Polina Zioga’s piece Under the Surface interrupted my Wednesday afternoon doldrums, consisting of mind-numbing admin duties that creep up on you after weeks of neglect, and swept me off to a land where I became a Mermaid. A Mermaid Princess, if you will. In this beautiful underwater world that I created in my mind, I have all the state of the art materials to show off my new cloister. The pink seaweed marsh that I welcome my honorary fishy friends to swim through when entering the grounds is made of a fine material that comes from the Indian Ocean region, where the coral reefs are considered gold. Eco friendly, of course.
California-based artist Andrew Brandou draws from the children’s books, as well as the tripped-out, cult obsessed, disillusioned zeitgeist of the 70s when his early consciousness took shape. The storybook-ish quality of his works creates a sort of narrative of the tectonic shifts that have taken place in the psyche of an entire generation — anthropomorphic animals frolic in subtly Japanese-lacquer-inspired landscapes as gas-mask-wearing cops creep, grinning skulls loom, elevated freeways overwhelm the rising sun, and bloody murder scenes remain hidden just beyond the view of the paintings’ innocent subjects.
The work of Washington DC-artist Michael Dotson goes a ways to satisfying my insatiable colour sweet tooth. His work makes my eyes light up. Colour aside, Dotson’s cleanly simplified, geometric renderings of various spaces are a treat. Often abstract to the extent that it’s difficult to truly interpret the space, it ultimately leaves the imagination with something to chew on.
Though his colourful murals, installations, and drawings look playful and whimsical, at the heart of Fawad Khan’s work is a dark and complex political struggle with violence and identity that takes place through, on, and in, public vehicles. The New York-based artist was raised in Pakistan and speaks of being ridiculed when he was a child as he boarded a bus in Karachi for being born in Libya. The vehicles Khan renders and replicates are not only symbols of place and authority (the New York City cab and the US mail truck) and gathering places (public buses), but also have become weapons, as the constant news of car bombs reminds us every day.
Working out of Latvia, Riga, artist Ilgvars Zalans creates lush, vibrant pieces that are at once unsettling for their mashed up textures as they are eerily and awkwardly beautiful. Of his art, he says: ‘I focus on images and motifs that are fundamental, archetypal, and universal in human experience, as opposed to those that are socially determined’.
I recently stumbled across the beautiful work of Isreali artist Tal R in all it’s raw and colourful splendor. Rough, spontaneous texture, tapestry-like compositions, and artfully placed drips all come together within Tal’s folksy oeuvre. I can’t even really decide which I’m swooning over more — the Grosz-like paintings or his fantastically raw drawings.
Australian artist Claire Kurzmann creates bright, luminous work that reminds me of misspent childhood days down by the local candy store. Of her artwork, she says: ‘I’d try and draw realistic beings but they’d never work, they always looked odd. They turned out the same way each time. Then I realised that they looked actually […]
New York-based artist Xiaoqing Ding’s work draws from traditional Sung Dynasty scroll paintings as well as from more recent forms, her figures looking as much like the cherubic babies in festive Chinese New Year art (known as Nian Hua) as they do the sultry flappers in cigarette ads in 1930s Shanghai. Her images have an ethereal and slyly erotic quality, referencing Chinese mythology, pre-revolution film, and subtly personal narratives.
So I have this recurring dream. Well, not really a dream as such. More a footnote on the thesis on life; a ‘mental meandering’ where my mind flows to a secret place which only I and Paul McCartney can access.