When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Allison Sommers

Here's another artist who falls more or less into a category I've come to know as Pop surrealism. It's a world that falls somewhere in a kind of no man's land between fantasy illustration and fine art. Personally I love it. And there are some really fine galleries popping up in major art markets dedicated to it. Allison Sommers mines a vein of very dark, sometimes grotesque humor in this field. She has a cast of recurring characters including the greenish long-necked guys in the first two pieces here. This sense of an ongoing mythos or milieu is an important aspect of her work. The world itself, is often filled with viscera and polyps. She paints very small, with intense detail, often using a magnifying glass in the process. The result is that one feels as if one is peering into a miniature world of microbes transformed into some dark Dr. Seussian nightmare. Fun stuff!
Check out her web page (www.allisonsommers.com) and/or her Flickr page for more.

"The Sudden Picnic in the Succulent Grove" 8.5" x 7.5" gouache on illustration board 2009

"H & G in the Garden" 11" x 14" gouache on illustration board 2009

"Afterbirth" 12" x 12" gouache on illustration board 2010

"Treehouse 7.5'' x 9.5" gouache on illustration board 2008

"The Alchemist & His Son" 3.5" x 5.5" gouache on illustration board 2008

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


EVOL is the moniker of a German graffiti artist who turns random objects into buildings by using stencils and spray paint. He's perfected his technique to create extraordinary optical illusions. The first three pieces here are part of an ongoing series of broken down cardboard boxes transformed into urban tenements and street scenes. Some of these images are quite large and you'll really appreciate them better if you click on and view them full size. He also turns other objects into buildings; electrical junction boxes, parts of walls, a cassette tape, whatever. Anything vaguely rectangular really. You can see a few of his pieces at www.wilde-gallery.com but if you really want to spend time with this artist's work, you'll want to go to his Flickr page and look through his set labeled some of mine. There you can also find this time lapse video of his process.

"Dieffenbach Str. Backyard" vers.#1 spraypaint and stencil on cardboard 110x98cm

"Lehmbruck" 9-11 spraypaint and stencil on board 54x117cm

"Wallflower" vers.#1 Spaypaint stencil on cardboard 54x68cm

spraypaint and stencil on electrical cabinet, 96 x 78 x 32 cm

Okay, so now that you kind of get the idea, try to wrap your mind around the following installation piece called "Caspar David Friedrich Stadt"; a recent effort in which he transforms the interior floor area of a slaughterhouse in Dresden. To quote the artist:
"Painted in a 10x8meter hole in the ground on the abandoned slaughterhouse area in Dresden,
probably the former foundation of a huge boiler plant to derive soap from rendered beef fat or other utilization of carcass. However, even 15 years after closing down, it still smells nauseating.
The main slaughterhouse complex was built 1906 by hans erlwein. Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Slaughterhouse Five" also takes place there. Caspar David Friedrich painted that area called Ostragehege in 1832, And my favorite footnote is that his father was a soap-boiler ..."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kris Lewis

Most of Kris Lewis' work is taken up with young beautiful women, they're hair perfectly coifed, their dress, if any, elegant and slightly outlandish. There is certainly a bit of the "Playboy" aesthetic to them. There is no doubt that he has an eye for striking design, and an interest in the alluring, even the downright erotic, but his art lies in going beyond mere form and capturing an extraordinary depth of personality. He also presents his portraits in a landscape tableaux that creates a kind of narrative to engage the viewer. He cites influences ranging from Holbein to Wyeth in obvious adoration of the masters of realism, but he often incorporates a very contemporary stylization of form that is usually fairly restrained (as in the pieces below) although occasionally, more pronounced. His few paintings that are not of young women reveal that his fascinations and insights into character are hardly restricted to one sex.
To see more visit his website at www.krislewisart.com

"Low Tide" oil on board 36"x24"

"We're Going South" oil on linen 30"x30"

"Deconstruction Period" oil on canvas 24"x24"

"Red" oil on wood 24"x20"

"Funeral" 30"x24"

"Cory" oil on canvas 30"x24"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Adriana Varejão

This is an artist whose work I stumbled across some time ago. I saved an image or two and then forgot to follow up. So when I came across it again, I knew I'd better post it right away before I forgot again.
The main body of her work consists of these empty baths and saunas. I have no idea whether or not each piece represents a real place or not. At times they appear so cryptically labyrinthine that their existence in reality seems doubtful. Whatever the case, the geometric lines of the space and the graph-paper like lines of the tiling give the work a cold and calculated presence. But they are deeply psychological interiors as well. Her use of color can add warmth or suck it away. And the occasional relic of a human presence, a stain of blood, a clump of hair, adds a dark disturbing note. The title of each piece often suggests a particular person, a character or perhaps merely a type. But it further heightens the psychological aspect of the work. She hails from Rio De Janeiro but has been successful enough to have had shows recently in Tokyo, New York and this year, London. So congratulations Adriana.
She does a lot of other work aside from painting and it's well worthwhile taking a visual stroll through her website: www.adrianavarejao.net

"The Dreamer" oil on canvas 170x230cm 2006

"The Hungarian" oil on canvas 200x255cm 2006

"The Guest" oil on canvas 45x70cm 2004

"The Seducer" oil on canvas 230x530cm 2004

"The Shining" oil on canvas 230x560cm 2009

"The Wicked" graphite on paper 70x100cm 2009

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kevin Sloan

The term magic realism is easily the most apt moniker for the paintings of Kevin Sloan. They draw on the comfortable and familiar imagery of nineteenth century landscape and wildlife paintings while introducing a surrealist narrative. But they're not quite surrealism. They do not have the jarring effect that surrealist paintings often strive for to mimic the unbridled dream imagery of the subconscious. Nor are they allegories or strictly speaking, symbolic of anything in particular. They use the language of symbolism to evoke in the viewer a personal response. The artist does not seem to be interested in informing the viewer of some new insight. These are meant to entertain and engage in a more relaxed manner. The viewer is invited to speculate about the images, and is welcome to draw whatever conclusions they want. Those seeking strict meaning should probably abandon that notion. Just enjoy and let your mind wander.

There's plenty to wander through at kevinsloan.com

"The Worriers" 24" x 48"

"The Rare Flower" 30" x 60"

"Finding Time" 48" x 36"

"Abundance: Oranges" 30" x 24"

"Birds of America: Greater Flamingo" 48" x 36"

Thanks to artistaday.com for introducing me this artist.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Elizabeth Patterson & Gregory Thielker (2)

I posted Gregory Thielker's work last year (Oct. 15, 2009). At the time I made the point that if you do something really, really well and no one else is doing it, then you've got gold. Well, I was wrong about no one else doing it. Elizabeth Patterson is pursuing precisely the same kind of imagery, specifically a photo-realist take on how rain transforms our view through the windshields of our cars. It has an immediate appeal. For one, we Americans experience landscape through the filtering effect of our car windows far more often than we do directly. Mostly we are unconscious of the fact that we are observing landscape in this way, since we are (hopefully) concentrating on driving the damn car. The interference of weather is an experience we've all shared and, eventually, that transformation of our ubiquitous viewpoint enters our conscious awareness. At that point, it is not surprising that an artist or two somewhere decides "I'm going to paint that".

Having a unique approach or subject matter is highly valued in the art world but nigh impossible to actually achieve. There are hundreds, probably thousands of artists, busily painting realistic pears who don't even seem to care. So I guess there's room enough for these two. And anyway, the results may look similar but the techniques are completely different. Mr. Thielker paints in oil. Ms. Patterson uses colored pencil, graphite and solvent. If you don't think that makes a world of difference you need to look at art online less and in real life more.

Check out their websites:

Patterson "Sunset Highway, 3pm" color pencil and solvent 25" x 40"

Patterson "Wilshire Boulevard, 5pm" Color pencil, graphite and solvent 18"x26"

Patterson "Sepulveda Boulevard, 5pm" Color Pencil, Graphite, Solvent 20"x 30"

Thielker "In Between" oil on panel 11"x14" 2008

Thielker "Until Now" oil on linen 36"x48" 2010

Thielker "Coming To a Complete Stop" oil on canvas 36"x48" 2008

Thielker "Transference" oil on linen 36"x48" 2010

I came across the work of Elizabeth Patterson via visualinventory.blogspot.com

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kate Clark

If you ever saw the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers there was a great little horror moment towards the end when an old hobo and his constant dog companion appear to have been copied as one creature by the alien pods. The old hobo's head stares up from the little dog's body for a very brief moment but it is a powerful jolt. Kate Clark takes that same simple recipe and keeps the jolt alive with a sustained note of unnerving dissonance. Throughout history and human culture, people have been fascinated by the idea of this sort of human animal mash-up, from ancient Egyptian, Indian and other mythologies to more modern cautionary tales like H. G. Wells' "The Island Dr. Moreau". Ms. Clark's use of real taxidermy, and the implied reality of the faces complete with seams and stitches imbue these mythical creations with an ominous presence. At the same time she is able to imbue in their expressions a note of innocence, a fine trick that hangs the whole thing in a delicate balance of discomfort and appeal.
You can see more on her website: www.kateclark.com
and through her gallery: www.claireoliver.com

Untitled (Black bear) bear hide, foam, clay, pins, thread, rubbereyes 27" x 42" x 16" 2008

Bear detail

"Little Girl" infant caribou hide, foam, clay, pins, thread, rubber eyes 15" x 28" x 19" 2008

"Lit From Within" Gazelle hide, foam, clay, pins, thread, rubber eye, cardboard, wood (lifesize) 2009

Installation view of 'Perfect Strangers'
solo exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery, Nov 2008

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lori Field - 2

Lori Field has done quite a bit of new work since I last featured her here in August 2009. I hardly know what to say about her subject matter. It's stream of consciousness and critical analysis is probably pointless (psychoanalysis maybe...). The effect is dream-like images that somehow manage to be both ethereal and visceral at the same time. Part of this is due to her technique. She often starts with collage, as a source reference only however, a way of gathering and recombining images in an unstudied manner. Then she'll draw the image using colored pencil on rice paper (or sometimes vintage chalk boards) or silverpoint on gessoed paper combining it all with with encaustic painting, and finally adding bits and things like flower petals, a piece of lace or whatever strikes her fancy or is at hand. It is the work of an artist who is fully committed to letting the creative process flow through her rather than trying to channel it into a preconceived vision.
Check out her website (www.lorifieldfineart.com) or go to her Flickr page to see the very latest.

For those of you in New York City (anyone?) the last piece will be included in a show that opens September 9th called :
"The Sky is Falling"
September 9 - October 7, 2010
opening reception September 9th, 6-8pm
Claire Oliver Gallery
513 W. 26th St.

Good luck Lori!

"Fantastic Voyage" colored pencil and encaustic 2010

"Do You Like My Hat II" colored pencil, encaustic, small shiny things 2010

"Cat and Mouse" colred pencil and encaustic 2009

"Love and Fear, Love or Fear"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Erik Berndt

Erik Berndt draws and dreams just like many of us once did as children, with only pencil and paper and a sense of limitless possibility. He creates whole worlds that can pull you in to the wanderings of his imagination. His work often oscillates from the frenetic extremes of urbanization to chaotic botanical exuberance, occasionally the latter slowly overtaking the former. But these are not statements per se about contemporary society or post-industrialization. They seem to be mere excuses for his exploration of complexity and pattern, vehicles for him to create Escher-like visions of an alternate world reflective of our own but a good deal more entertaining and spirited.
He has a phenomenal number of these richly detailed visions on his Flickr page and, as far as I can tell, nowhere else.

"The Plumbers at Work" 20x30cm 2010

"The Forgotten Brewery" 20x30cm 2009

"The Railway Station" 20x30cm 2009

"Remote Relay Station" 20x30cm 2009

"The Ferry" 20x30cm 2009

"The Open Heart of the City" 20x30cm 2009