Artist Obsession: Paola Pivi

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Mixed Media

This is so cool.

I came across this awesome pearl-encrusted canvas on Tumblr (I find all sorts of neat shit on tumblr) and was absolutely captivated. I love how it seems to explode out from the wall but in a way that is completely refined and subdued. Pearls are such an innovative medium to work with and I love how they are used here. I also love how this is a sculpture that is kind of pretending to be a painting.Paola Pivi Pearls

When I looked further into Paola Pivi and her work, I was surprised to find that nothing else she has been doing lately is nearly this subtle. It’s all bright and big and crazy. Neon colors and strange large-scale installation pieces. Still really cool but really different. I debated splitting this into multiple posts (and maybe I will still write more later) but I thought I should include some of her recent weird stuff.

The Bears: they are massive neon taxidermy bears that have been arranged in little gallery scenes. Yep. Paola Pivi Bears

The Machine: This is an installation piece which shoots out money at gallery-goers which is a pretty interesting concept. A little intimidating though…Paola Pivi Machine

I’m so glad I came across Paola Pivi and I am definitely going to keep tabs on her to see what she’ll do next. And definitely check out her website. It’s lots of fun.

Artist Obsession: Eugenia Loli

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Mixed Media

Okay so if you spend any time at all on Pinterest or Tumblr (or just on the internet in general) then you have probably seen Eugenia Loli’s work. She is a prolific collage artist with a massive digital footprint and has inspired a ton of young artists (including myself) to use vintage photos in new and interesting ways. I would definitely suggest digging around on her Cargo Collective site. There are tons of gems. Gold Digger gets a lot of internet circulation, although my favorite series would have to be Mind Alteration. These images are trippy and strange and absolutely wonderful.

Fleeting Déjà Vu


Spring Crop at the Rosseland Crater

Seriously! How cool are these? Die in Despair /  Live in Ecstasy

Dusty & Dicey

All It Remains

Modern Citizen

This woman is incredibly talented. I highly encourage anyone and everyone to check out her website. (Particularly the Worshipped Women series. It’s a close second favorite.)

Artist Obsession: Andrea Castro

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Mixed Media, Painting

“I consider art as another language”

On her website’s bio page, Andrea Castro describes her art as a conversation between herself and the figures she paints. In her eyes, each portrait represents a character which exists in her imagination and which insists on being painted. Kind of a neat way of thinking about portraiture and about oil painting in general. (Also kind of crazy right?). Castro’s work is quite diverse in tone and style but her aesthetic really shines through in her colorful and slightly surreal works. The gorgeous pastel piece at the top of my post is particularly incredible. I just love the pretty florals and topsy turvy composition. It is titled Sweet Chaotic Memories which seems quite fitting.

In fact all of her pieces have meaningful riddling titles which I appreciate. These paintings are alarming yet captivating and I am totally caught up in them.






Striking. Stunning. I don’t even know what else to say. Let’s just stare at them, shall we?

“The Familiar and the Indefinable in Clay”

Art World News, Contemporary Women Artists

I just stumbled into the Ruth Chandler Williamson Art Gallery after class yesterday to discover that the new ceramics exhibition is finished and open to the public! I’ve been so crazy busy lately that I completely missed the opening reception (apparently it happened last weekend?) and was delighted to discover one of the most whimsical ceramics show I’ve ever seen. Scripps is well known for its Ceramics Annual and this is the 71st, guest curated by Julia Haft-Candell. I immediately got caught up in the beautiful colors, shapes and textures and was almost late to work because of it. (Oops.)

I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with the art as I would have liked but fully intend to go back in the coming weeks for closer inspection. Here are a couple of pictures from my initial walk-around. I’ll probably post more later as I predict several new “Artist Obsession” posts in my future…

Happy Friday!

Scripps Art Show 2

Scripps Art Show 3

Scripps College Art Show

Artist Obsession: Hilary Harnischfeger

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Mixed Media, Painting

I am a sucker for interesting textures and abstract paintings in soft pastel palettes. It’s a seriously brilliant combination and one I could stare at endlessly. That’s how I feel about Hilary Harnischfeger’s work. I just want to look at it forever.

When I first came stumbled across her sculptural wall-mounted masterpieces, I was completely floored. She isn’t afraid to really explore the tactility of different mediums and combine them in unexpected ways. If you look at her artist profile on the Saatchi Gallery website, Harnischfeger has a laundry list of materials that she uses to create these multidimensional sculpture/painting hybrids. Paper, ink, mica, fluorite, crushed glass, plaster, pyrite… anything and everything. The effect is pretty mesmerizing.

hilary harnischfeger 1

hilary harnischfeger 2

hilary harnischfeger 3

Something about them reminds me of Dr. Seuss… so so good.

Artist Obsession: Elizabeth Amento

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Mixed Media

I’m really into collage and mixed media art. It’s hands down my favorite category. Is it indecisive that my favorite artistic medium is mixed media? Probably. Anyway, Elizabeth Amento is doing some really cool stuff with found images. She creates these crazy swirls of color that almost become characters in surreal domestic scenes. The whole thing is set against a stark white background which subverts any of the original image composition. A restrained color palate, beautiful black and white photos, and a sparse canvas, all expertly arranged. I love these.Elizabeth Amento

Elizabeth Amento 3

Elizabeth Amento 2

Elizabeth Amento 1

Check out the rest in her website archives. Plus, she is currently featured in a Frank Juarez Gallery Exhibition, “Art of Collage,” which looks absolutely incredible.

Artist Obsession: Molly Cranna

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Photography

Perfectionist product photography that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I love Molly Cranna’s work. Particularly, her bright pastel still life shots are so clean and fresh I can barely stand it. They manage to be both super minimalist and professional while maintaining all of their weirdness and whimsy. The corn-dogs on blue tile? So strange. So perfect. She also photographs Twinkies, false eyelashes, dentures, condoms, sandwiches, and anything else you can think of that’s beautifully ordinary. Cranna is one of those contemporary artists who seems to constantly be working which is also pretty cool. Her photos frequently accompany magazine articles and the “Recent News” section of her site is updated frequently with neat new projects.

Molly Cranna Still Life 6

Molly Cranna Still Life 5

Molly Cranna Still Life 4

Molly Cranna Still Life 3

Molly Cranna Still Life corndog

Molly Cranna Still Life 1

I am honestly and truly obsessed with every single one of her product photos. They are so well-executed. Understated cool is a tough aesthetic to pull off and Molly Cranna nails it. Check out more of her stuff. The portraits and beauty shots are equally awesome.

Artist Obsession: Janette Beckman

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Photography

I started following the HVW8 Gallery on Instagram recently. Since it’s so close to New Years, they’ve been posting recaps of all their 2014 exhibitions. One in particular really caught my eye and I’ve been stalking Janette Beckman online ever since. Full disclosure, photography is not really my thing and I get bored with it really easily. This is probably a pretty insulting oversimplification to all the fine art photographers out there but I feel like most of it looks the same. If you’ve seen one landscape, you’ve seen them all. That’s why Beckman’s “Rebel Cultures” series is so interesting. She focuses on people.

Specifically, her series features Mexican gangs in East LA, British punk groups, and hip hop crews of New York City. Through her photography, Beckman gives us insight into tight-knit and highly-specialized communities; ones that the general public wouldn’t normally have access to. As a scholar of Media Theory, these countercultures are particularly fascinating in how they oppose mainstream popular culture.  But these photos do more than simply document groups of outsiders. Each photo quite expertly captures the essence and personality of the individual characters involved. And, unlike landscapes, human beings are endlessly interesting to me.

Janette Beckman Rebel Cultures

Janette Beckman

Janette Beckman Photography

She talks about her experiences shooting the series on the HVW8 Gallery website and has a whole bunch of other work featured on her photography site. Also, she makes all of her subjects look completely badass. How do I join a “rebel culture”?

Artist Obsession: Ellen Gallagher

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Mixed Media

I love that feeling of being completely stopped in my tracks by a work of art, and encountering something with the power to disrupt my life for a minute; to focus my consciousness in a new way. It happens so rarely, but thats what makes it so special. Art is nifty. 

So I saw some of Ellen Gallagher’s art on display at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College this past fall. The exhibit featured a number of contemporary women artists and their work in printmaking. There was an entire wall of Gallagher’s works, all framed in a grid, and it had a pretty profound impact on me. I came back to the exhibit several times just to stare at her prints and am totally kicking myself for not taking any pictures. This image from the MOMA’s website is pretty similar though, so you get the idea.

Anyway,these are really cool. They are bright and color blocked with pinks and yellows on newsprint. She uses a lot of different mediums at once and layers them in a really interesting way. Plus, the political message inherent in her work is really powerful. She uses vintage advertisements for beauty products geared towards black men and women, and subverts them with multimedia collage. I’m so glad I remembered this artist’s name, (not hard considering it’s the same as mine) and that I happened to find some of her work online. Ellen Gallagher’s prints embody all the things I love about art. They are aesthetically beautiful and really intellectually stimulating, without being overly complicated or pretentious. Plus I kind of love anything that appropriates vintage ads…

Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher

So incredible. That is all. Happy Holidays.

Artist Obsession: Sasa Saastamoinen

Artist Obsession, Contemporary Women Artists, Painting

Ink painting is one of those mediums that I have studied endlessly in Art History classes, but that I rarely think about in terms of contemporary art making. Ink has an incredibly rich cultural tradition in Chinese history but it has progressed remarkably little. That is why it is so awesome to see contemporary artists like Sasa Saastamoinen working with ink in a new way, and pushing the boundaries of Chinese painting. Her works clearly reference the classic bird and flower genre but do so with a new eye for texture and brush stroke, exploring how water and pigment mix. These ink paintings explore the limits and possibilities of this classic medium and really expand on what can be done with it. I love this!

Sasa Saastamoinen

Sasa Saastamoinen

The artist is also incredibly eloquent in speaking about her work. Check out her artist statement and website to see more gorgeous works of ink on paper and to read her thoughts on ink painting.