surreal

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Art Food

In ‘Blow Out,’ Artist Genesis Belanger Lures the Uncanny and Anxious Out of Everyday Objects

October 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

Installation views of ‘Blow Out’ (2022). All images by Pauline Shapiro, courtesy of Perrotin, shared with permission

Described as fostering “a sense of lobotomized capitalist productivity,” artist Genesis Belanger coaxes tension from the mundane. Her stoneware sculptures are at once disconcerting and commonplace, depicting the uncanny remnants of a dinner party, medical furniture draped with lanky, limp limbs, and a discount shop hawking carved oranges, a half-eaten cookie, and apples chewed to their cores.

More elaborate than her previous works, Belanger’s newest tableaus are similarly dramatic in subject matter while soft and subtle in visual tone—rather than glazing the ceramic sculptures, she blends powdered pigments into the material itself with a kitchen mixer, a practice that allows her to achieve her signature muted effect. A trio of the artist’s surrealist installations is now on view at Perrotin as part of Blow Out, a solo show that delights in strange theatrics and unobtrusive malice. Detached body parts reside on tables and store shelves in a manner that’s tinged with sexuality, while objects like picnic blankets and tipped bowls appear on the brink of movement. Suspense pervades the otherwise still scenes, exposing the anxiety and fantasy hidden in the banal.

If you’re in Paris, visit Perrotin before December 17 to see the disquieting works in person. Otherwise, find more from Belanger on Instagram.

 

 

 

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Art Illustration

Vintage Illustrations of Flora and Fauna Are Superimposed into Surreal Portraits by MUMI

October 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © MUMI, shared with permission

Feathers, flowers, leaves, and the human muscular system are spliced into an eclectic camouflage in MUMI’s surreal portraits. From vintage encyclopedias, magazines, and art historical paintings, the Argentinian artist cuts and layers images into compositions that vacillate between the whimsical and the bizarre. Led by a larger narrative, the collages commingle styles, eras, colors, and textures into disorienting portraits, all spurred by the artist’s desire to experiment. “I truly enjoy the organic process in which I let myself go freely,” MUMI shares. “There are endless possibilities when I cut an image. I take it out of its context, its direct meaning, or its origin, and I give it a new surreal environment.”

Prints are available from Society6, and you can find an archive of her fantastic works on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Vintage Cameras Focus on the Surveillance of Modern Life in Jeff Bartels’s Uncanny Paintings

October 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Surveillance Speed Graphic” (2021), oil on linen, 30 x 30 inches. All images © Jeff Bartels, shared with permission

“I’m not sure it’s possible to walk down a city street these days and not be caught on a camera somewhere, either by choice or not even knowing about it.” This idea grounds Surveillance, a series of uncanny paintings in oil by Canadian artist Jeff Bartels. Situated in urban settings with a distinctly retro flair, the works nestle vintage cameras among architecture and infrastructural elements. Oversized lenses, knobs, and levers echo the shapes of windows and doorways with branding imitating signs for shops and restaurants.

Sandwiching the devices between cafes and storefronts or subway stairs, Bartels explores the ubiquity of cameras and how they’re embedded into modern life. “If you look at the people in the paintings, none of them are doing anything particularly noteworthy or interesting. They are all just living their lives in front of a camera, some by choice, some oblivious to that fact,” he shares, noting that the surreal scenes aren’t intended to be altogether sinister. Privacy concerns aside, the paintings also speak to the increased prevalence of photographs and the ability to document and share even the most mundane moments on social media.

In addition to the cameras that feature heavily in Surveillance, the Toronto-based artist has placed other technologies like cassette tapes and stereos among his street-side scenes. See some of those works below, and find more on Instagram.

 

“Surveillance Target Six-16” (2021), oil on linen, 22 x 14 inches

“Surveillance Yashica” (2021), oil on linen, 24 x 20 inches

“Surveillance Rolleiflex” (2021), oil on linen, 24 x 30 inches

“Surveillance Electric Eye” (2021), oil on linen, 30 x 20 inches

“Surveillance C16” (2022), oil on linen, 24 x 20 inches

In reference to the song “Grace, Too” by The Tragically Hip

“Post and Truth” (2021), oil on linen, 30 x 40 inches

 

 



Illustration

Dense Dotwork Adds Grainy Texture to Velco’s Lighthearted Monochromatic Tattoos

September 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Velco, shared with permission

Pereira, Colombia-born artist Velco stipples black-and-white tattoos that are patchwork compositions of dots. A densely inked patch might form a snoozing koala’s ear or human silhouette, while a fading gradient composes the steam emanating from a moka pot. Lighthearted and often evoking the surreal, the works are derived from conversations with clients and the artist’s interactions with the world. “The window frames that I’ve been designing and tattooing have been exactly that, a portal to another reality. And it’s beautiful to know that there are now multiple portals wandering around the world providing us with glances to other universes,” he shares.

After beginning his tattoo practice by working primarily with fine lines, Velco has shifted to the dotted style that now dominates his work. “The effect gave me the feel of the beautiful vintage, grainy texture in images captured with a film camera, and since then, I’ve been working on designs where I can integrate this effect,” he shares. “To create the graininess that we see on the tattoos, I swing/whip the machine at a slightly fast pace, yet very delicately, on the skin while using a fine line needle and lowering the voltage of the machine, causing the needle to come out at a slower rate.”

Velco works out of the Velours studio space in Montréal, which also has one of his prints in stock. Follow him on Instagram for his latest works and information on available bookings.

 

 

 



Art

Bound by Cord, the Women of Arghavan Khosravi’s Paintings Exemplify the Borderless Fight for Equality

August 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Miraj (2),” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, elastic cord, 120 x 80 x 6 centimeters. All images © Arghavan Khosravi, shared with permission

Through layered, mixed-media paintings, Iranian artist Arghavan Khosravi (previously) alludes to the multivalent effects of losing freedom and human rights. Elastic cord binds her protagonists to their own limbs or surroundings, their individual characteristics partially concealed or fragmented as a result of restriction. Her subjects are often women who are confined to domestic spaces, hidden behind painted wooden panels, or physically tied to a situation or person.

Working in vibrant, saturated colors, Khosravi blends surreal imagery with the motifs of Persian textiles and architecture. The artist tells Colossal that although she still grounds her work in her experiences in Iran, she’s begun to broaden the conceptual aspects of her practice. “My goal is to have a more universal approach so women coming from different countries, cultures, and generations can relate to the paintings. The fight for gender equality is universal, and there is still a long road ahead of us,” she says.

Khosravi has a limited-edition print available through Art for Change, and her first institutional show is up through September 5 at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. She opens a solo exhibition at Rockefeller Center on September 6 and has another slated for later this year at Stems Gallery in Belgium. Until then, find more of her work on Instagram.

 

“The Castle,” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, elastic cord, 105 x 80 x 6 centimeters

“The Pomegranate Garden,” acrylic on canvas mounted on shaped wood panels, 74 x 57 x 8 inches

“Dreaming,” acrylic on canvas, wood panel, 121 x 121 x 4 centimeters

“The Stage,” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, polyester rope, fifteen parts, 200 x 120 x 3 centimeters

“The Garden,” acrylic on canvas mounted on shaped wood panels, 59 x 71 x 6 inches

“The Curtain,” acrylic on canvas, wood panels, Plexiglas, polyester rope, 61 x 120 x 10 centimeters, 99 x 77 x 7 centimeters

 

 



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.