Blaine Fontana currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Imbuing his vision with the divine symbolism of religious myths, worldly folklore and current social dynamics, his works contain a kind of shamanic exploration of meaning that recognizes the totemic quality and power of the image.
With extensive experience within the design world, Fontana’s work displays an understanding of signs and their roles within our contemporary visual culture. Straddling the physical and metaphysical, organic and architectural, painterly and graphic sensibilities, Fontana fuses multiple visual strategies to forge an aesthetic language entirely of his own making.
Zach Harris was born in 1976 in Santa Rosa, California. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College in 1999 and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Hunter College in 2006. Harris’s painting conjures visions, in the sense that he imagines the inner tremors that remain unseen in the ordinary world, the vibrancy that animates our idea of something beyond us, whether an afterlife, a heightened state of consciousness or parallel dimensions.
His works, made from wood and often distinguished by carving on their surfaces, read somewhere between folk objects and aged devotional panels or even icons. They feel ancient, like riddles from another time whose keys have been slowly lost over generations.
Los Angeles-based artist and designer, Elena Stonaker makes soft sculptures and wearable art pieces using intricate quilting and beading techniques. Her soft sculpture and wearable art works have been described as evoking “a shamanistic aesthetic”, through the use of quilting techniques, beading, and myth-based narratives.
Los Angeles based artist Meagan Boyd‘s work often depicts utopian atmospheres filled with modern day nymphs, deities, holy beings, and party monsters who reveal the the interconnectivity of animals, people and nature. Through her art making process, she explores the transcendence between dreams and waking-life in the context of magic and myth. Using an explosive color palate along with intricate line-work, her freakishly folkish style combines the nostalgic essence of the fauves juxtaposed with a neon-like urban glow.
Portland-based AJ Fosik creates intricate, vividly colored three-dimensional pieces that reference folk art, taxidermy, and cultural ritual. Fosik’s wall pieces and freestanding sculptures of anthropomorphized animals are carefully crafted from hundreds of pieces of wood that he cuts and paints individually by hand. Once the basic forms are complete, he adds threatening teeth, claws, and eyes to give the objects an intimidating presence. Familiar cultural icons and traditions are re-configured, confronting the viewer with cryptic symbols from overlapping sources.
Fred Stonehouse was born in 1960 in Milwaukee, WI. He received his BFA from UW Milwaukee in 1982. He had his first solo show in Chicago in 1983 and shows regularly in New York at Howard Scott Gallery and in Los Angeles with Koplin/DelRio. He has exhibited in Mexico, Amsterdam, Rome and Berlin. He is currently an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin.
Stonehouse is a major figure in Wisconsin art and nationally recognized for his beautifully executed artwork and witty sense of rebellion. His style has a sophistication that reflects his diverse, cross-cultural interests, and outsider and folk art influences. His paintings are a materialization of his nostalgia for familiar cartoon figures of the past, blended with the artist’s own delicate balance of humor, beauty and derangement.
Las Vegas based artist Amy Sol spent her childhood years in Korea. Though the style of her work is greatly influenced by a combination of manga, folk-art, vintage illustration and modern design, she remains a self taught artist.
She has dedicated many years of her life mixing pigments and mediums to achieve a unique color palette of subtly muted tones. The artist works intuitively from the beginning to end of each piece, with the intent that each painting’s theme or message can be interpreted subjectively. Sol’s works are characterized by young maidens in dream-like nature settings with oversized or sometimes fanciful creatures.
Düsseldorf, Germany based artist Roman Klonek combines the styles of classic cartoons and pop advertisements with the medium of woodcut printing. For the past 15 years, the Poland-born artist has constructed pieces made with knives, chisels, and wood, even if his creations have the precision of other methods. These works ape propaganda, construct original monsters, and recall vintage design.
As a young boy, Roman was hugely drawn to his father’s collection of Polish and Russian Super 8 cartoons, which still provide him with inspiration to this day. Klonek’s creative subconscious conjures up a colourful and eclectic parade of intriguingly whimsical characters, frolicking amidst a geometric wonderland filled with mysterious text and curious situations.
Kristen Liu-Wong is an artist, living in Brooklyn. Her body of work is significant and spans a series of mediums – oil & resined paintings, illustrations, silkscreens, self-published zines, embroidery, glassware and videos. Her themes often reflect a blend of brightly colored folk art, bizarre narratives, sex and violence.
Her work blends everyday occurrences from her life in Brooklyn with abstracted nightmares and crude humor. Trained as an illustrator, she tries to tell a story with every piece she makes, developing a personal and slightly sinister narrative within each painting. Using candy colors, heavy patterning, and tight compositions, the work draws inspiration from American folk art, the cartoons she watched as a kid, and her appreciation for architecture. She is always striving to make work that is highly personal but altered enough to allow individual interpretations to be applied to every story she paints.
Alex Kuno created a series of interwoven, darkly satirical fairy tale vignettes in his work The Miscreants of Tiny Town. This series presents the trials and tribulations of wayward children in various forms through mixed media paintings on hand-carved pieces of wood, drawings on paper, sculpture and installation. These pieces are playful investigations of longings, fears and dark stories from childhood that have shaped our adult anxieties and understanding of the real-world, large-scale cultural, economic and environmental change.