Chris Agnew is a British artist known for his highly detailed drawings and icon panel etchings. He received his BA in Contemporary Art Practice from The University of Leeds in 2008, followed by a Masters in Fine Art at the Wimbledon College of Art in 2010.
Agnew’s work deals with the construction and deconstruction of belief systems, be they political, religious, social or cultural. He is interested by the malleable nature of what we hold as ‘truth’, and how the presentation of information informs our subsequent understanding of events.
Amy Park is known for her carefully rendered, large-scale watercolor paintings featuring iconic architecture. She works almost exclusively from photographs. Her subjects have included Donald Judd’s structures in Marfa, experimentally designed homes in California, and other icons of Modernist architecture. Her best-known series is based on a famous series of architectural photos by Julius Schulman; while Park faithfully reproduces Schulman’s original compositions, she selects the jeweled colors based on her recollection and interpretations.
Another body of works was inspired by the New York City urban landscape, with particular attention paid to repeating textures and patterns. These works were based on Park’s own photographs of major landmarks and skyscrapers, reimagined with more intensely saturated hues.
Artist Ben Tolman creates incredibly intricate drawings that dig for the heart beneath the hard edges of the built environment. He lives and works in Washington DC. He received his MFA in 2012 from American University and his BFA from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in 2005. He has exhibited work nationally and internationally including being an exhibited finalist in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Tolman has focused on the built environment—cities and suburbs, real and imagined, and the effects that they have, for better or for worse, on the people who inhabit them.
Rik Smits is a Dutch artist who works with several media. His large pencil drawings depict cities and landscapes sceneries, sometimes with a realistic attitude and other times with touches of surrealism or a narrative theme.
“My work deals with the relation between religion and capitalism, which is depicted in a scenery of architectural landscapes/cityscapes. These landscapes show the contours of an imaginary city. A city which breathes the human ambition towards power and status. Its large scale buildings reminds us of the industrial utopia’s which prevailed in the human mind, but failed to shine or provide peace and humanity in the real world.The most prominent facet of this city is perhaps its appearance, from which one can easily read that the main ideology of its inhabitants is Capitalism. But this ideology is beginning to manifest itself in a religious manner, and will maybe even become a religion itself.” Rik Smits
Vasco Mourao is an architect and illustrator originally from Portugal who now lives and works in Barcelona. His densely illustrated cities and structures are drawn entirely by hand and while all are of course fictional places, they often incorporate real buildings.
Mourao has an unparalleled eye for detail and underlying structures that has led to a full-time career drawing buildings. He describes himself as having a ‘tendency for obsessive drawings,’ starting with an early focus on horses, but growing to encompass entire cities in his own intricate style.
Germany-based artist Josef Schulz uses subtle photo manipulation for a gorgeous effect. He does not aim at exposing this architecture in any way nor does he want to venture into a critical analysis of its appearance. He simply uses the photographs of the buildings to study the grammar of his trade.
Schulz starts by taking traditional photographs of the halls, storage facilites and industrial structures with large sized photographic plates. Using digital image processing, the analogue picture produced is then “cleansed” of the few remaining hints pointing to age, location or environment of the buildings.
All details that might possibly allow conclusions concerning the actual size, users, time or place of the buildings are completely removed. The physical reality of the buildings is changed in such a way that they seem to become virtual blueprints designed to perfection. Schulz focusses on colours and shapes reducing them to simple block-like structures. Particular emphasis is given to symmetries, colour contrasts and the overall structure of the image: they thus become dominant components of the picture. The buildings now ressemble toy architecture; they suddenly appear to be benign counterparts of themselves.
Take a look at these digitally manipulated photo collages by artist Andrew Soria. The artist shoots cityscapes and then heavily Photoshops the imagery to create new compositions in a very painterly style.
German graphic artist Matthias Jung creates collages of fictional structures that seemingly turn the logic of architecture upside down. On trips around Europe, Asia and North America, Matthias Jung photographs the expansive surroundings and the built structures that occupy the vast landscapes.
Buildings sprout mountains populated by livestock, homes hover in mid-air, and contrasting architectural styles are fused together in strangely harmonious ways like something straight out of a Terry Gilliam movie.
Using these personal pictures, Jung stretches reality by collaging several elements of the images together to form phantasmagoric architectural compositions. The ongoing project sees a dreamlike environment categorized by floating buildings, houses set atop rotating wheels and façades tethered to the earth, hovering somewhere between fiction and reality.
The Cathedral of Strasbourg in France finds itself in the Alaskan landscape, while houses and churches from the cities of Wismar and Stralsund in northeastern Germany are re-situated in the Gobi Desert. He calls his creations ‘architectural short poems’, that aim to visualize another perspective on how we could see the world and live in it.
“The composition of the individual elements correlates to a logic, as if in a dream. In order for my work to function properly, I also have to consider design rules. Thus, the relationship between order/disorder and homogeneity/diversity must agree. A building has to first be stable and credible before I can add some ‘disorder’, to let it fly for example. One such disorder refers to another, only hinting at reality. I weave, so to speak, spiritual realities into everyday things.”
Blocky skylines made from stacked books dominate one side of the gallery in Chinese artist Ji Zhou‘s new show at Klein Sun Gallery and first U.S. solo show, Civilized Landscape, while crinkled maps become mountain ranges on the other.
“My concerns lie in why more and more cities are becoming visually identical and boring in their cityscapes.”
Ji Zhou specializes in capturing ephemeral ideas and moments in beautifully composed photographs. For example, after a fire in his Beijing studio coated it in ash, he responded with Dust (2010), a photo series in which every surface is colored with monochrome, ashy grey. In Civilized Landscape, he responds to the construct of civilization as a whole.
The “Maps” portion was improvised and sculpted straight from Zhou’s imagination, while the “Maquette” cityscapes are the result of meticulous planning. Zhou sees books as “channels to receive and accumulate knowledge,” while maps are two dimensional repositories of information: “My opinions on cities and civilization mainly comes from books I’ve read,” he says, “Associating maps with landscapes is almost an innate relationship to me, a theory probably be caused by my teenage dreams about the world.”
The photographer who was sleeping on a terrace on the 21st floor of a Miami beach apartment building one week ago, was awoken by a strange chemical smell. As the photographer looked up she saw this helicopter looking object between one and two hundred feet from her at the same level of elevation. But it did not make any noise, and the thing you see that looks like a spot light was not, it was a chemical mist that it was spraying. After examining the image closely and adjusting the light with Photoshop I can confirm this claim that it was not a helicopter. The next day she asked around to find out if they spray chemicals on the buildings in the area and no one knew anything about it. Later she discovered that there had been a string of UFO sightings in that area during the same week.
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