Artist Monica Rohan combines elements of realism and fantasy to create works that are as beautiful as they are alluring. They’re inspired by a “rural-idyll of a childhood in South East Queensland” and 19th century novels. Each contemplates the genre of autobiography, using this form of mysterious self portraiture to do so. Here, the figures’ faces are obscured by colorful blooms, tall grass, and patterned fabrics. Though they’re partially grounded in some sort of space, the area around the subjects is empty, giving us the feeling that these people are floating in some sort of abyss.
Saddo is an Romanian artist whose career has switched gears. Starting out as a muralist, his style was was noticed by advertising agencies and galleries in cities around the world.
Saddo’s visual language has many disparate influences, including horror movie posters, comics, Hieronymus Bosch, Henri Rousseau, naturalistic illustrations of plants and animals, pop surrealism, and religion. Wow! This is reflected in his paintings and illustrations, which feature realistically-formed figures that are often in busy, lusciously-colored scenes.
If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you might remember when this artist collaborated with Aitch on Memory. Check it out—it’s my favorite iteration of the classic card game.
Using an X-Acto knife and some careful cutting, Ukraine-based artist Eugenia Zoloto creates intricate silhouettes out of twisting vines, beautiful blooms, and winged insects. The large, lacy portraits—around 15 inches by 11 inches—look stunning against a range of backdrops (check out the vibrant green grass, below). Some of them are now available in Eugenia’s Etsy shop, where you can frame them however you like.
I’m a long time fan of Kate Pugsley’s paintings and illustrations. They feature a fantastic mix of styles, riding a fine line between realism, fantasy, and abstraction—it’s what makes her compositions so memorable. My favorite pieces involve figures in flattened landscapes where the trees and plants are stylized versions of palms and cacti. I find them both aesthetically pleasing and conceptually interesting—what will happen to these heroines?!
Kate sells prints and originals in her online shop. And fans of Instagram—don’t forget to give her IG a follow! It’s a favorite of mine.
Collage artists—need some inspiration? Here are some of Kate’s scraps:
Brooklyn-based artist Keri Oldham has recently opened her latest solo exhibition at Kirk Hopper Fine Art in Dallas, Texas. Entitled Labyrinth, her beautiful watercolor paintings are an allegorical series that’s inspired by the 1980 cult-classic film, as well as the ancient myth of the Minotaur.
The gallery describes the work in Keri’s show as combining “images of demons and warriors with tragic figures and victorious ones. With armored women at its center, these pieces spin a new story on Theseus entering the maze and confronting the beast within.” The alluring pieces fuse medieval beasts with fashion and fantasy, representing inner turmoil and desires the many of us feel—to find meaning and success in our adult lives.
I love both the concept of Labyrinth and the style of Keri’s at-times grotesque paintings. They’re created with pigment, graphite, and applied paper pulp, adding these brilliant textures to her dizzying colors and patterns.
If you’re in Dallas, check out her exhibition! It’s up until November 14 of this year.
Artist Jennifer Angus has created an installation that might gross you out, but it’s sure to fascinate you! Called In the Garden, she has wallpapered a hot pink-painted room with a gorgeous textured pattern that comprises 5,000 (!!) bugs. She collected the critters from southeast Asia and arranged them on the wall with their natural coloring intact—think iridescent greens, blues, and pearly mauves. The creatures form skull shapes and other decorative motifs and take over a room in the newly-renovated Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. (This space officially opens on November 13.)
Jennifer’s piece is one of nine artworks in Wonder, the inaugural exhibition of the Renwick Gallery. In addition to her bugs, the other artists will each occupy a different gallery in the building and turn their space into a room-size installation. I’m not far from its location in Washington, DC, so I’m going to pop in one weekend and check it out. Fun! (Via designboom)
Are you superstitious? As a kid, I was, but as an adult—not so much. Russian illustrator Natalia Yamshchikova created a series of beautiful plywood paintings that pay homage to these unjustified beliefs. They sound silly now, but just think back to your childhood. Would you have believed any of these? I probably would have! Maybe that just makes me gullible…
If you throw your cut hair away birds will pick up it, build a nest, and give you a headache.
One hundred mosquito bites will lead to your death.
If you swallow a whole sunflower seed it will sprout in your belly.
If you yawn at your reflection in the mirror you will ruin your beauty.
If you look at the moon long enough you’ll become a lunatic.
Above: included in Coordinate Disregard
This past weekend, I went to the opening of Coordinate Disregard at the Terrault Contemporary in Baltimore. There, I saw the work Brooklyn-based fiber artist Alicia Scardetta, who I’ve been following on Instagram but hadn’t before seen her colorful weavings in person. And let me tell you, they are awesome. Intricate and jubilant, they combine a variety of weaving techniques and are “part tapestry, part friendship bracelet.”
To produce these meticulous pieces, Alicia uses frame tapestry looms and creates parameters for each weaving. Through this, she explores the possibilities and limitations of the “grid structure that forms woven textiles.” The process isn’t unlike illustration. In both fields, there are guidelines you must operate within, and part of the challenge is figuring out how to let your artistic voice shine.
If you’re local to Charm City, make sure you check out Coordinate Disregard. It’s up until September 26 and in addition to Alicia, includes work by: Randall Lear, Elissa Levy, Gabriel Luis Perez, and Curtis Miller. Plus, it’s curated by my pal Amy Boone-McCreesh, who is also an amazing artist!
Fun fact: I found Rebekah Miles’ work totally by chance. I was Googling someone of the same name, and her Instagram popped up as one of the top results. Thinking she was that someone else, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a portrait of Reba McEntire and June Carter.
Rebekah creates faux book covers in the same gestural style as her portraits. Describing this on-going project, she writes:
I paint one-of-a-kind book jackets on specific artists, photographers, and some literature. The selected books are a reference to art history and the art of libraries. I choose an image to paint for a cover illustration based on qualities such as poignancy and visual graphics. If the book is not illustrated, I find an image that is complementary to its contents.
Rebekah also makes ceramics. They are, as she describes, “interpretations of images that appeal to a sense of place and beauty, such as an antique loteria set (Mexican bingo) from the 1800’s, a seed savers exchange catalogue, and a California native plant identification book.”
Using acrylic, gouache, and watercolor pigments, Laura Garcia Serventi paints the plant collections I wish I had. The colorful scenes feature tall succulents and flowering cacti, neatly potted and sitting on a geometric floor. They’re healthy and flourishing, which is more than I can say for some of the plants in my apartment.
Purchase these images as prints in Laura’s Etsy shop!