rocco pezzella

Ooooh! These things make me wanna make things! These pieces, all of which were created during the summer of 2020, are the work of Amsterdam based artist Rocco Pezzella. Clay, sculpture block, wood, sand and other found objects balanced in perfect harmony:

“This is a collection where organic and artificial forms blend together in a harmonious body. A study between design and art where different materials combine, coexisting in shapes that recall nature and the human touch at the same time.”

Ah yes, human touch… remember that? Happy Monday.

{Found via Andenken Gallery’s IG}




isabelle feliu

Le sigh… this is the absolutely lovely work of Norway based, Quebec artist / illustrator Isabelle Feliu. I have been a little bit obsessed with seashells in my own work lately, so when I came across these personal pieces {ink and gouache on paper} by Isabelle, well, I was instantly smitten. Soft pastels, elegant lines, feminine subjects… is it just me or can you smell the powdery, rose-scented perfume that would go perfectly with this post? Happy Friday.

ps. Isabelle’s personal work is available in her shop, or reach out to her for commercial illustration projects right here.





caroline wayne

“Pretty Objects”. Yes they are… until you dig a little deeper to find out what all of those pretty beads and stitches represent. This is the work of Brooklyn based artist Caroline Wayne. Some {if not all?} of these pieces were part of an exhibition, titled “Grown Cyclone”, at A.I.R Brooklyn at the end of 2019. Here is part of the gallery’s description:

“Rounded soft felt forms are adorned with sequins, pearls, and beads, packed and overlapping like armor. Thumb tacks position themselves with pointed-side up in a mechanism of defense. Scrolling across the ornamented circumferences of these narrative vessels, painstakingly embellished scenes examine the distant memories and dreams of the artist’s own sexual traumas.

Each sculpture’s apparent beauty—the laborious result of extended emotional, physical, and psychic effort— illustrates Wayne’s lifelong endeavor to process and reshape a complicated and harrowing past. Through onerous mark-making, she exposes the suffering that a body can accumulate over time. The artist’s own cyclic path through healing acknowledges the overlooked stories of survivors, whose fiercest pain lies not in the traumatic event itself but in the way one has to navigate their world for a lifetime after.”

That is not what I expected. You? As a survivor of an abusive relationship, this gave me chills…. and I just realized I was holding my breath through that entire final paragraph. So beautiful. So powerful. ps. A few of these pieces are currently available via PXP Contemporary.





kwesi botchway

Oh. My. These paintings are the jaw-dropping work of Ghana based artist – and founder of Worldfaze Art Studio – Kwesi Botchway. Those eyes… they literally stopped me in my tracks, and I couldn’t look away. Turns out, that was Kwesi’s beautiful plan:

“I’m interested in depicting compelling figurative portrait paintings from different generations. My point of focus is the Eyes, Nose and Mouth which is where our emotions are best portrayed, I also believe it helps us better visually experience one another’s feelings; an exchange of information without using words.

My Paintings help create an intriguing dialogue between the subject’s message and the viewer. My work compels the viewer to become physically and emotionally invested in the subject’s story.

I aim to celebrate, capture the spirit, essence and heritage of my subjects and use this as an opportunity to lend the world a glance into the lives and struggles of people whose stories are yet to be fully told.

My paintings are meant to trigger emotions of pride or shame, honor or disgust and sometimes even humor. It’s all about the story of my subjects, which words cannot fully explain.”

‘An exchange of information without using words.’ See? So beautiful. ps. Some of his work is available via Gallery 1957.





juliette clovis

Gasp! This is the latest work from French sculptor Juliette Clovis. I wrote about her nature-covered busts in 2017, but these never-ending, scaly wonders took my breath away. I should say, I have a major snake phobia, but luckily, these aren’t snakes. I’ll let Juliette explain… poetically:

“Manis Tetradactyla is a species of pangolin: a small long-tailed mammal living in West and Central Africa. Like the animal, thousands of porcelain scales interlock into each other and form a carapace which covers entirely the surface of the sculpture. The final shape draws an abstract line, invasive and sinuous, almost looking like snake curves. Like a gigantic Gordian knot, Manis Tetradactyla has neither beginning nor end. An hybrid and reptilian creature with an immaculate beauty born from Intertwined and sprawling forms.

The course of events seems then reversed. The cycle of life takes another turn and instead of disappearing, a new living being emerges from the pangolin’s scales. A powerful form springs out fragile porcelain shards. The spectator is faced with an unknown animal. Is it one of a kind? Are they several? Is it a threat? The impression of strength and invasion is palpable. But the delicacy and fragility of porcelain soften this tension making the animal less disturbing than intriguing. Strength and fragility are balanced to give life to a new form of harmony. 

Manis Tetradactyla scrambles the tracks and plays the spectator who no longer knows if he is in front of a prehistoric animal resurfaces from the past or a metamorphic and futuristic creature announcing the birth of a new era.”

Ahhh, a new era. That sounds great.





jedediah morfit

Wow. These are the past-meets-present / digital-meets-analog sculptures of American artist Jedediah Morfit. Plaster, yarn, rope, wood, foam, and the list goes on… and don’t get me started on the gorgeous color palette! Obviously I had to show you the scale as well… the install shot is from Jed’s show earlier this year at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Here’s the description of this show, and a peek into his process:

“In Adapting to Change, the muted busts Morfit is known for have gone through a total contemporary, bordering on futuristic, transformation. Digitally crafted, embedded with mixed media, dosed in color, manipulated, these works are a major departure for the artist. Unlike his last exhibition at Paradigm in 2017, the pieces in Adapting to Change are not about a modeler’s sensibility, but rather focuses on the intricacies of process, color and material. 

While Morfit’s new process uses digital tools, there is still evidence of the artist’s touch. The final pieces, while incredibly detailed, do not look manufactured or automated in any way. While many of the pieces in the exhibition started with existing 3D scans of Greek and Italian busts, they were realized through a combination of 3D fabrication tools and traditional modeling and casting techniques. Many of the pieces are embedded with found objects, like plastic beads and cake doilies, which act as a part of the piece’s DNA; exploited for their texture and bright colors. Morfit takes the intact busts, cuts them up and puts them (almost) back together again. The ensuing works are presented slightly off kilter, hanging upside down or teetering off an edge. 

The works in Adapting to Change are intended to look and feel disjointed. Countless hours were spent composing the busts, only to be deconstructed, modified, rebuilt, and reimagined. The shifting process mimics Morfit’s own sense of having lost and scrambling to keep his balance, as the ground shifts beneath his feet.”

Sigh… yes, I think the ground is shifting beneath all of us at the moment. {Some of these pieces are currently on view at Showfields in New York (until the end of November), and others/more are available through Paradigm Gallery + Studio}





genesis belanger

Nothing says IT’S FRIDAY like a porcelain eyeball floating in an Old Fashion! This is the most recent work of Brooklyn based artist Genesis Belanger. I wrote about her in late 2019, but when I realized her first major solo museum exhibition opens this weekend, clearly I had to write again. ‘Through the Eye of a Needle’  will be installed at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut. Here’s their description:

“Anthropomorphizing common household objects–lipsticks with wagging tongues, lamps with ladies’ pearls, and tins with doey-eyed sardines–Belanger’s methodology blends Surrealism and Pop art with a self-possessed feminism informed by a career inside the fashion and advertising industries. Debuting an entirely new body of work specially conceived for The Aldrich, Belanger will create her largest and most elaborate mise-en-scène to date: dozens of animated objects arranged on ghostly furnishings that suggest narratives about our anxiety afflicted present. The artist’s first museum publication, featuring an essay by the exhibition’s curator, Amy Smith-Stewart, will accompany the show.

The show will be open for a Members-Only Preview Day on Saturday, September 19 and there will be a private opening on Sunday, September 20. The first day the exhibition will be open to the general public is Monday, September 21. To book your timed-ticket for September 21 onwards, click here. To register for the Members-Only Preview Day, click here. Not a member? No problem, you can join today and see the exhibition early!





grace lynne haynes

Stopped. In. My. Tracks. That is exactly what happened when I caught a glimpse of these gorgeous paintings by California born, New Jersey based artist Grace Lynne Haynes… those flat fields of color and dizzying patterns? LOVE! I found Grace’s striking, beautifully composed, candy-hued work through this article in Elle Magazine, written by Rose Minutaglio. Here are a few excerpts from that interview:

Elle: How has your perspective on art and beauty changed in 2020?

GLH: Nina Simone once said: “It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.” I agree. It’s my job as an artist to reflect what is going on in our world right now, so I’m constantly thinking about what my work will mean years from now. I hope people will understand the era I was creating in. Black womanhood is constantly taking on new forms. We’re also in a period where, for the first time in history, women are empowered to pursue their passions and go after careers that weren’t available to us before. I want the Black woman’s perspective to be part of that conversation.

… It’s a whirlwind moment for Haynes, who has reservations about her meteoric rise to the top. “Black women in the art world can be tokenized,” she says. “Art has a habit of becoming trendy, whether that’s Black art or women’s art, and the industry likes to hop on bandwagons. Then, when the trend is over, the artist suffers.”

Sadly, she’s not wrong about bandwagons in the art world. Let’s make damn sure that doesn’t happen this time around, yes? Yes. {Read the full article here}.





“not normal – art in the age of trump”

Ah yes… politics and art have gone hand-in-hand since, well, forever. I’m Canadian, but it’s pretty much impossible not to watch what’s happening in the United States at the moment. Enter, “Not Normal: Art in the Age of Trump”. This book is a visual protest of the Trump administration featuring 147 artists with over 350 works. The creator of this project is American activist and curator Karen M. Gutfreund. Here is a description of this timely collection:

“Artists around the United States are raging against Donald Trump in visual protest. Not Normal: Art in the Age of Trump, Second Edition, documents this artistic movement in a curated collection. Their outrage is evidenced in full Technicolor on subjects ranging from racism, the Covid pandemic, xenophobia, immigration, promotion of hatred and violence, mistrust of science and facts, misogyny and of course, a narcissism that puts our entire country and world at great risk. While the subject matter is serious, the art is alive with color and detail and is delivered with an irreverent sense of humor.”

2020 will most certainly be one for the history books, and seeing what artists create during this time might be the only thing keeping me going. I’m bracing myself for angry Trump supporters, as everyone has their right to their opinion. That said, all of these artists also have the right to create artwork based on how they feel. I see this as a time capsule… a surreal, ‘this is so not normal’, time capsule.

{Artists show above: 1. India Tresselt; 2. Holly Ballard Martz; 3. Brenda Oelbaum; 4. Michele Pred; 5. Bryan Buckley; 6. Tm Gratkowski; 7. Cabell Molina + more pieces can be seen here}





combs

Wait for it … quaranteens! So good. Clearly, my first thought when I saw the ‘Quaranteen Creeps Class Reunion 3020 Senior Class’, was to save this post for Halloween… but there is no way I could wait that long! These creepy weirdos are the latest work by Austin based artist Combs. As a mother of a boy who just started high school yesterday, in the middle of a global pandemic, yeah, these spoke to me. Wash your hands and wear your masks, kids!