven’t missed a key character that might unlock the work’s tangled narrative. Ngai is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and provides illustrations for clients such as The New York Times and The New Yorker. You can view more of her colorful artwork on Instagram and Behance. (via Booooooom)

 

 



Art

Quirky Portraits by Bill Mayer Imagine Flora and Fauna as High Society Humans

June 28, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Des Fleurs Qui Mordent

Fusing charming portraits of wildlife with the severe trappings of historical costume, Bill Mayer creates darkly fantastical worlds in his detailed gouache paintings. A frog poses in royal dress, a pearl-draped mouse looks ready for a ball amongst massive wedges of cheese, and a rhinoceros stands ready to defend his territory in a suit of armor. The accomplished illustrator lives in Decatur, Georgia and has had a long career as a commercial artist. In an interview with WOW X WOW, Mayer reflected on his concept development:

For me, the most important element of the painting is the concept. The medium you use is just a way of furthering that original concept or finding some elements that add an intelligence to the work. Most of the time I start with small thumbnails which help me sort out the basic visual, a starting place. It probably comes from years of commercial work where you have to show your ideas before you start on a piece… Sometimes I will pull a piece of acetate over a painting and try to figure out what was bothering me and try a few things. Sometimes I will scan them in and use Photoshop, try some things, then go back and paint that way.

The artist continues on to explain that he doesn’t draw much distinction between being an illustrator or a fine artist, and he has only recently begun to show his work in gallery settings. You can see more of Mayer’s vast portfolio, including commercial work and digital illustrations, on his website. (via Supersonic)

The Pathogen

Queen of the Flies

Tulip Head

Cheeseball  

Tortoise and Hare

Land of Plenty (left), The Warrior No. 2 (right)

The Black Sun

Winter’s Muse

 

 



Art Illustration

Fantastical Swirls of Strange Hybrid Creatures Fill Vorja Sánchez’s New Illustrations

June 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Insomnia

Spanish illustrator Vorja Sánchez (previously) continues to plumb his imagination to create wildly original drawings and paintings. Constellations of real and invented wildlife, plants, and mysterious critters that seem to be a combination of the two, coexist in the artist’s colorful multi-media illustrations. Sánchez shares his work on Instagram and Facebook, where he also provides details on works for sale and updates on collaborative projects and murals.

Insomnia (detail)

Mediterranean Insects

Mediterranean Insects (detail)

Seaheart

Winter Stroll

Serenity of the Organic Chaos 

La Cosecha

(Untitled)

Invisible Boat (detail)