Initially I was a little skeptical of an Irish man making art about murdered Mexican women. However, his work and his statements are a thoughtful and respectful tribute and I am glad this important crisis is getting the attention it deserves. The portraits themselves are beautiful, powerful and tragic. It’s important work by Brian McGuire and definitely deserves a look.
“The killing campaign in Mexico has taken the lives of more than 1,400 young women since 1994, mainly factory girls working in maquiladoras,sweatshops of sorts, who were abducted around town. Maguire spent time with the victim’s mothers, discussing their daughter’s lives and premature deaths, before beginning to paint two portraits of each victim: one representing the young girl during her life and another, after death. Though his works are intuitively somber in subject matter and style, they convey a subtle hopefulness in the boldness of strokes and in the unexpected pops of color.”
The title of this seres is The Absence of Justice Demands This Act and it’s showing at Fergus McCaffrey in New York through the end of the month. Check out this article and the gallery website, if you’d like.
Katherine Jury (or @katefjury as she’s known on Instagram) creates beautiful abstract paintings in soft sherbet colors. They are low-key gorgeous and perfect for spring/easter/whenever. I feel like a lot of contemporary art tries to shock and awe, to blast your senses and make it impossible to look away. Jury’s art doesn’t do that. But not all art needs to demand attention, some just needs to ask politely. And I would argue that this type of unassuming beauty is a lot harder to pull off.
Instead of being in-your-face, Jury’s art is subtly captivating in a way that requires serious restraint and skill. Plus it makes me feel like spring is here so that is a major plus.
Kate Jury has a gorgeous website and blog and was once featured in my all-time favorite Design Love Fest “dress your tech” post.
Sophie Victoria Elliot uses aerial landscapes and maps as the basis for her abstract paintings. She is inspired by geology and tries to capture shifting movements under the earth’s surface in each of her works. She even organizes them by location on her website. How cool is that?
If you look at these pieces you can totally see the inspiration shine through. But even if the cartographical explanation doesn’t blow your mind, they are still super pretty. Moody color studies with gorgeous and unexpected combinations. I am infinitely impressed.
“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?
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.
Something about them reminds me of Dr. Seuss… so so good.
Okay so I need to get this off my chest. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves in the art world and I’m getting kind of sick of it. Then again, I guess that’s what I get for reading the internet comments sections, regardless of the website. Of course now that I want to write about it, I can’t find the specific comment that set me off. It was either on Elle Decor or Decor8 or Domaine Home or something like that but I can’t find it for the life of me. It was in response to an article on Oliver Jeffers and his dipped paintings. (Which literally everyone is writing about right now. It’s hard to keep track.) These altered portraits are gorgeous and mysterious and completely innovative. They have also inspired a new DIY decor trend where bloggers and amateur artists all over the internet are trying their hand at his technique. I think this is pretty cool. But apparently a bunch of random people online feel the need to police what is and is not art.
The offending comment said something to the effect of, “this isn’t art because it doesn’t require any precise brushwork or because it wasn’t technically difficult to create.” This internet commenter, a self-proclaimed artist, seemed to feel that it was insulting to her work and her craft that someone who makes easy-to-produce art should be recognized as an artist. But art is not defined by the effort put in, but rather by the result. You do not judge art based on how hard the artist worked to create it. You judge the piece itself. And sometimes, the simplest brushstrokes have the most profound effect. Whether a piece takes three years or three minutes to create has nothing to do with its quality. Some of the most tremendously talented artists of our generation make art which doesn’t require this woman’s narrow-minded definition of artistry. In fact many of my absolute favorite artists are those that push the boundaries of what can and cannot be considered art.
I personally love Oliver Jeffers’ dipped paintings. I think the neon blue ads something incredible to an otherwise hum drum and traditional portrait. It’s brilliant. But that is just my opinion. Whether or not it is art; that’s not up to me. That is up to the artist. And I would advise anyone involved in the online arts community to recognize this difference. I may love a piece or I may hate it, and it is my right to share those opinions. But I do not get to chose what is art and what is merely craft. That is not my right.
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!
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.
This artist found her way onto my tumblr page (follow me on tumblr!) and I finally got around to checking out her portfolio website. It is incredible! Her use of texture and color is absolutely captivating. I love these complicated and passionate abstracts. Her “small works on paper” are particularly strong. Such incredible texture. Even in a digital image, you can tell how much depth and tactility each work would have in person. I just want to reach out and run my fingers over it. which would probably get me in a lot of trouble… oh well. Maybe I would show some restraint. For the art. These abstracts are both bold and balanced which is incredibly difficult to achieve. Mad respect for miss Alicia Larsson.
Check out more of Larsson’s art on her website! Fair warning, the site is not in English, so brush up on those Spanish language skills!